Enlightened Conflict

fall winter and finding meaning in death

December 1st, 2016

 like-the-seasons-things-change-fall-spring-winter-time

========================

 

“What I fear I avoid.

What I fear I pretend does not exist.

What I fear is quietly killing me.

 

Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me.

 

Let the light in before it is too late. “

 

 

 Jeanette Winterson from “The Green Man”

===================

 

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

 

—–

Unknown

(via ginger-and-preppy)

 

 

==============

 

Well <part 1>.

 

I just read a an article in one of those local papers you can pick up at Healthy Grocery stores which attempted to discuss how this time of the year <October/November/December> is the season of ‘decay and death’ … and how it was a potent time to connect with the dead <and highlighted several celebrations around the world which do just that>.

This thought was combined with the thought we human folk balk at connecting with death because it … well … seems morbid to do so.

 

 

and summer regrets

               getting rid

       of winter wishes

 

summer and i

=======

 

 

Well <part 2>.

 

I balk at the whole concept of ‘decay & death’ as well as the ‘morbid‘ thought.

 

Simplistically, seasons remind of us the cycle of Life <not death> and that death, in and of itself a sad event, contains at its very core the very simple concept that without Death, there is no Life.

 

This was immortalized in pop culture by Blood Sweat & Tears in their absolutely fabulous song “and when I die”:

 

====

And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there,
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

====

 

While each Life is a stepping stone for every future generation each death represents a stepping stone for … well … the future.

dialogue with pain

 

I don’t need any Eastern religion wisdom to remind me of this … I think we all know this.

Now … I will admit that connecting with this thought is much much easier for us when we remove any personalized death and accept it as simply a turning of generations. Therefore … one of the reasons we do not celebrate death is because it can get too personal. And if that is a reason … it sure as hell is a good one.

 

But death itself?

 

While death is something we dislike, facing seasons remain something we must face year in and year out. It is a constant affirmation of the turning of time and that some things we may have gained will most likely be inevitably lost in the natural turn of time.

 

And, yes, as today is December 1st I am reminded that Winter is the time of Life’s strategic retreat and conservation of what gives it all life.

 

It is not death. And it is not decay.

 

It is Life’s thoughtful way to insure its existence and survival.

 

It is the time of incubation and rest and restoration for all things to come in the following year.

 

I could also suggest that winter is a time of reflection and … well … comfort. In winter’s dark nights the stars are at their clearest and we have the opportunity to see them as the sparks of potential and wishes and dreams and … well … Life. Uhm. And dreaming is never a bad thing … particularly during the ‘ebb tide of seasonal Life.’

 

I will not argue that as Life recedes in autumn and rests in winter we do, at least emotionally, get closer to connecting with death … but I do balk at thinking of autumn & winter as ‘things associated with death.’

 

.... a time to Reflect ......

…. a time to Reflect ……

I would argue it actually does a nice job of reminding us we need to let go of things. and, sure, maybe we connect with ‘the dead’ better at this time because … well … it reminds us to celebrate what we had and embrace letting go.

 

And that is the thing about winter … it demands to not only be felt but also that you meet it on its terms. Even better … Winter demands us to let go of things we most typically hold onto with ragged claws.

 

You cannot refuse its existence and you cannot ignore what was because what is … is … well … is starkly different. Where Life was once obvious it is now starkly absent.

 

I would note that all Eastern mysticism and ‘being in touch with the universe’ and the ‘natural ebb of the earth’ and all that stuff, at its core, just suggests that we pay attention. Pay attention to whatever energy seasons give us … and more often than not that energy it gives us is … uhm … just good ole fashioned thinking. It gives us the energy to think about our lives, lives lost and lives yet to be lived.

 

Acknowledgement of all of that increases your overall connection not just with ‘the universe’ but rather to the eternal pattern of life and invests a sense of energy into pretty much everything <yourself and Life>.

 

And just as Death breaks things down to the bare essence, winter does the same.

And maybe that is the connection.

 

When things are at their barest, when we are drawn closer to endings rather than beginnings, we inevitably ponder the ‘great perhaps.’

