Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don't quote me


Writing a regular personal journal has never been easy for me, recording my thoughts, feelings, responses or reactions to the world around me, including the multi layered network of relationships from family to friends and work colleagues. Chronicling my inner journey has long been a hit and miss affair, somewhat due to the fact the exercise felt too much like belly button gazing with little progress, a kind of wallowing in a foggy swamp where there were no firm footholds. I was much more comfortable simply ‘doing’ rather than thinking about doing, planning what needed doing, or reflecting on what had actually been done.

Flicking back through entries from past years I found one from September 2004 which I could’ve easily written yesterday, pondering on my present situation and what the future might have in store for me. Makes me wonder how predictable my life has become, how for many of us the dreams and bravado of our more youthful years can go missing as we hang on to the rhythms of life which bring a sense of safety and security.

What has become more prevalent in my journals though is the inclusion of quotes. Not those from world leaders or pearls of wisdom from philosophers either ancient or modern, but snippets from whatever I’m currently reading. Phrases, sentences and paragraphs have a habit of jumping out at me from novels, poems, biographies, all manner of resources. In those moments I have to stop and write them down before I can continue, lest the words which resonated for me are lost and the idea which caused me to reflect recedes.

I have much to be thankful for, and I certainly am that, but there are times when an infernal itch starts up inside, a restlessness, but finding the right way to scratch it is not always simple, let alone locating the source of the irritation. The quotes which usually burn themselves into my brain are probably the ones which feed the itch, causing me to question yet again what I’m doing on this little island on this part of the planet.

From Sue Monk Kidd - The Mermaid Chair

My life seemed sweet and dull and small and repellent. So much of it unused.

At the end of our lives, none of us will wish we’d spent more time working so we could simply survive. The only regrets we will have are those moments, those relationships, those ventures which carried a risk but also held a promise that if we pursued them we would connect more deeply with our true nature. Most of us get to use such a small portion of our potential. I would hate to be filled with regret when it comes my time to check out, with a withered spirit to match my withered body.

Last week we made a wish list as part of the Artist’s Way course I’m doing, and it was more than a little interesting what turned up on mine. Things I’ve enjoyed in the past which I no longer do, things I’ve never dared to do, unfulfilled dreams, as well as many wishes beyond my own little world. I know I too easily give up on the possibility of what might be. As in the movie Sliding Doors, decisions at any given moment have the capability of leading our lives in very diverse directions.

We have abandoned an infinite number and variety of pure possibilities, and perhaps they live alongside the choices we did make……Perhaps there are unknown lives walking alongside ours, those paths we didn’t take, and we reach for them, we ache for them, and don’t know why. We have, none of us, lived our lives as we ought to……..what agony, to know our better selves, the life we might have lived is there, just out of reach.

Haven Kimmel – The Solace of Leaving Early

Time to make some choices, choose the path we want to take, the one I want to take, otherwise someone else will make the choice for us.