It has occurred to me that the things I write about are the good, the fun, and the positive happenings that I live through, which may lead people to think that I either live a charmed life or that I’m just fooling myself or trying to fool others. Nobody lives without adversity. I’ve thought about what motivates me to avoid writing about bad happenings and attempted to determine what makes me, me.
I’ve come to some simple un-earth-shattering conclusions:
1. I could write about the horrible, the unjust, the unfair, and the mind-boggling things that happen to me. And I’m sure at some point in my life, I caused some of these things to happen to others. But I have learned that these behaviors are just part of the human condition. Self-reflection, realization, and the desire to avoid tormenting others is something I can attempt to control, knowing at the same time I may not be able to avoid such happenings against me. Controlling how I process these things when they happen to me is always a work in progress. The work will never be done. I know this.
2. I could make comments about the family and friend relationships that have deteriorated over time due to differences in opinions and ideas about both important and insignificant things. My role in these failures is both equal and unavoidable. My hope is that I have always acted in the best interest of myself or someone I may be protecting. Unfortunately, the fall-out can tarnish seemingly unbreakable ties. It’s never the goal, but these things just happen sometimes. I remain as neutral and open as possible, with the hope that these situations will turn around some day.
3. I could share how taking a risk in good faith on a stranger by entrusting them with a gift should be received in the spirit in which it was intended. How the sacrifice put forth and offered should be valued and protected. And how this can sometimes become diminished by a seeming carelessness and inability to engage in self-protection by the recipient. I can give and I can receive. But I can’t impose my values on others. It ends with the spirit in which it was intended. That’s what I choose to focus on.
No one is insulated from adversity, misfortune, hardship, and distress. I choose to write about the things in my life that I perceive as fun and interesting, that add to my foundation of well-being, knowing that bad things will continue to happen.
Two famous quotes continuously seep into my consciousness about humanity when road blocks or bumps occur. The first is from Rodney King. His question was simple: “Can we all get along?” The answer is simply “No.” The reasons behind that are not so simple, and in fact, are intellectually unanswerable. We just can’t, and so we muddle through, hopefully never really giving up on each other.
The other quote is from Max Ehrmann who wrote Desiderata in 1927. His writing is timeless, especially the line “Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.” I think about this often, and enlist all of my senses in an effort to focus on the good, the fun, and the positive happenings in my life. My hope is that it creates an insulative effect to shield me or lesson the blows from future misfortunes.
There are two kinds of teachers in the world: The ones who teach us how to live, and the ones who teach us how not to live. Both equally important. Both result in the same lessons. Both will allow us to live seemingly charmed lives if we are able to successfully process the wisdom that occurs in all situations.
I haven’t figured any of this out on my own.
I have my teachers.