“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”
— Eartha Kitt
Everywhere I go becomes my classroom and each being I meet a teacher. I learn sitting by a campfire staring at the fire singing songs and sharing wine and stories with friends. I learn lessons of power play in boardrooms where the interplay of information and psychology takes precedence. I learn in the bedroom the meaning of intimacy and the magick that can be shared between people. I learn from the homeless and the rich. I learn from friends, lovers and even and possibly even especially from people with whom I share a certain animosity. They show me my shadow and I am grateful. I learn from my interplay online and from books. When I am in meditation, I learn from myself as I touch the part of myself that will graduate and move on to other classes.
“It is quite possible—overwhelmingly probable, one might guess—that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology.”
— Noam Chomsky
I have spent most of my life in the pages of books. I have befriended characters in the stories I’ve read and had conversations with them that have lasted well into the night. They have taught me so much. Psychological case histories are all well and good yet the diagnoses always follow the case studies and then tend towards the theoretical. In a well-written book or a good story (the two overlap but aren’t identical) different characters with various mindsets interact and through the interactions of their personalities there is incalculable value to be found. Fictional characters can be at least as real as the average person you meet (and far more than most online personas).Different branches of psychology work well for various people tho in the long run too many of them adopt a “one size fits all” solution and believes that it can benefit anyone. Encountering different mirrors of yourself both in fiction and in life can accomplish a lot more if we open ourselves to the experience.
“You’ve got to know yourself. You’ve got to know what ignites your magic, what fires your soul into performing majestic acts of love. You’ve got to know yourself so much that not even a hundred voices will drown yours. You’ve got to own yourself, this journey is all yours. All yours. No one can do it and you decide whenever you are ready to embark on it. Unlearn, learn, master yourself and love yourself or else they will define you and that’s a poisonous kind of life. That’s death.”
— Ijeoma Umebinyuo
I will not be a victim. Oh there have been times in my life where I’ve been hurt by the actions or thoughts of another and I have faced betrayal. In some cases I saw it coming and I let it happen anyway. Even when I hadn’t tho I learned to move on. I cannot let myself be haunted and poisoned by the actions of others. I have seen that happen too often. Not that I necessarily forgave them. There is for me a space of acceptance in between acceptance and continued self-victimization from the deeds of another. Not so much “I forgive you” as “It happened. You had your reasons and the script was played out. I hurt but I won’t carry the hurt because neither you nor I deserve it.” Finding this space has been a hard won victory for me. Yet for me to live in the realm of past pain is to deny myself both the present and the future. Likewise I have learned that past triumphs neither guarantees nor entitles me to present and future ones. Each moment is a new test of the spirit that requires coming to it as clean as possible.
Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum.”
― Ansel Adams
What images in your day have made your heart sing? What have you looked at that has brought a smile to your eyes? What today for the briefest moment lit your world and made the day just that much better? If we try every day for that one moment, that one snapshot of joy our lives become qualitatively better? Perhaps it is something in the sky, there are always fascinating things to see there. Perhaps it is a never before seen flower? The face of a loved one, the smile of a child, dogs and cats and other pets acting goofy tends to be snapshots I continuously add to my daily roll. When I see an act of kindness such as someone doing something unexpectedly wonderful for a stranger in need or people being helpful when they don’t need to be that tends to be a picture I take and cherish.
“The slow arrow of beauty. The most noble kind of beauty is that which does not carry us away suddenly, whose attacks are not violent or intoxicating (this kind easily awakens disgust), but rather the kind of beauty which infiltrates slowly, which we carry along with us almost unnoticed, and meet up with again in dreams; finally, after it has for a long time lain modestly in our heart, it takes complete possession of us, filling our eyes with tears, our hearts with longing.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Your smile appeared
last night in my dream
like the one that Alice saw
combined with Mona Lisa elegance
so much like the one I’ve seen for years
yet last night
The appreciation sending heartfelt echoes
back through time
Never was the sunrise brighter
carrying past gift and future promises
in its wake.
— G A Rpsenberg
Click on images to see full-sized:
Vision of the Burning of the False by G A Rosenberg