I love the perpetual nature of my journey. That I have no real knowledge (tho lots of clues) about any eventual destination or way station makes it all the more fun…It seems so many people of a spiritual bent seem to be so focused on either getting off the Wheel of karma or ascending to the fourth or fifth dimension or any one of a number of admittedly worthwhile goals that they miss the point of being here in the first place. They see this world as being a rather horrid place and just want to leave. This may be true but since we’re here, there must be a reason for it. I don’t believe suffering to be it.
Funny thing about suffering. It seems that the people I have known who have suffered the worse (poverty, ill health etc) seemed to be the most focused on finding moments to enjoy. The people who seem most focused on the amount and duration of their suffering seem to be the ones for whom suffering is an option. Oh I’ve had moments of suffering and moments of joy. I also realize that I’ll have more of both in the future. I’m open to it.
But then as a tramp on the journey, my prevailing attitude has mainly been curiosity about what may come next.
“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”
― Marcel Proust
There are a few truisms that have lodged themselves into my brain that I may have to unlearn some day. One of them is that Innocence is the price we pay for wisdom. Is it possible to be both innocent and wise? Perhaps… tho it seems that in order to learn some of the more painful life lessons opened to me I had to become aware of my own capacity for ugliness as well as beauty… and the capacity for the world to hold both as well. Of course I also learned that what may be ugly from one angle in one context can be exquisite from another and to appreciate it all. Of course on this journey to wisdom I am still learning. That may be the most beautiful fact of all.
“But, if you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself.”
― C.G. Jung
Of What do I create myself? Out of the sunrise I see in the morning, pink clouds and fiery majesty? out of the smiles of little children? out of the complaints online and off of how the government, entertainment industry, world, lives of people do not suit them and why (rarely how) they need to be different? Out of the satisfaction of my elderly neighbour as she manages to reaffirm to herself that she can still do little chores in the garden? out of teenage frustration? out of joy in the company of my loved ones? out of the walk in the grass running with my dogs? out of cyberspace whisperings and ceremonial art? of bad puns and old song lyrics and wordplay? out of the mountains overlooking the shore? out of the influence of deities? Of my lover’s embrace as we sleep at night and the back rub that feels so good? Out of the night skies?
Each day I create myself anew out of all of this and so much more and feel both full and replenished.
“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.”
― Lou Reed
I’ve been thinking about loss and grieving a bit. Oh I don’t mean anything as heavy as grieving the loss of a loved one. Sometimes grief comes in subtler yet still hard hitting flavours. For me, it has usually come when I had to accept that my life would not be quite the way I believed it to be. Yes I know for most of us that is an everyday thing. I can’t imagine anything worse than life losing its capacity to surprise yet a relatively small proportion (maybe 1 in 1000) there is a feeling of loss and grief attached. There are times when I finally realized that the career I dreamt of would never happen or a relationship that meant a lot to me dissolved. Then grief would hit and I would go into a brief tailspin.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her work with people who were dying and their families, wrote about five stages that people go through in the grieving process. They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Now these don’t necessarily happen consecutively but they are pretty common to many of us…
“No this is not happening.”
“Damn it World. WHY DOES THIS HAVE… TO HAPPEN… TO ME…? (Imagine this being said like William Shatner in full over-acting mode helps)
“Please make this not have happened. Lord, I promise to behave if you just give it a little more time or if i can only sleep with him / her just one more time”
“I guess not… *sigh*… (not eating, not sleeping or sleeping too much)”
“OK, that’s how things are, let’s get on with it”
Most of us don’t pass through these stages that quickly. But often times it is necessary when dealing with transformation of any kind… Something gained often means something lost and whether we can stand to lose it or not, it is missed.
“There’s nothing in the human heart or mind, no place no matter how twisted or secret, that can’t be endured – if you have someone to share it with.”
― Spider Robinson
I’ve heard it said that so strong is the need to share that prisoners in solitary will name insects and talk to them as pets just as a way to externalize what has been bottled up for so long. Given my nature, I would do that (heck I even used to name the lobsters my sister would bring home to cook for my parents, until she made me put them in the pot for her but that’s another tale altogether) tho given my nature, i would probably either bring along imaginary friends or find new ones. Still I see this point even more in its absence. It’s when we feel isolated, when we feel ourselves unable to share what we carry inside that the difficulty lies. Each of us can make a difference by reaching out to those who seem too isolated and by being there as we can when we can. Sometimes just having someone to share with can make all the difference in the world. Being there for other people also cuts down on our own isolation for how often can you hear someone sharing their most intimate selves without sharing at least a bit of our own as well? In addition, the more we can open ourselves up to people the more our capacity for compassion grows so there are benefits all around.
“So books are real to me, too; they link me not just with other minds but with the vision of other minds, what those minds understand and see. I see their worlds as well as I see my own.”
― Philip K. Dick
Feeling my heart open
feeling my wounds bleed
My blood spilling out
of view and precious need
to reveal what’s inside
That spark of truth
that separates bifurcates
my age from my youth
I lied to myself
so easily when young
seeing myself in the lyrics I sung
or the books that i read
the passage of time
did honesty bring
those old half truths
no longer would fling
so now I can bleed
confessions and truth
I no longer need
the protections of youth
Wow, where did that come from…Partly the wish to be more open and then realizing that its easier to be honest with time… There is both less reason and less desire to hide… Not that it was ever necessary. Hiding sent me on some amazing adventures as did eventually facing myself…