 

Back in September I wrote this on the first day of Fall:

 

 

 

I think we all seek a great perhaps of “what I know can be”. I think we all know what a better world really looks like. I think we all want to see the beauty that can be found in what is better in everyone.

 

And maybe it is within Fall and the falling leaves we begin to better grasp that failed plans and failed dreams can beget new plans and new dreams. And maybe it is within Winter where , in ts barest of bare essences, we are forced to begin envisioning what could be in plans and dreams because it is left to us standing in the bare environment around us.

time-seasons-change

 

 

What I do know about all seasons is that they are markers of Time … and poetically speaking … Time is always hungry for many of the things we dearly want to endure and do.

 

This makes Time both beautiful and doomed. Yeah. Time is beautiful and doomed. And that is where I really believe the whole ‘morbid time of the year’ goes astray.

 

 

for it seems all of Fall’s stars

                       have fallen

and often summer and i

run through the last warm days

through the cool grass

       gathering stars caught in people’s dreams

with the intent

           to toss them to Winter

through windows of dawn.

 

Summer & i

======

 

 

We, especially in the West, hunger for time.

Conversely, time itself <to us Western folk> has a hunger and its hunger is for ‘things.’

It is a nasty emptiness waiting to be filled.

 

Well.

 

If there is one thing humans are fucking great at … it is filling time and stuffing whatever we can into any emptiness we can find.

 

Death and dying makes us reflect. It forces us to do so. Just as the bare often starkness of Winter does.

And it makes us reflect on what ‘stuff’ we have crammed into whatever Time we have had.

 

Oh. Maybe what it really forces us to do is reflect upon time. and that is where death truly makes us feel uncomfortable … not any morbid feeling but rather it’s just being dead livingthat we have been indoctrinated to focus on living … living life to its fullest, not wasting any time, to do lists that never get completed and just doing shit <just do it>.

 

Nowhere in that list of shit I just shared does death have a place. In fact. Death represents the exact opposite of everything society & our culture almost demands we think about 24/7.

 

And when forced to face death, or feel a need to connect, we are much less likely to celebrate but rather assess … assess our doing mantra versus ‘stop.’

 

Look.

 

Most of us don’t purposefully ignore connecting with death and those who have passed away because of sadness <because if it were we would be more likely to actually do it because the opposite of sadness is reflecting upon the inevitable happiness> but rather because death and past lives force us to reflect upon our ‘doing accomplishment’ <as well as it forces us to stop … which compounds the feeling of ‘shit, I haven’t done enough and I am not doing anything now>.

 

Yeah.

If you can get beyond the ‘doing’ aspect inherently death is more about sadness <loss of something or someone or time> more so than morbidity. Conquer the sadness and you have conquered death.

 

And all of this is just not that difficult <if you are willing to actually think about it>.

 

winter-fall-snow-season-change-lifeSeveral cultures do celebrate the autumnal solstice as the time life & death is closest. I would argue it is less a celebration but rather recognition of that which came before, and that which is dying, so that what will be will come forth.

Generations beget generations just as falls beget springs.

 

Death begets life.

 

This doesn’t mean we should celebrate impending death but rather recognize, even in sadness, life & beauty resides in the future.

 

Fall is of beautiful dying.

Winter is of starkness of death.

Spring is of rebirth from death.

 

This doesn’t mean you can find beautiful things to enjoy throughout any season.  Seasons simply remind us of the fact time does not stand still and no matter how hard we try and fill up the emptiness time offers us day in and day out … leaves fall, winter comes and spring arises.

 

I believe it is the Celtic wheel of the year describes this time of the year as Samhain … “the veil between the worlds is thin.” Just as several other cultures they use his time to reflect upon “that which was.” In my pea like brain … it is a celebration of navel gazing. It is an intentional event to purposefully explore the valuable relationship not only between Life and Death but the past and the future.

 

Listen to the cry of falling leaves,

            but winter breaks the silence

and warms us with words

of how to change it all

      before the Fall completely ends.

