The sun is shining this morning. I had my coffee on the deck, and just let the sun shine on my face. There isn't a cloud in the sky, the air is crisp, but the sun is hot.
At different points in my life, mostly the lows, life has given me exactly what I need. Either in the form of a shake up, or offering me some new piece of information. The times I've recognized the shot at being better, have been life changing. For me, it's usually in the form of a book; in my 20's it was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, early 30's Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, late 30's seem to be a crash prep course for my 40's because there have been a few.
I always have a couple of books laying around that are started, but not finished. I seem to gravitate toward a certain book at a certain time, and come back to it when what it has to offer I can absorb fully. Every time I come back to a book, it's eerie how directly it has to do with what I am going through in my life at that moment. If I really think about it, it's almost as if the universe is offering me a gift.
It took me two years to read (process) Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, because it was everything I needed to know at that point in my life, just like every other book. It was very healing for me, and powerful. I just finished Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, and it's another book that touches everything I'm trying to navigate right now.
I think we're all trying to figure out what our life is about. We spend parts being kids, other parts being students, hard workers, spouses, parents, grandparents. Those are all important phases of our lives. They're not who we are, though. My daughter will be 18 tomorrow. I am recently separated. I will turn 40 in six months. All of my 'phases' have been stripped of me. I fell into a huge depression at first, and am still battling the pull to isolate. I realize that being has more to do with what's inside of me, than what I am doing.
I am a creative. I draw, I write, I take pictures. It soothes my mind and my soul. There was an artist who was told how amazing he was (I'm paraphrasing here), he was a sculptor I think, and he replied that "it was already there, I just uncovered it". I believe we are all sculptors. We come into the world as a block of clay. Our parents mold us the best they can. As we age, we chip away more and more clay until it starts to look more like us than our parents. And, like each artist, we have the choice to say when it's done.
Frankl's book, A Man's Search For Meaning, puts an emphasis on how much choice we have in who we are and who we become. He is a Psychiatrist, who survived Auschwitz. Having seen the worst of human kind, and the resilience of people, he suggests that we all have a choice in who we are at the core. It's worth the read, but he explores why some people were capable of such atrocity and others such compassion in the face of horror.
For anybody who feels powerless, and I've gone through phases of this at different time in my life, the feeling is crushing. You feel like you're stuck, with no control over anything happening around you. And that might be true. I've forgotten to focus on what is happening inside of me, and when I have turned my focus from outside to inside, there is where I find my choice. My choice on what to think, how to behave, how to speak to myself. The choice to look for the good or the opportunity even in the most heart breaking situations. That's where my strength then comes from, that there is good everywhere, if I choose to find it. I can find meaning in almost anything, if I want to.
That's the scary part, too. I have to accept that sometimes I don't want to find meaning. I want to be angry, frustrated, bitter. I don't want to look for the good, because this fucking sucks! This is hard! It's too much! That's when I "happen" to pick up a book that I've started, but not finished. That's when the book has exactly what I need to get through that moment. That's when I turn the corner and start to see things differently. That's when I start to choose to push through and not get stuck with the angry stuff, the bitter stuff, because that not who I choose to be and I have a choice. I choose to continue the artwork. I choose to be a better person, inside. I choose compassion for myself, I choose self love, I choose to be a better person for my experiences and not let the bad stuff change my heart. I want to be good to myself, and to others.