Saturday, July 31, 2010

a river (sort of) runs through it

we tend to aspire to things as we think they should be, holding in our minds visions of what we think to be the ideal. the ideal job. the ideal school. the ideal friends. the ideal family. all wrapped in an ideal package of ideal predictions for an ideal future following an ideal plan for the ideal race that is an ideal life.

but life, unfortunately, isn't about the ideal. even as much as we have been led to believe so by stories and books and songs and music and shows and movies. life is not ideal.

things happen. chaos. chance. challenge. the unforeseen. the unexpected. the unknown.

this creates a perpetual gulf between what we want life to be and what life actually is, with a dissonance that leaves us to struggle to resolve the two in order to make any way through the impasse.

our response to this, however, is not always the best way forward. in a rush to bypass our reality and pursue our ideals, we often understand and analyze but do not detach and recognize. the result is that we invariably try to act upon the things we cannot change without comprehension that we are doing so, leading inevitably to failure in a state of affliction overwhelmed by emotions like confusion, frustration, anger, anguish, sorrow, and despair--all of which are negative, and precursors to a downward spiral of self-destruction and ultimate disintegration.

a better, more constructive, way forward requires that we first detach ourselves from the dissonance, enough for us to recognize the disjuncture between reality and our ideals, to the extent that we can understand that we cannot always change things around us but we can always change things within ourselves, and thereby analyze the difference between the two until we comprehend what changes we need to make to improve our chances of successfully navigating through the impasse.

because we can't always expect the ideal. jobs and school can be dystopian, if not bizarre. friends and family can be dysfunctional, if even tragic. just as much as chaos and chance and challenge will always rule the universe.

as a result, we may never understand any of them well enough to analyze how to change them. but we can accept them for what they are, and learn to recognize how we connect to each one, and thus come to deal with them in a manner that changes their relationship to us for the better.

because no plan ever survives for long in a race.

all we can do is to do the best we can with what there is on the way before us...and that always comes back to who we are. meaning we must be the resolution to our own dissonance and we must be the bridge across our own gulf.

because the only peace we find is the peace we find in ourselves.

and only we can find our own way and reach our own finish before our own race is ultimately done.

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