“What we are tempted to call a disaster is sometimes the first, painful stage of a blessing.”
“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.”
“Happily ever after doesn’t begin with Once upon a time: it begins with Now.”
“When there’s no way out, you just follow the way in front of you.”
“Can you love people and lead them, without imposing your will?”
“Yielding is the way of the Tao.”
All quotes by Stephen Mitchell
This year the words ‘tell the truth’ have been rolling like waves in my head. Not because I’ve been lying, or have been hiding something, but because I’ve come to a breaking point. My desire after 40 years of life, is not to be brutally honest, but to live compassionately with integrity. Living & feeling compassion first for myself, and then seeing myself in others. It’s interesting that the word Integrity means to be honest, but it also means to be whole, undivided.
Two quotes come to mind. (Wait, I’ll share them in a moment.) Often ideas feel abstract in my mind, but sharing them along with other artists’ work somehow helps to paint a clearer picture (not only for others, but for myself), because it allows me to create a context. I don’t like when my thoughts seem obtuse or isolated. I like them to feel like they are part of a conversation, a universal one, that might not be getting the attention that it deserves.
So quickly, before I share the work of others, I just want to say that telling the truth, for me, simply means to stop f*cking around. I’m getting too old to waste time. I’m getting too old to act like I’m not seeing what is looking me dead in the face. And the words ‘too old’ are not implying that 40 years of age is old. It means, that I have lived enough to know when life is being wasted. It means that I know the difference between an authentic conversation and a superficial one. It means I know the difference between falling asleep with the feeling of ‘Is this all there is?’, versus the feeling of falling asleep with my heart wide open, eager to see what tomorrow brings.
This feeling of wanting to be more authentic and open has been bubbling since I was a child, but only in the last decade has it come to a boiling point. I guess I’ve reached a point where I feel like the only life worth living is the one I have, and it’s only worth living if I make it my own. Making it my own, means to be an honest expression of the life force that I am. The very thing that was born of the unknown cosmos, manifesting through a, seemingly knowable, human form.
I’ll stop there. Today’s post is really only a feeling. I’m just sharing a feeling.
Here are a few quotes that I think will provide a greater context of that feeling for you.
“This is not the country we pretend it is. This is a country that turns on the TV everyday, and goes to the movies everyday, and listens to the radio everyday, and receives a delusion about itself. […] There is no space for contemplation. If full grown adults can’t muster the time to sit still for 2 hours, how are the greatest market sectors of these corporations going to be able to resist?.. […] The thing is, that, there are trillions of dollars, trying to capture people’s imaginary and move them away from any contemplative life, from any life of deliberation, from any human rhythm. […] We need time to deliberate, contemplate and feel human. I don’t think you can reconstruct and reconstitute yourself, everyday, without that time. And part of the reason our souls feel so heavy, and so frantic, is because we don’t get the deliberation and contemplation, that can reconstitute ourselves after a day in a society that only encourages you to compete, create hierarchies and accumulate.” -J.D.
The written quote I transcribed from a Junot Diaz Q&A, at the Chicago Humanities Festival. And the video contains several quotes that I would like to transcribe, but don’t have time to. So I’m sharing the entire video of David Foster Wallace giving his commencement speech.