wlotus: (Tending the Flame)
[personal profile] wlotus
I believe it is quite normal to question things and re-examine one's path at pivotal stages of life. The forty-something years are one of those stages. I am getting close to the age where I will not have as many years in front of me as I have behind me. Right now i can still double my age and see living to that number of years. That won't be the case, before I know it.

The other day I realized that the first 18 years of my life were a mistake on many levels. To make matters worse, I perpetuated many of those mistakes for another twelve years, not realizing there was another way to be. I have only been 11 years on the other side of the decision to seek other, healthier ways to be, so I don't feel as though I've entirely made up for the three "lost" decades at the beginning of my life. What a waste. As a result, I regularly find people far, far younger than me who have far more wisdom and freedom to be themselves in certain ways than I had at their age. Janelle MonĂ¡e is one of those people, which is why I admire her creativity as deeply as I do. I don't know much about who she is as an everyday person, but I like her creative vision, and I admire her gumption to put that vision out there in her own way for others to be inspired by. After I saw her perform last week, I wished I could be 24 years old and have that same belief in myself to put my own creative vision out there so young, when I had that kind of energy. She has been believing in and working on that vision for a few years, already. She started young.

I did not. I am 41 and just starting that creative journey. Well...that's not entirely fair to myself: I am not JUST starting. I've been inching along on this journey of self-realization all of my life, every time I kicked against the voices outside of me that said I had to suppress myself and live out their vision for my life, instead. It's just that compared to where I envisioned I would be at 41, it feels like I am just starting. Anyway, being where I am at 41 isn't a bad thing. It's far older than I would have preferred to be making the realizations I have recently been making about life, but that's just how my life worked out. I am not dead, so I can still make progress on my journey.

I try not to dwell on the what ifs. Instead, I am learning to acknowledge them (as I am doing in this post) and keep on moving. My paper journal gets them a lot. I figured I'd share these here, for a change.

Date: 2010-08-31 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dynamicgirl.livejournal.com
I totally hear you on that. I feel exactly the same way, but also try to not live thinking of the "what ifs". I find myself comparing myself to younger people thinking "how did they get that insight?" Good on them.

Date: 2010-08-31 01:28 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Peaceful)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
I find myself comparing myself to younger people thinking "how did they get that insight?"

Oh my goodness, I find myself wondering that A LOT!!!!!!! I don't so much ask why couldn't I have had the same combination of environmental/personality traits to have given me that insight at that age, but I used to ask that a lot.

Date: 2010-08-31 05:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jewelsdelphina.livejournal.com
Perhaps slow growth helps give depth to your creativity.

Date: 2010-08-31 01:28 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Peaceful)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
That is a positive way to look at it. Thank you.

Date: 2010-08-31 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyofthelog.livejournal.com
Much wisdom in this post.

I was reading Kahlil Gibran last night, because sometimes your soul just really needs a hug, and this passage really spoke to me:
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.



I am grateful to be a witness to your unfolding. <3

Date: 2010-08-31 06:54 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Peaceful)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
Where you see wisdom I see a lack thereof. (Not in a "bad" way...just in the "searching for wisdom" way, which is good.)

Thank you for honoring my journey.

Date: 2010-08-31 09:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] e4q.livejournal.com
go you!

some people never do personal work on themselves, spiritual or emotional. such a waste! it's great to have some insight at whatever age. i hope that if i am on my deathbed at 109 i am still learning.

Date: 2010-08-31 10:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mallorys-camera.livejournal.com
You've mentioned you had a religious upbringing -- do you still believe in God?

I don't, but I often wish I did. I'm envious of people who say with such certainty, everything that happened to me made me who I am today. I don't feel that way at all. In fact, I feel like most of what's happened to me tried its damnest to make me into someone else.

Date: 2010-08-31 01:16 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Aum)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
I do not believe in God the way I was raised and indoctrinated to believe in God. I believe [insert the name of your favorite deity or your favorite new age phrase here] is another word for the life force found in all living beings. Lately I tend to call it "the collective consciousness". The way I was raised/indoctrinated to believe in God never made sense to me all the way to my core, though I tried my best for the first 30 years of my life to make myself believe in it.

I believe a lot of what has happened to me could have made me into something else. (I know certain people have tried to make me into something else, but life did not and could not. Life as I understand it is just a set of circumstances I can interpret as I will, not a plan consciously developed by some higher power.) However, I have grown to honor and cherish the power I have as an adult to find ways of reclaiming my true self and letting her shine, no matter what I experience.

