We are the change
Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you've felt that way.
― Charles Bukowski
The roll call begins, again.
No coffee today. Sadly, one of the side-effects of this virus — this damn virus — is I can't stand the smell, let alone the taste of coffee. Hopefully 🤞, it's not permanent.
And, I'm here.
To me at least, a blessing.
A wonderful blessing.
Yesterday, we saw my very poorly father-in-law, Brian (aka BTP or Captain Chaos). This is the first time the whole family had seen him in three months. That's not quite true. My wife had managed to see him whilst he was in hospital as she works there but it was very limited because of the strict CV19 conditions. I pretty much knew what to expect — he has late-stage heart failure and a bushel of other complications including kidney failure and water retention. My kids, on the other hand? Well, despite my wife and I doing our very best to prepare them, they were visibly distressed with his physical condition and sadly by virtue of a bad night's sleep his speech was slurred and his hand/eye coordination a little off. We didn't stay long as we didn't think it fair and that was probably as well because he had a steady stream of visitors for the rest of the day which, I've no doubt, would have left him exhausted.
Once we left his house, there were lots of tears. And I felt the pain, the real pain, of my children. He's the only grandad in their lives. Sadly, my parents have shown no interest in any of their grandchildren (five in total) and together with his love and support for them, from a very early age, he holds a special place in their hearts. My wife did have to explain again how sick he truly was. She wasn't so blunt as to talk in terms of weeks or months of life-expectancy but I think we all know that he hasn't got long. And to be honest, I'm not looking forward to that day one little bit. I'll (no doubt) go into full stoic, practical-guy mode and help in any way I can. But Brian will leave a big gap in my heart. I've known him since 1989 and he's been a big part of my life. As much as it saddens me to say it, he's been the farther (during this period) I should have had, instead of the one who, together with my mother, cut the umbilical cord for good the moment I stepped over the threshold and left home in 1989 — out of sight, out of mind.
In many ways though, Brian's eventual passing, and mine and yours, ties into (I hope not in a crass way) what I want to say about today's title. Please excuse the lack of capitals and any grammatical flaws but like I said at the tail end of last week, I want to go off-piste for a while with the slightly arid way I've allowed my writing to follow the same road to make my 'true self' point.
we arrive unbidden.
a moving, shifting, energetic experience.
no names; no labels; no expectations.
without deliberation, or aims or visions quests, we start to grow in nature and stature, and then...the cacophony of noises become fixed to things.
pretty soon the magic and specialness of life becomes ordinary. food is food. things are things. even nature, the once pristine nature, assumes a man-made form (is a bird really a bird?).
school starts. a further overlay to the magic of beginnings. if we had a spark of interest in something — something creative — it's eviscerated on the anvil of order, predictability and being able to fit in.
"be good now."
"don't make a fuss."
"you could try harder."
if we're not careful we become very insecure.
now..., you appear not to know very much — or not enough to please everyone, including yourself. and yet, the faux, extempore labels still come at you like a freight train.
you move on.
the next school.
it's harder still.
the sine qua non is conformity: same dress code, same lexicon, same learning, same sameness.
instead of growing qua human or human being, you're diminished with the embarrassment of failing someone — parents, teachers, friends.
try, try, try — you push it hard or, sometimes, you throw in the towel.
and then the day comes where you have to leave the hallowed soil — school is done. finished.
where does that leave you?
more anxiousness to get on?
less of you?
your complete, cooked?
and whatever the chosen course, sooner or later you end up plying your trade, hopefully, one you chose and not one chosen by others.
you like it, at least in the beginning.
but then, slowly but surely, the excitement, the fun, and the, dare i say, love for your craft wears off, and you end up flat, almost morose-like in the way you see things.
OK, perhaps that's an exaggeration too far but let's just say that the job/career/role ain't what you thought it might mean.
and to cut a very long story short, you end up in a rut — a money-making rut where there's no escape until the day you or they call time. and then?
you do the things that you should have done before?
well, there ain't much time left.
of course, in between all this thrashing, vexing and consternation you might find a partner or partners, settle down, have kids, or not, and fill in the non-work gaps with lots of catching up, cleaning up, staying on top of stuff and living for the next experience — and that's all wonderful.
but are you living to work, or working to live?
or is that never asked?
needless to say, you think you've lived a full life.
a full, full life.
but what's missing?
Who am I?
is it important to know?
it might be, but then again, do you need to know who you are beyond the labels?
truth is — my truth at least — I've always felt, at least until recently, the force of an unlived life. someone or something waiting to be let out. not spooky or woo-woo but rather it's the work-in-potential that resides deepest in my soul.
never mind, there's always next time.
but of course, in looking into and through the question Who am I? two things emerge from my actual life experience:
1. everything changes, including my moods, my emotions, my thoughts, my sensibilities, my body, my mind, and everything that i perceive; and
2. i'm not making any of this happen, lest still the apparent desire to do or experience things. in short, i don't will my will.
and what does any of this have to do with living a life well lived?
nothing and everything.
if you're expressed to examine the unexamined life, wonderful. on the other hand, if you're not disposed to or interested in knowing why something ails you, then that's wonderful. in fact, the more settled you are, the more like it is you're already awake — as we all are but never see it.
“As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. … That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life… Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.”
― Anthony de Mello
Better still, forget all this hocus-pocus and be and live in the change for eternity or at least until our mortal selves move on to whatever, if anything, comes next.
at least that's what i perceive when i sit and watch the water flow in the river seen below.
Have a wonderful day.
Blessings, Ju 🙏
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