So, So

 

Look.

reflect brain things

 

I don’t believe we do not celebrate death and dying because we think it is morbid. I tend to believe we do not traditionally do so because we, as in Western civilization versus Eastern, don’t celebrate reflection.

We treat reflection more as  a personal thing and not a larger more public event and celebration.

 

Should we celebrate reflection? Shit. I don’t know. But understanding that seasons can offer us enlightening thoughts about how we actually think about death & Life & holding on & letting go is surely not a bad thing.

 

As for Fall and Winter? I do not think of death and decay. I actually think of flowers. Huh?

 

I credit Mark Strand for making me think Winter is the time to bring flowers into your Life as he describes Winter in his poem called Blizzard of One:

 

“A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that …”

Mark Strand <Blizzard of One>

Every funeral deserves flowers. Every Winter deserves thoughts of Life.

not even an opportunity to say no

June 14th, 2016

 

no means no rape change my mind

Let me tell you why I believe, in the Stanford sexual assault <rape> case … the one where a young man sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, the punishment deserves to be the harshest …

 

“she never even had the opportunity to say no.”

 

 

I saw someone had written “but where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses aren’t always because people are rapists.”

 

Oh my. What bullshit. Bullshit logic absolving someone of personal responsibility for … well … assault.

 

I have two words for everyone … assault & unconscious. That is the bottom line on judgement.

 

And while I am sure well meaning people will reflect positively on the young man’s overall character … the truth in Life is that some moments matter more than others with regard to character and morality. There are some moments in which we get judged at our worst. Is the moment truly a reflection of everything only act if you get a yes no means nowho this young man is? Of course not. And, yet, the action, the behavior, the assault, carries a responsibility for which he must carry as a burden for the rest of his life … and the punishment should reflect that responsibility burden.

 

 

I don’t speak with young men often about consensual sex but I have a pretty simple piece of advice:

 

 

  • “No” means no.

 

  • “I am not sure” means no.

 

  • “Maybe” … means no.

 

 

  • Only “Yes” means yes.

 

That said.

 

The young lady who was raped … never even had the opportunity to say no. She was so drunk, passed out, she never had the opportunity to say no.

 

From a guy’s perspective this action then turns out to the worst version of rape that could happen <as if there were actually degrees of worstness when it comes to rape … there is not>.

 

His actions are indefensible.

 

His punishment should be harsh.

 

It is quite possible I am looking at this wrong … but in my mind … while nonconsensual sex is inexcusable … I cannot even find the moral <or immoral> category you would put sex with someone who can neither consent or not consent.

 

This doesn’t even fall in any way into a ‘miscommunication’ or ‘misunderstanding’ zone … this is simply “I am going to take what may be one of the most valuable things you can give someone because I want it and it doesn’t matter what you may think.”i said no means no rape

 

I wrote about rape maybe in 2013. I called it a life formula that didn’t add up to me.

 

The number of women who admit to having been raped versus the number of men who have said they have raped.

Uhm.

 

I tend to believe we all know of someone who has been raped.

 

But.

 

I tend to believe very few of us know someone who has admitted to rape.

 

This means that either a few guys have been very busy being assholes or there are a bunch of guys who are avoiding the truth <I tend to believe it is the latter>.

 

Rape is solveable. The punishment should be so harsh that a guy seriously considers his actions. Basically he should be wondering if his dick will fall off if he commits rape.

 

Look.

I am not writing this to judge anyone.

 

I am commenting on the Stanford rape case and suggesting that guys should judge themselves more harshly and with a higher sense of responsibility <and their parents should do so also>.

 

And it is quite possible I am dancing on the head of the moral equivalence pin.

 

I am fairly sure understanding “no means no” is a simple enough idea.

 

I am fairly sure understanding if someone says that do not want to have sex, they do not want to have sex.

 

I am fairly sure understanding if someone says they aren’t sure having sex is a good idea, they do not want to have sex.

 

I am fairly sure understanding if someone says … well … nothing, they are silent, they do not want to have sex.

 

I am fairly sure you should know that you should stop trying to have sex with a person who says they do not want to have sex.