Date: 2010-08-31 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] muse.livejournal.com
I feel you. My mother really admires Grandma Moses, who got her stuff working much later in life. When I last visited my mother, she said to me, "I always knew I'd bloom much later in life, that my last years would be the best." When I feel like you describe, I think of that.

Date: 2010-08-31 04:15 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Princess)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
I like stories of women who build a new life for themselves or nurture a new passion later in life. Over the past couple of years, when I was unemployed or underemployed, I met women who had retired from or left one career to start an unrelated one in their 40s and beyond. I held onto those stories as proof that I can do it, too.

Date: 2010-08-31 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] audrabaudra.livejournal.com
You/we/I/any of us could still be in a version of our lives that was incorrect for us.

I, for one, have made huge, gargantuan mistakes that will never be undone. I will never forgive myself for them; the forgiving is for others to find in themselves, no matter how unworthy I am.

The only way that I've found to reach peace of mind is to say that this is the way that it is. This is the manner in which my circumstances exist. They will change. The results from them will alter over time. I must accept matters that I can't change or alter now, but I must also learn my lessons and never make the same mistakes again.

Back to where I began: You/we/I/any of us could still be in a version of our lives that was incorrect for us. THAT would be the only wrong in living life.

Date: 2010-09-01 02:06 am (UTC)
ext_35267: (Peaceful)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
That viewpoint seems healthier than either denying that we've made any mistakes at all or beating ourselves up for having made mistakes in the first place.

The difficult part for many people, I've noticed, is graciously facing the reality of how our mistakes may have affected others. It is very hard for me to hear how my behavior inadvertently hurt someone else, and it seems to be hard for other people, as well. (Hence the attitude, "That is over with; there is no need to keep bringing it up! You need to move on!" that I've heard from others when folks who were hurt by their behavior mention the pain in their attempts to gradually process it.) I don't usually respond graciously in those situations, though I am getting better than I used to be.

Date: 2010-09-01 06:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] audrabaudra.livejournal.com
I have a friend who's battled narcotics and alcohol addiction for as long as I've known him. There's a reason that one of the first actions in a 12-step program is accounting for how one's actions, even actions that were driven by addiction, have affected other people.

We can't change, whether "change" means conquering drugs and drink in his case or working on my manifold faults spiritually and mentally in my case, unless we acknowledge the ways we've affected others.

If we've made missteps, then others have felt the fall-out because we are defined by our relationships to other people. Those relationships make us real.

I think in modern US society, with its narrow focus on individuality, individual liberties, individual freedom, on and on, we forget the fact that in one definition of "personality" or "reality," we do not exist unless other human beings know us and acknowledge us. How many sad cases are there in NYC every year of elderly people or ill people passing away unnoticed in summer heat or winter cold because no one knew them? The point's driven home that we, literally, cease to exist when we are unknown by other people.

And as soon as other people know us, we start to affect them.

That, to me, is the REAL meaning of the phrase "Ye shall know them by their fruits." What effects am I having on people in my sphere now? What fruits will pass from me to them through their knowing me?

I can't BE unless I think about that.

Hefty responsibility? Yes. But. Learning how we affect others and how we can be better at affecting others for the good and the true is a main reason to be alive!

That's my thought on being someone who has had effects on other people that I wish I could change, but must learn to accept. On the side you mention, of being someone affected by other people's..."choices," let's say, my opinion is that no one's got the right to tell you to "get over it." That's dictatorial; it's affecting you badly all over again, and it even stops spiritual evolution in the speaker because s/he cannot examine his/her effect on you without admitting that you were affected, first of all, and that his/her effect on you was not positive. When s/he admits, "I had that negative effect on someone I love and care about," then spiritual growth can happen--through humility borne of self-awareness.

"Not positive" effects happen--we are all only human, after all. That's part of accepting that "what is, is." We have to accept that we've been negatively acted on and find it in ourselves to forgive so we can make progress in our spiritual development. But for other people to tell you to forgive and forget without doing the work in themselves to EARN that forgiveness--oh no. :-) If you've been the one negatively affected, then it's up to you when you forgive and how you forgive. Being told to just move on and do it...why, that's another stone thrown at you. Not appropriate and not acceptable.

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