This autumn –
why am I growing old?
bird disappearing among clouds.
~ Basho Matsuo
An apt poem to begin this post – a reflection of sorts on 50 years of life. But how to measure this time past? An impossibility – so many perspectives, paradigms. Where would I begin?
So perhaps lessons I have learned – lessons that had taken years to emerge and realised. And to honor the “nerd” that I am 🙂 , these lessons are reflected in quotes and poems that have captivated me to this day. This, a mere selection, if truth be told.
Choice and response-ability
Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
~ Stephen Covey
So much freedom and self-agency in this quote alone – the choice to make our own decisions and to bear their consequences. I return to this often and am reminded that there is a space so stop and consider, stop and sit with what is. There is time for action. The mindfulness and the empowerment that come from this, invaluable.
Being real and consequences
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. ~ excerpt from “The Invitation” by Oriah
In a world that privileges comformity to traditions and norms, dominated by what is loud and conspicuous, being true to myself was a challenge and continues to be. Sometimes to be true to myself means to not stand with another, as expected by familial and societal norms. Sometimes to be a figure of trust means I cannot be faithful to another.
Ever been in similar situations?
Life and non-ownership
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
~ excerpt from “On Children” by Khalil Gibran
Reading this before (or shortly after?) the birth of my first, I was struck by its truth. Not wanting to own them nor for them to be little mini-mes, I strive, and sometimes against basic instincts (or cultural conditioning?), to see them and to enable them to be their true selves. The selfish element is that even as I love them, I wish to have space and time for myself. I relish their individuality, their sense of responsibility and responsiveness as citizens of the world. Ah, my loves.
The same applies to the people in my life. Everyone has a prerogative to live their best life, to own their choices and decisions, free from my expectations and needs.
Courage and vulnerability
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~ Anais Nin
Knowing the truth of this quote does not make it an easy act. Finding courage to live my life, to be my own person is a never-ending journey of surprises, joys and some sorrow. Along the way, I have experienced exquisite vulnerablity, to be the woman who is actually in the arena comes with bruises, aches and pains. One thing for sure, courageous living does not disappoint.
Love and solitude
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
Sit. Feast on your life.
~ Derek Walcott
This longing is common, is it not? To accept and love the person reflected in the mirror; to consolidate the person within and the person the world is permitted to see. To be unapologetic in our being and doing. No matter the companion who travels with you, this is a journey that only I can make, on my own. It continues… I wonder who I will come upon?
Change and soul work
No one ever reaches a point where he or she is immune to further movements of soul; the soul’s capacity for richness is infinite. There is no end to the raw material that life and personality can provide. ~ Thomas Moore
There is richness yet to be experienced, always.
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