Sometimes, the heights of one’s life doesn’t occur for a very long time. It’s like the heights of the stratosphere, the rare air that only birds and jet planes experience, some times what we can be remains unobtainable. But keep flying, keep trying.
At moments, I see the life I could have, the musician, strumming a jazz guitar with that rich wood sound. I see me as the consummate storyteller in prose and stories that render life in all its starts and layers and colors. I see me as a mentor, an instructor a teacher rendering life lessons, mending hearts…but…
Mastery of self, doing what’s best for self is the way to heal the world. That’s not “perfecting self” before others are helped; it isn’t selfishness to the degree you will not lend a hand to others ‘until’ you are better…sometimes ‘self-improvement’ involves others and your assisting.
For me, art is my home, my sanctuary; I am capable of writing, business, musicianship and even IT, but my heart is in art. All too often, my days are filled with the ‘needs of others,’ and at the end of the day there is hardly anything left for me. Sleep has to be my fuel, but to what end? Another day of ‘service’ to others? You see, I talk a good game, but it is a constant battle to leave something ‘in the tank,’ just for me.
The story is told of a man who went out searching for a rare and precious stone. He searched far and wide and for years. He traveled to distant lands, risking his life and was nearly poor, when he heard about a man who found treasure in the field behind his home. So he traveled back to his own home and began searching. He lost his family as he was so intent on finding 'his treasure' that he lost sight of those who loved him. HIs health began to fail him and yet, each day, he went out to his fields, digging. Finally, in final years of life, when all seemed lost, he found it, his treasure! Precious and wonderful and highly valued…
Many search…it is a quality we all have, the desire to be 'fulfilled,' to find 'worth' in the very "skin" we are "in." But we are conditioned to believe it is outside of ourselves. Or, if we are so inclined to look within, we want to 'give it away,' to share it with the world.
A thought does not exist in singularity. It does not abide alone. It its one a many, of thousands, of tens of thousands. And as many emotions, expectations as well as past experiences spin in the calculations.
An image of red ball tipped pins comes to mind…imagine them stretching across hundreds of miles…imagine, from a bird's eye view how it would appear as a mesh…those are our thoughts, decisions and choices.
For the last couple years, I have placed lemon in my water. The idea began with the idea that our bodies, our diets should be more alkaline. And I read several places about the benefits of lemons in water. I go so far as to leave the lemon relatively in tact, the rind, pulp and seeds and all go into the cup. It isn't sweet, the water, upon initial tasting, is bitter. But over time, the taste is sweet. I have mixed, ginger root, lime, blueberries and strawberries in my water as well. It's a way to get refreshment and vitamins in liquid form.
Some of the 'best stuff' in life comes that way: in a bitter pill, a container that, on the surface, looks unappealing and tastes bitter. Mind you, I don't put in this class abuse of any kind; unfortunately for us humans, we tend to think being 'hard' on someone is necessary to help them grow. Not so! No, I'm talking discipline of self and of others, taking on difficult tasks with people who are 'difficult,' rough around the edges — again, not abusive! Stern parents who don't appear 'loving,' but fill our head with facts and hard work. Friends and family who 'love us' but it comes out as stern words, faces that rarely smile and arms that never enfold us. I have heard it said of love, it is 'worked out' in our lives. We want it to be romantic and soft and to express itself in kind, flowery words, but we have to realize, actions that build, are loving as well.
Now (again) I caution: love that is abusive, that can end the someone else's life, IS NOT love! But love that seeks to build, to strengthen and ultimately to see the brightest for our intended that's love. That is the "bitter with the sweet."
In a given day, we rush forward, then back away. We "START," then STOP! Oh i know I'm not the only one! I'm just the only one talking about it. A great idea, a personal accomplishment, something no one else has ever thought of…but then, ten minutes later, we settle back into our chair, the "task at hand," our number one mission.
In a given day, I go through a hundred moments where, based on the current pressure, I'm "ready to go!" In my head I hear it: "you're better than this. You can do this 'art thing.' Go…and…Stop…Go…and…Stop…
Maybe you're Go and Stop is a a dream; maybe on most days it feels like a foolish pipe dream…someone tole me well over 30 years: "never stop dreaming." And I haven't. So with the entry, i dare you: NEVER. STOP. DREAMING!
What is your Go, Stop?
Promises…promises…I spend a lot of time in solitude as a child. I both hated it and loved it. Have a younger sister, come from a two parent home and had TONS of cousins near and far. Still, I found the 'inner space' more agreeable. Not antisocial - not completely - but we can be so demanding in our allegiances and requirements for 'getting along.' It always seemed to me, someone else got to talk, to 'command respect,' though it never seemed warranted.
As a 'office worker,' I get plenty of alone time. I work in a team environment, but every member "plays his part." And for the most part, we work separately. Blessing and curse, nonetheless. Given the opportunity, I could dialog with a brick wall (at least that's what my mother said of me on rare occasion). I like to listen, to hear someone's life story, their highs and lows. I like to compare "life notes," to find common ground and explore diverging paths. But I'm finding work environments are less conducive to conversation; seems people and corporations prefer to remain in their private bubble. So I sit quietly, thinking, planning… It is interesting that my preferred work and the way I work is alone. I sit in front of a canvas and a thousand decisions, inputs and ways to resolve 'a problem' come to mind. Sit, pen in hand or writing electronically, and a million words, thoughts and ideas come to mind.I've been told that ALL OF THIS leads to something; that my life will not have been lived in vain…sometimes, I really wonder…What about you? I would be interested to hear how you feel the 'pattern' of your life has unfolded. Comment below.
Today, I'm inventorying work created over the last 8 years. Mind you, this is work produced after a 23 year hiatus. This is work that, at times, I was certain, I would never do again. Didn't realize that small ember that sometime singed my thoughts, made depression a valley with no bottom, to the extent, life was a series of endless days and nights…no meaning. That small flicker of light was my 'hope,' at times too small to acknowledge. But 'there' all the same.
Today, I'm inventorying so much work that it hardly makes sense! I have things I have forgotten I did. There are images I laid to the side, dismissed as incomplete or passé´.
I quietly celebrate my past pains, now. I am not passed them, they are just a few feet behind me, in the rear view mirror. But I celebrate my ability to continue moving.
I want the same for Y-O-U.