 

I am absolutely positive that a young woman, who did not even have being drunk is not consent no mean no rapethe opportunity to say ‘no’ had something taken from her that will be with her for the rest of her Life.

 

An irresponsible young man took it from her. He took something without asking, without ever hearing a yes or a no, with silence as his guide … something that she can ever regain.

 

Assessing the cost is impossible.

 

I do not know the punishment he deserves. Jail feels not harsh enough.  But the cost will never equal what he took. And he should feel that cost, whatever it is, for the rest of his life.

 

I get angry when I think about this case. Shit. I get angry when I think of rape in general. And I got even angrier when a father suggested “should my son be punished this harshly for a 20 minute mistake.”

 

WTF.

 

The concept, the fucking stupid mental gymnastics it takes, to find the equivalence of “20 minutes of stupidity” to “a lifetime of something that can never be regained” is absurd.

 

I am not suggesting we should make this young man an example.

 

I believe we should make all rapists an example. Make the punishment so harsh that sex carries the inevitable responsibility it should carry.

 

I tend to believe the fact we are even having the discussion about what I believe rape is rapeis an incredible misalignment of punishment not fitting the crime suggests we, societally & culturally, have a bigger issue we need to address.

It seems to me that we all need a strong lesson in the fact that there is little, if no, ‘moral culpability’ with regard to rape.

 

Sexual assault is sexual assault.

 

Rape is rape.

none of us are who we are on our worst days

February 2nd, 2016

 

businessman with umbrella and rain

===

 

 

“Somehow, we’ll find it.

The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be.

But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”

 

 

Brandon Sanderson

 

===

 

 

We all have bad days.

 

Shit.

 

We all have bad moments.

 

And I don’t mean when Life has ground you down or work has been like shit … I mean the moments in which you just make a really really bad decision.

 

A decision, a choice, in which there are bad repercussions … not for you but for someone else.

 

 

And there is nothing you can do about it.

 

You did it.

america these bad days

It is done.

 

 

Let’s call this “our worst day.”

 

 

And you can rewind it in your head and come up with all the ‘I did the best I could in the moment’ words & thoughts or even “I did what I thought was right” words & thoughts and … well … you know that is not true.

 

You had a bad moment.

 

It was a bad day.

 

And you made a bad decision.

 

 

And not only is that decision ‘on you’ it resides within you for eternity as your worst day.

 

 

Here is the tricky part.

 

 

It can reside with you for eternity externally also.

 

What do I mean?

 

Think about it.

 

 

If you want to know people you actually want to know their limits. Simplistically … most of us assess people by who they are at their best, what is their top potential, who can be a leader … who can actually be the best.

 

And then we move on from there.

 

Now, frankly, knowing weaknesses may actually be more important than knowing strengths.

 

And by ‘weakness’ I will ask everyone to forget good or bad as a person in this discussion because I imagine we all have some version of good and bad or even an unsteady moral compass.

 

This is about plain weakness.

 

The kind of weakness that permits the really bad decision to occur.

 

 

Situations have a tendency to strip away the good and bad veneer and have everyone focus on strength or weakness to bridge the situation.

 

And certain situations thrive on whatever our weakness may be. And then there is … well … THAT situation.

 

The moment in which what was just a day flips and becomes your worst day.

 

 

It is the moment in which your weakness is taken advantage of and becomes the worst it can be. And you become the worst you can be.

 

It is the worst of the worst. And it is your worst day.

 

It sucks.

 

We all know we are not perfect but facing up to the fact we may be weak or have some weakness that has an impact beyond our own self is … well … bad.

 

 

Some externally judge that bad as indicative of who we are <and that can haunt you for eternity>.

 

 

Shit.

 

Some of us judge ourselves on that bad as indicative of who we are <and that can haunt you for eternity>.

 

 

But.

 

 

better than yesterday

None of us are who we are on our worst days.

 

 

We all have at least one truly regrettable decision we can never make up for or find any viable excuse for.

 

We cannot because it was us at our weakest.

 

 

===

 

“It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done.”

