I share my words not because I am right or smart, and not because anyone else needs to have my experience or point of view, but because words and ideas give us the food for thought we need to grow into whomever we ourselves will become on our own journeys.
The words I share with you are not just words I have read or heard somewhere and then passed on to you. They are all part of my personal observations and deductions through my life experience. As such they may or may not apply to you, but I share my words as possibilities of a point of view that you might consider as you attend to your own life experience. You have your own stories to write and to share.
I have been curious since I was a small child and I’m till curious in my late 60’s. I have lived my life quite deliberately since I discovered the power of words and began recording my observations at the age of 14. I have box-loads of journals of my writing that I have kept since then. Some of it I have read. Much of it gathers dust except in the manifestation of the person I have become, sculpted by those words and deeds.
At fourteen I recognized my North Star. My North Star is a direction and intention, not a specific attainable goal, that I have been consciously moving toward my whole life. It is easy to follow because when I am on track, I can feel it in every part of my being. When curiosity or carelessness have taken me off track it was as clear as it was necessary.
New lands are never discovered by following tried and true pathways. It requires curiosity, the development of acute observational skills, awareness of bias and, above all, courage.
What I know and talk about in my life is from my own experience of getting my feet wet and even stuck in mud. I have not always had the perfect solution to all my wanderings, nor regretted the prices paid for taking wrong turns, but I have always resurfaced to see the sun shine, even after my darkest days.
I attribute my buoyancy to an attitude gained by osmosis from the many amazing optimists encountered along my life journey, including people like my parents and their friends and the many strangers, living or dead, who may or may not have been aware of the light they shined that caught my eye.
I have never called a turn a wrong turn because of some prescribed evaluation or blind dogmatic following. Every decision we make has consequences that benefit us or causes us pain. All we can do is observe and make new decisions. That is the experience of life.
Much like driving a car, the entire journey is a series of incessant small corrections to keep the car on the road while it is moving through winding canyons and long straightaways. Even the decision to get off the road and stop driving is an action with a consequence. It is wise to stop every now and then and rest to gather one’s energies or to take in the view from the mountaintop for a broader perspective before proceeding. But then it is time to get back on the road until we arrive at the grave.
And when we do arrive at the grave, we are not leaving behind a pile of bones and rotten flesh, but the long trail of footprints we made along the way. Some of them will disappear over time and some of them will become new pathways paved with the feet of millions.
We are like water. We must keep moving or grow stale and rotten. Life is relatively short and there is so much world to see, in both the inner world as well as the outer world.