Once my writing was criticized for the excessive use of the pronoun “I.” And indeed, it was a solid and helpful observation. But sometimes, you might feel compelled to make statements from the first person, for without that “I,” there is no you.
To leave something behind of significance certainly drives me. And yet my logical mind tells me over and over again, that all things are impermanent, and my Buddhist training tells me that much suffering is born of my Earthly attachments. And no truer statement has ever been made. This is a magical, incredible place! And we can “be” anything we want to be!
To live in pure self-acceptance is the most difficult thing I have ever sought to do. Apparently, I am firmly attached to the outcome of my story, and the final chapters seem to be looming dangerously ahead. Like any really good book, you dread those final hours, and you mourn the goodbyes you will ultimately have to make.
We are social creatures, born of attachments. How ironic and cruel that we must train ourselves to be so austere, so stoic, and so detached from it all. It literally breaks me apart to realize that I might be one of only a very small few people who would remember my family, my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and my brother. And me, of course. No one will likely ever remember me. Like my most admired friend has told me, nobody cares.
So yes, it might be easy to lose heart. Is tragedy inevitable? Is the most dire of circumstances always just right around the next corner? Over the years, I have learned a great insight. When you can see a middle ground, something between one side or the other, a place where stark realities and harsh decisions are left for another day, a place where you can be free to imagine beautiful things again… you just might find your heart again! Whatso!?… if a few tears might stain your cheeks in the process! Take it and know that you are alive and that you have worth and value, and YOU ARE HUMAN!
There are one thousand billion crows, maybe a few billion cats. They come in and they go out at a fairly quick pace, and we are left to view these things, and to ponder our place in all of it. There is always much talk of souls, and what is left of us when out ticket is called, and we have no choice but to venture forth into whatever it is that awaits us after this. I do not want to go, I tell you. If there is one thing that frightens me more than anything else, it is the leaving. It is having to go away, into another place apart from this.
It is also the leaving of the body that hurts my heart. I love this person. I have been with her since she can remember. I look in the mirror now, and I see my mother, my grandmother, and traces of my families, both sides. And with all the great qualities and talents I possess, the one true compass all along, has been my heart. Sometimes I want to scream out – “She’s a GOOD heart!” But people are too busy now, mostly…
If I die alone, and leave nothing behind that can’t be quickly erased, then maybe there are other things we might actually leave behind once we’re gone, that still have value, and make a difference. That’s one reason I work so hard on my tiny patch of land in central Texas. If I make it better, or more healthy and happy, more productive, more beautiful, for even a short time, that’s something. If I feed animals, as much and as often as I humanly can, then that’s something.
The simple fact that I care so much, means something. I think it leaves behind a kind of mark, an indelible effect, and even if people don’t remember my family, or my farm, or me, after so many years, I know in my heart, there are many crows, and many kittens, and there is every reason to believe we might come back.
One of the most horrifying and shocking movies I ever watched was Braveheart. It’s about a Scottish warrior of some centuries ago, who lead his people against oppression. In the final scenes, which I could not watch, Mel Gibson’s character is caught and finally killed, in a most unthinkable manner. That character, and that movie, has bothered me an infinite number of times, somehow validating that indeed, tragedy is our destiny.
Well, then, if that’s the case, at least we know the ending, right? With that in mind, it seems a good bet that one could also opt out for that middle of the road, unassuming, quiet and kind sort of life, and forego some of this intense struggle and suffering. That’s my plan anyway. It doesn’t mean we don’t see the problems, or want to help. It only means that acceptance of things we cannot change opens up a little free time on the board to do things we might prefer to do, rather than have to.
And as for sharing, that’s always a good thing. But when you feel private, and serene, and you have paid things forward plenty, and now is the time for small pleasures, make no apologies for it. Take what is before you in like a feast, because it truly is. Wherever you look, the bounty is given. You bet I cry sometimes. Just like a baby! Like Mel Gibson when all was lost! But today, things are calm. Right now, this minute in time, is mine. And the feast is abundant with every breath, with every blink of my eye!
Don’t lose heart! Nourish your soul through the emotions that flow through your veins! Be an incredible source of love and light, no matter what images or sounds you encounter. It is true, although it may take a good deal of time and investment of effort, you can be a wonderful person and have a wonderful life. Just don’t lose heart! Look for that safe middle ground you can run to.