Frustration can be a deceiving beast of burden. This past year I’ve essentially put most of life – at least that which I was previously acquainted with – into a quintessential holding pattern. And any transition, regardless of it’s pace or magnitude is, at some level, an uncomfortable undertaking. However, as I once read by an author who’s name I’ve long since forgotten, it is the highs and lows of life which remind us we are alive. Everything in between is just filler, time which summarizes material we scarcely, if ever remember. Besides, every new experience presents us an opportunity to explore that which we would otherwise remain sheltered from.
Challenges to that which we ardently believe can come at us from unexpected directions. I vividly remember sitting on a secluded beach skirting a small island in the Gulf of Thailand, attempting to understand what I had experienced during the previous week. The location was perhaps irrelevant, but it did underline what, at the time, I considered to be an alternative reality. In the midst of a terrific escape from the business of living, I suddenly discovered that everything I’d learned in the art of surviving during the past four decades was now under siege. The experience was yet another reminder that what we understand best is that which we have experienced first-hand, effectively removing the shackles impeding familiarity and awareness, and making possible the acquisition of realizations and wisdom.
As this year enters its final days I’m reminded of the divergent paths encountered when attempting to compare – or reconcile – information and applied knowledge. If my personal experience is any indication, the acquisition of information merely whets the appetite as it prepares the stage for the act of actually participating in – or living the experience. There were many situations this year that, when analyzed superficially, presented what appeared to be sound analysis. And yet as I thought it through – as I always and inevitably do – I realized my initial conclusion was somewhat hastened by inadequate reflection, and thus, perhaps, entirely incorrect. It seems that what at first made perfect sense simply did not reconcile with actual life experiences, where subsequent events generated outcomes inconsistent with those predicated in our analysis-based models. Clearly, the science is only as good as the evidence we choose to consider, and yet I must admit to appreciating the hypothesis which often kindles an array of creative possibilities.
Looking forward, I recognize what I am feeling. Cautious optimism is not an experience I consider myself unfamiliar with. Having realized long ago that the combined effects of time and reflection provide insight into what may – at the moment – appear inconsequential and unclear, I approach the new juncture seeking validation for decisions which have thus far yielded scant evidence of bearing fruit. Where my future lies I don’t pretend to know, yet decisions I’ve made when changing course have often required a sometimes uncomfortable melding of applied experience with faith, wisdom with hope, evidence with ideology. I suppose it’s not entirely inconsistent with making a calculated risk, an educated guess or a cognizant leap of faith.
We can always find happiness and contentment with what we have, and yet discover the liberating effects instilled in us by our intellect and courage when seeking out and creating new possibilities. In fact I would suggest that denying ourselves either of these experiences is equivalent to undermining the fundamental dynamics of being human. Engaging in the pursuit of happiness or a new opportunity does not make either a forgone conclusion, yet choosing to only recognize without a course of action is simply a desire, a want. The realizations and wisdom gained through experience have no rival, and afford us the opportunity for authoring our own story.
All the best to you in the coming year.
~ Castaway Return to Castaway Planet