 

Oscar Wilde

===

 

But.

 

In the end.

 

You have to always remind yourself.

 

 

None of us are who we are on our worst day.

yes

December 2nd, 2015

———-

yes yes yes yes

Why is the word yes so brief?

 

it should be

 

the longest,

 

the hardest,

 

so that you could not decide in an instant to say it,

 

so that upon reflection you could stop

 

in the middle of saying it. “

 

 

Vera Pavlova

==========

I am a self-admitted lover of “no” in the workplace. I am because I learned at a very early age in business the power of saying a clear cut ‘no.’ In addition I have an inherent distaste for ‘yes people’ and have built a healthy fear of yeses that create a false sense of positiveness in suggesting the impossible is possible.

 

stop

No has the power of stopping therefore it can afford to be concise.

In fact … in its conciseness it actually can often represent the sharp cleaver which cuts the cord to wasted energy and wasted actions.

 

 

And while ‘no’ in and of itself is incredibly powerful … ‘yes’ in its abruptness seems … well … too abrupt.

 

Too short.

 

Too simple for a word that does anything but encourage stopping … it more often is the initial push to movement <not necessarily forward but in doing something>.

 

 

Yes. <unstated … we should do something.yes type

 

Yes. <what?>

 

Yes. <as a statement … as an agreement>

 

 

Let’s face it … yes, just like thinking in general, is a quagmire.

 

 

It is a quagmire because far too often the majority of yeses are asked without either party <or one of them> truly understanding the problem therefore they have no right to be asking for a solution.

 
Business is all about choices – making them or agreeing to them or shutting choices off.

 

 

Simplistically every yes is a no to something else.

 

 

Saying yes as a ‘can do’ person or organization or simply because it is “the mantra” simply means you will continually fail to recognize limits.

 

Mostly the limits you fail to recognize are the “truth” ones you blast through as you blindly commit to something believing “you will figure it out as you do it.”

 

 

Well.

 

Sometimes you can figure it out.

 

But most of the time you do not … or at least not the way it should be done.

 

Of course the ‘yes sayers’ hold up completion at the end to justify the ‘yes’ ignoring the clumsy process on the path to completion or even the compromised solution which is represented in the completed action.

 

yes no hands

I tend to believe at the core of the quagmire is that there is actually more positive thinking & attitude in a ‘no’ then there is in the typical ‘yes’ … yet on the surface a ‘no’ appears negative and a ‘yes’ appears positive.

 

 

No’s … and I mean ‘non-lazy’ or ‘non irascible contrarian’ no’s are positive in their ability to sharpen whatever else is about to happen.

 

Yes’s are more about … well … the energy of obligation. An obligation or a commitment to a larger thing than a simple ‘yes’ often communicates.

 

 

And maybe that is where I think Yes fails us the most.

 

It should be longer, more complicated and less brief in its utterance. It should be reflective of the obligation, the responsibility and the choice of the moment.

 

It should be larger in its reflection of its overall impact not just on the moment of its utterance but also in the ripples of its effect as it reverberates almost infinitely through a business decision.

 

 

I do not have research on this but my guess, based on years of experience, is that more businesses fail and more businesses have lost money, people and wasted energy based on ‘yes’ more than ‘no.’

 

 

I am not suggesting we never say yes.

 

For god’s sake … the fundamental bedrock of a business is based on a ‘yes.’

 

Yes. Let’s go do it.

 

Yes. We will implement that idea.

 

Yes. We will hire that person.

 

 

But I am suggesting, even as you ponder the flippant three examples I just gave you that yeses echo in eternity. yes common area work

 

And while yeses embrace possibilities & opportunities & hope … they also are wrapped in cloaks of vulnerabilities.

 

 

Well.

 

After reading those last two sentences … kind of makes you think that yes “should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it. “

stars and shrinking

July 1st, 2014

stars and shrinking human

——-

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently. When you look into infinity, you realize there are more important things than what people do all day.”

Calvin and Hobbes

——-

So.

We seem to focus so much on what we do every day … the ‘doing’ in Life.

