it’s not just that my friend helps with a trivial thing, like moving a table, although it costs him on a busy schedule. He would have done that anyway, on most days.
But he helps *and* knows.
Knows me. Knows children.
Knows changes. Knows time.
And I know that he knows and cares.
That moment today with him then … would not have been possible 25 years ago … because some moments need to mature.
To grow old in the right way. For the right purpose.
Like something you drink that warms you for a long time after.
That’s worth it. Worth our age.
Then it struck me, after having asked my higher angels for a bit of aid, that I felt incredibly … grateful for all my stuff, all the beautiful important useful things I have with or without histories.
Even the shampoo in the bathroom …
Or an old DVD I have to get rid off anyway to create shelfspace for babystuff …
I. Felt. Grateful. For my stuff. All of it.
No matter how messy it was.
No matter that other people have more stuff and many other people have a lot less. I didn’t compare at all, up or down.
I. Just. Felt. Deeply. Grateful.
For my stuff.
That was also not the worst of feelings.
In fact it was very beautiful, even if it was gossamer.
A friend of mine said it exactly like that today:
“Chris, I believe children are helping us to look at the world with wonder again.”
There are many ways of giving.
Perhaps we can measure our feeling of being blessed in direct relation to how aware – and how appreciative – we are of each.
So if creating order on the outside doesn’t work to that end, something is wrong. Stop.
And start again with the inside, with the feelings. With changing those.
Like when I lay down on my bed and tried to just relax instead of stressing about dust on shelves, always falling. And other silliness.
Start inside with making peace when that’s the best, direct route to peace – inside.
I guess that’s what I did today, in my own halting way.
I could try to say to myself every morning I get up:
“What shall I do on this day in my life-journey?” (Or just: “On this day of the journey?”)
By doing so I train myself to see my life as a journey.
And for me a journey has always been something positive.
It has a goal. A meaning. Even if a lot of terrible stuff happens along the way and you get stuck for 3 days in an airport somewhere
There’s a scale on which I believe you have to go back and forth all life. If somebody behaves in a way that is unacceptable to you, and you don’t have to please them because you fear them, should you then try to understand and please them because you have a moral obligation? Because their behaviour, like anger, is a veiled disguise for a positive intent, like wanting to be respected?
Or should you demand that people also live up to a minimum standard to gain that respect. A standard of behaviour you set.
The answer, as with everything else in life, is blowing in the wind and will differ from time to time.
It is not always right to try to respect people no matter how outrageously you think they behave. It is not always right to not care about them.
The the question in politics, and in life.
What you could do when feeling overwhelmed is to re-tell this personal story as if it was … a journey-story. It begins not with a first step, though – but with a map. Our hero(es) are set out to go – like the Fellowship of the Ring – into the big confusing world. They need a map and they need to take time to make that map. So do you. But they (you) also know that once they have a map – even if it’s just a simple one – the journey has already become a bit easier.
I’ve read somewhere that there’s a time for all things. To live. To die. To love. To hate. And probably to have children as well. Maybe it is not as corny or superstitious as it sounds. Maybe it is just right. Perhaps I just have to experience it to know. That it is right. And in what way it is right.
There are exceptions, but the rule is probably that it is dangerous to confuse the two – colleagues and friends. So invest some time in your friendships, not just your career. It will serve you well when your career tanks. Which it will on occasion. But friendship – if it is true – will not.
Wanting to be seen more than anything is the worst motivation to create art. The worst of all. It can and will destroy you. And your art. Whichever comes first.
Acting on the fear, putting something in motion, even if you don’t solve the fear … that probably has a positive effect. I’ve felt so on my own a number of times. Like when I make myself feel more mentally calm and ‘on course’, by just doing the dishes. Not frenzied action to escape unpleasant feelings. Orderly calm action with purpose, even if it doesn’t change anything right away or is substantially relevant to the feelings at hand.
Doing all the dishes doesn’t solve my unemployment problem, but it makes me feel that maybe I have what it takes to solve it myself. Even if that is only proved, when it is proved.