October 17, 2020

5 Hard-Earned Pieces of Wisdom that Shifted my Perception of Life.


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I was recently tasked with writing what I know for sure. 

What I know with certainty, without a doubt, and believing that this is a trick—a notion of exposing what deludes me as decades of life have consistently brought to my attention how little I know and simply don’t understand—I decided to try it. There have been a few things I have noticed—a few things that seem to be true. 

Here are five things that keep rising to the surface:

1. I almost know for sure that the beat of a mother’s heart is the tempo of everyone’s first dance. The strong and steady thrum guides each of us as we develop in the warm and gentle confines of her body. As we part, we likely scream with our first gasp of breath. Not for the shock of the bright light and loss of the comfort of the womb, but for the sudden realization that we now have to find our own rhythm. We have to create our own dance.

2. The morning sky begins like a dark canvas spattered with blue-white stars. It fades along the horizon as a band of violet light encroaches upon that canvas, turning to indigo with tendrils of pink transforming to orange. The stars are washed away as each stroke of light progresses further up the canvas; the sky becomes bright as the piercing gold of the sun bursts into view. Each morning—every morning—is a new painting. It’s a painting with the same palette but never the same painting. I know that this has been witnessed by many before I came into this world, and I have no reason to believe that this will change when I am gone.

3. No matter the urgency, the desperation, or importance of my intended destination, I find myself sharing the road with others. Others, with their own desperation, importance, urgency, or lack thereof, have no sense of mine. They progress, oblivious to my concerns, moving on their own time. I can’t go over them; I can’t drive under them, and if I am to stick to the road, I can’t go around them. I can only go as fast as the car in front of me.

4. One morning (or maybe it was evening), when the significance of the world being round sunk in, I realized I could never be lost—only far away. I cannot say for certain how or when this realization occurred. And it is odd because it seems to have been a seminal moment, a life-changing realization. It is something that brought about a great shift in my experience of time and place, amongst other things. (Maybe it simply occurred?) 

5. Anger doesn’t have a body. Unfortunately, as hot as it may feel, I have never been able to quell it with a fire hose or smother it with dirt. I once thought it brought some sort of strength to what could be a perilous situation, bolstering me with the power to confront whatever the demon before me may be. I accepted this as a way of confronting problems—get loud, get angry.

What I have come to know and reluctantly accept is that anger has a weakness. In all its bluster, bravado, and flame, anger is fundamentally fear. In the midst of the glory that is anger or even rage, the fire retardant is to ask, “What am I afraid of?” Is it a fear of loss, a fear of being harmed, a fear of being wrong? Sometimes these are healthy fears, protective fears, but most often, they aren’t. When the question is answered correctly, suddenly, as quickly as it arose, anger is gone. And then, all that is left is to understand my fear.

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