”I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking a moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
—-Gilda Radner, It’s Always Something
“I’m unwilling, unable, and unenthusiastic…”, until I am. I cannot do things the way others want me to do them. And yet, I try. “I don’t know what this means, but I have to explore….I’ve gotta know, have to know and own what I know….” I’m watching Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. I’m thinking about the soft moving edges of the ways I am in Union with Muse, Creator, Life, energy and all the times I am not. Mind blaming others for the long periods of the tumult of the decisions, language, tone, actions of others, that slam the door shut on this contact that was once constant and now, like a dream I once had. Getting back, doesn’t work, isn’t working. How do I start? Comparing when I am willing, able, and enthusiastic to the past and to my imagined or real current expectations and those of others is Killing me. Suffocating weight. Awareness is like snapping on a light. I want to say, staying in the light takes the same ages it took to leave that light. But, I do not want this to be true. I consider that I think I also believe that if only I do this or that, I’ll get the awareness and get to Keep it, in the perfect form of my desire….forever. I’m laughing at my mind, not in derision, but in mirth. I can float, but I cannot surf. Yet. I seem to recall the enchantment of the explore was the ‘goal’ for me. I moved away from that and am mudbathing in outcomes, a grade, enoughness again. That peony does not have to consider these things. It simply IS. I like that.
One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it,
play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good
for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.
The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal
to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.
These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.
Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned
is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and
abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
~ Annie Dillard (b. 1945), Essayist, literary critic, novelist, memoirist, poet;
awarded 1975 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction; from The Writing Life, 1989
”Recalling these teachings as I ride my bike so freely in the sunset through Bali, I keep making prayers that are really vows, presenting my state of harmony to God and saying, ‘This is what I would like to hold on to. Please help me memorize this feeling of contentment and help me always support it.’ I’m putting this happiness in a bank somewhere, not merely FDIC protected but guarded by my four spirit brothers, held there as insurance against future trials in life.
This is a practice I’ve come to call ‘Diligent Joy.’ As I focus on Diligent Joy, I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcy told me once—-that all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-‘n’-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level.
Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefitting act, but also a generous gift to the world.
Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.”