I’ve felt strongly about this for some time, but Alan Watts puts it so eloquently, and the visuals are lovely too. Enjoy. 🙂
Each year my friend Bonnie does something special for my birthday. It usually involves some sort of excursion somewhere and good food. This year I’ve decided to pay back in kind and take her to the Dan Eldon traveling exhibit, which is being hosted at the Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery in Santa Monica and closes this Saturday. Looks like we’ll be getting there just in the nick of time. Now that I’ve got the excursion part figured out, I have to figure out where a good lunch spot would be. Any suggestions?
“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.”
-Mary Pickford, (in Reader’s Digest, 1979)
Things happen. That’s just the way it is. But at every point in time we have choices to make. We can choose to learn from our mistakes. We can choose to try again. If we were perfect, and never made mistakes, then how could we possibly learn? Our wisdom comes from our own experiences. Like the song says: “pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again!”
from today’s WisdomNews from Lissa Coffey
Growing up, particularly during my teens, I was always struck by my mother’s pessimism. If there were two sides to something she would invariably flip to the one whose sheen was tarnished… her glass was always half empty. She seethed with cynicism, though she felt that she was merely being a realist. Perhaps she felt she had earned the right. Born in 1918 in Eastern Europe, she has seen more atrocity over her decades there than most of us will see in our whole lives. And then there were her personal conundrums… more tragedy.
Her tantamount task in life was to burst my bubble… “Stop floating around in the ether… get your feet back down to the ground,” she would reprimand. I, on the other hand, was given the greatest teacher. Essentially, I was shown that no matter what happens in life, we persevere. Somehow we will put one foot in front of the other and make tracks. Or we lay down and die… physically or figuratively. And whether I enjoy the journey (or not) is entirely up to me.
Watercolor worked over gessoed and absorbent ground treated journal page.
It’s odd how even though you know that a relationship is over, being in the throes of the last dying vestiges of it are still difficult. There is this immense sense of failure and along with it an equally intense sadness… not for what is ending but for what it could have been… its lost potential. So it is firmly rooted in this emotion that I took down the Christmas tree this morning.
I’d been putting off… not that I don’t normally take forever to do it anyway, but it was a thing that I was ruing even as it was being put up. That moment was poignant in itself, each of the three of us knowing that it was the last time that we would be sharing this type of moment together. In years past, especially the last several, only Gabriel and I participated in decking out the tree with ornaments, so I was somewhat surprised (though pleased) that Steve decided to join in.
It’s been many months of “lasts” since we’d had our discussion about finally and irrevocably ending our relationship. I’m not yet sure whether this whole drawn out process is good or not. As with the deaths of my parents, my mother’s was sudden and my father’s was not (though it was not horribly drawn out, either), in both cases there was still an incredible sense of loss at the end, and a time of mourning, and though the process differed somewhat in both, the end was the same and equally painful and left me bereft. Perhaps this longer mourning period is good. Perhaps the opportunity to say goodbye to each familial habit… to notice it and remember it, in all of its facets, and then let it go… is a good thing.
I haven’t really spoken to Gabriel about this whole digestion process. I don’t know if he’s doing it as well, or whether we will get to the end of our time together and he will find it difficult to cope with the sudden change. Again the sense of failure engulfs me… and an accompanying guilt. I’ve done the best I could to sort out this mess, with little help and support. I often wonder whether Steve’s inaction was something I should have paid attention to a long time ago… whether that was my cue to stop trying too, because no matter what I did after that point, it wouldn’t make a difference in the end result.
I am grateful, though, for the learning process it provided. I’ve learned that I am a lot more tenacious than I thought I was… that I can think on my feet and find solutions to things that seem imponderable… that I really do love myself, even though I’ve spent so many years denying myself my own affections, simply because I thought others deserved them more.
There was a knock on my door a few moments ago, and a package dropped on my doormat. I opened it just now and see that it is a holiday gift from my friend Rita, who I’d not been able to connect with over the holidays but to whom I’d sent by way of Bonnie her gift from me. Again… I am overcome with emotion. Just last night, as I lay in bed contemplating the ache in my neck and shoulders, and feeling needy for a kind and gentle rub on the back (you know… the kind your mom used to give you to comfort you… slow, circular, right over the heart chakra area on your back, and just firm enough to soothe away the aches of the body and the soul), I thought it would be wonderful to get a massage (that I can’t afford right now, and haven’t had in ages). And… as I opened my gift, I saw that it contained a little sachet-ful of body care goodies, and a gift card to a women’s dayspa (where, incidentally, I used to work as a massage therapist before I went back to full-timing it behind a computer screen). I am so very lucky, because even though I can’t seem to maintain a relationship with a man, my friendships are golden.
So much has changed in such little time, in my little insignificant life… and yet here I am, at the cresting of this new year (and also an approaching birthday) and find that the path that I’d been walking on has summarily disappeared… my marriage is dissolving… I have been fired from my (deplorably boring, yet vexing) job… and I am at a crossroads… a place where I can hopefully reinvent my life in such a way as to be pleasing to myself, but also in alignment with the larger-than-myself task I feel I’ve come here to accomplish.
Oftentimes I feel like I’ve squandered precious time, meandering through what seems like endless tangents on my way to some mysterious, inscrutable place, and yet that is the beauty of it, I think. Every moment that I have lived and experienced has only been wasted if I did not take notice of it, and revere it for what it was. Gathering up pieces of myself, and leaving some behind, as I trudge onward in my journey, I can say that each moment has brought me closer to the essence of who I am… the essential me… and whether arms opened to receive me, or by others was pushed away, each has given me a greater understanding of my Self. And for that I am grateful.