And while Life doesn’t force us to do so it certainly encourages us to do so.

 

Life does this by throwing obstacles and things to do and responsibility in front of us seemingly as we take each step into the day.

Because Life does this … it is seemingly impossible to do anything BUT think what we do all day as the most important thing.
And I am not here to suggest what we do each day isn’t important.

 

 

Well.

 

Maybe I am just thinking about it.

Thinking about it in a way to make sure we aren’t doing so because we are … well … shrinking.

 

Shrinking before the immensity of Life.immesnity of life norman-mailer

 

Now.

 

Immensity of life.

 

Let’s face it … it is easy to shrink before it.

 

Day to day, surprisingly, is actually easier for us to face. Not suggesting it is less difficult … just easier. It is represented in … well … things.

 

Things to do.

 

Things to say.

 

Things to check off on a list.

 

Things to put on a list.

 

There is never a shortage of ‘things.’

Life is … well … immense.

 

Immense in its intangible and vagueness.

 

I imagine I am suggesting we don’t <or at least make the attempt> shrink from purpose in Life simply using ‘what we do in daily life’ as an excuse.

shrinking focus on

But it is hard <really hard>.

 

Because ‘purpose’ is vague.

 

It is ‘doing good’.

 

Yikes.

But … does that mean doing good for whomever is in front of you at the expense of someone else? … or doing a greater good for the planet at the expense of someone in front of you?

 

Yikes <again> … yes … those choices are real.

 

Simplistically we try to believe it is simply ‘doing the right thing.’

 

But sometimes the right thing for you, or from your perspective, is the wrong thing from someone else.

 

It is ‘having a good heart’ <meaning well>.

 

But does that absolve you from meaning well but still causing harm because meaning well sometimes means not making the hard decision.

Or sometimes it does.

 

 

Purpose, to be meaningful, is a combination of intangible higher order type stuff … with some tangible daily <or weekly> decisions and choices.

 

And it is not easy.

 

And it is not easy on top of what you do in your daily lives.

 

I do believe most of us realize there are an infinite amount of ‘bigger things’ to be done.

 

I do believe most of us realize there are more important things than what people do all day.

 

And I do believe most of us shrink before the immensity of Life.

 

 

And I do not mean that as a criticism … just as something that is normal human behavior <or reaction to what is in Life>.
I don’t have answers here.
Just questions.

 

As in questioning whether I pay enough attention to things beyond what people, and I, do all day.

 

——

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”
E.E. Cummings

——–stars and thinking boy

 

I imagine I believe that while I do not have the answer today if I keep asking the questions maybe I will get closer to an answer tomorrow … or in some day after that.

 

 

I kind of think that is what looking at the stars reminds us of.

 

ragged claws across the universe

December 31st, 2013

 

“I should have been a pair of ragged clawsragged claws brains

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” – TS Eliot

 

 

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” – TS Eliot

 

 

Well.

Both lines above come from TS Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

 

In the 130 line poem Eliot explores Life from the depths of the ocean floor where one scrabbles out a living on ragged claws to the heights of the universe … and the immensity of Life that resides in between.

Uhm.

Okay.

At least that is what I see and think when I read it.

 

And unfortunately <or fortunately> I am no literary expert and therefore do not have the ability to tear his writing apart evaluating what they call ‘literary allusion’ <… pulling from Donne, Dante, Shakespeare and Marvel to Chaucer, Hesiod and the Bible. A reader has to take these allusions on board to get the most out of his poems, though on the surface they are fairly accessible>.

 

Therefore.

I can only tell you what I think after I read it. That must mean ‘what is on the surface’ is what I imagine the experts would suggest I am doing.

So take what I share with a grain of salt <but read the poem>.

 

Ok.

I admit that TS Eliot poems tend to make me think … stark language steeped with cynicism and a hint of urgency driven by desperation but always with an introspective look at Life.

 

ragged claws sense of ourselvesThis poem is about a person’s desperation that time in Life is running out and he hasn’t made his mark on the world.

