Life is not cast in stone. It is cast in sand.
That’s what I told my fifteen year old niece when talking to her on the phone today. She was feeling insecure about the classes she had chosen to take this semester. She said “I want to make the absolute right decision.” I tried to explain to her there are no certainties. We make what we think is the best decision and then we move forward with certainty.
I also tried to tell her life is ever changing and having the ability to let go of the past and live in the present was more important than making the absolute right decision.
Every now and then, some sort of experience comes floating our way that catches us up and takes us with it, transporting us, blowing us away like a dry leaf. It can originate in such disparate sources of experience – a powerful work of art, a story that conveys a brilliant facet of the human spirit, an encounter or experience that enables us to touch our own mortality, to feel it viscerally as THE fact that surrounds life on every side.
During the time that such an experience is in circulation in our system it can open a space, or a window through which we see the world from a radically different vantage. Our entire frame of reference, the valuations upon which it rests can be exploded, leaving an uncommon sense of groundedness in its wake, a sense of clarity and conviction that’s runs to the marrow.
Then, after a respite of unforeseeable duration, the world as we knew it closes in again, reassembling itself into an all too familiar picture. And we are left to wonder “How can I step back into the space that I was only just in, that has dissipated and drained away before my frozen eyes? How can I seduce another spasm of this enlightenment to offer itself to me? So compelling, so perfectly composed, it mocks this experience of the world I now carry around.” You would think that knowing this would be enough to spring you from the fetters that comprise your views, your realities, but there is just too much friction at work in these parts for things to go so smoothly.
The seed must know the soil, the man must know the shadow, the light must know the darkness, before it can know the sun. What can I say – the lot of an embodied spirit is a complicated one.