 

I believe most of us have an ongoing thread of ‘am I being meaningful’ in Life. It is ongoing from the time we begin wondering what we will do in Life through the moment we step out of school and into the real world and continues as we do what we need to do day in and day out to survive and be the best we can within the circumstances we exist in.

But.

I do tend to believe with age … we begin to obsess a little more over the whole idea of ‘being meaningful.’

That is what the poem makes me think about.

A man looking back on his Life, and at his life, and desperately assessing what could have been.

 

in my pea like brain the whole idea centers on adequacy.

Ah.

Adequacy.

Equal to what is required ior expected but not exceeding it by much. Adequate is suitable to the case or occasion. Nothing to rave about but meets what is needed.

 

I purposefully chose adequate to share my thoughts because it suggests we have what it takes to do what we need to do in Life … yet … is adequate enough?

 

Most of us muddle through Life with small glimpses of something bigger. Maybe it is slightly beyond our grasp for some reason we cannot truly understand … but the glimpse remains etched in our minds in such a way we tend to come back to it again and again in our thoughts.

 

I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.

 

Ah.

Is this what we fear as we ponder our lives?

 

That Death mocks us as it awaits our arrival?ragged claws someone to tell

The arrival could be years away … but it can be seen mocking even from afar.

 

I imagine the thought behind the mocking is found within us … in that I was afraid I was not good enough, did enough … or been enough of what I could have been.

 

I wasn’t adequate to be anything more than what I was.

 

There is a self-consciousness with constant introspection and anxiety about mortality and fragility of ‘doing something’ in life.

 

The poem digs deep into a self reflected desperation … which I don’t see as all consuming … but rather a moment of deep thought. A thought so deep that Life begins to become overcome with feelings of self-consciousness and regret and echoes of a hundred indecisions and a hundred visions and revisions.

The hundreds bombarding you in that one moment.

 

Luckily we tend to shed these moments well … and move on.

When we don’t we tend to be haunted.

 

Are we haunted by the Life led?

Or by the Life which we never led?

 

Regardless we are haunted.

 

This kind of soul searching for meaning is often simply seeking a richer association with Life than simply scrabbling with ragged claws.

 

And in that search and introspection of adequacy we often seem to dare to peek at unimaginable heights. The heights which we are uncertain we are adequate enough to not only explore but to survive and prosper.

 

Which leads to my favorite part of the poem.

 

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all the works and days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate,

Time for you and time for me,

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.

 

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

 

And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

 

ragged claws thinker doerAh.

Do I dare?

Do I dare to walk among the disdain I expect from the people who talk of Michelangelo?

 

Am I good enough to accept that I will have my time just as you have yours?

 

Am I only adequate to use ragged claws to survive the day to day depths of life?

 

Am I adequate enough to actually dare to do, and be, more?

To actually disturb the universe?

 

And then there is the immensity of Life that resides somewhere in between.

 

I tend to believe while we do not dwell on these types of questions … most of us ask them of ourselves at one time or another.

 

Ok. I will admit.

It is poems like this … at times of the year like this … that one ponders whether they have made a mark in the world.

Have they done something meaningful or maybe more importantly … ‘am I meaningful.’ And I don’t mean to people <because someone always cares about you> … I mean meaningful to something bigger … Life.

 

It is only the arrogant who say ‘yes I have.’

 

The majority of us just wonder.

 

And there is a discomfort in not knowing.

Not knowing if you have not only been adequate or whether you would have been adequate doing more.

Discomfort in not really knowing how ‘big’ we could be.

Discomfort in the belief that our ‘adequate’ made us little.

 

Discomfort in not really knowing if you could have been better … done better … and made a better difference.

 

In the end.

I gotta tell ya.

 

Having a tombstone read “he dared disturb the universe” would be quite a legacy.things doing wooden

 

Anyway.

To close.

A thought from Marianne Williamson which seems to tie well with the poem.

 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

 

 

Have a great 2014.

Dare to disturb the universe.

 

ragged claws——–

 

To read the entire poem.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock – T.S. Eliot:    http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/eliot02.html

 

Enlightened Conflict