Direction, destination, changing attitude, changing direction – like skiers, turning head and shoulders … skis and feet follow.
Whatever we do, direct or re-direct, there is quotable philosophy, religion, law or custom validating it.
Whatever question wrestled, self-help aisle, internet or head-doctor’s couch answers, validates ‘journey is more important than destination’. Not offering wisdom as much as choice validation.
I don’t think that’s where my best answers live.
They arrive, wind blowing snow in my face – when and where – epiphany shows up for work. Some days it starts work early . . .
Lao Tzu wrote: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”
I used to hear that as warning – be wary of direction, foretelling unhappy result.
Lately I’m liking an alternate view, as endorsement of staying course, by not straying from the course (and that’s not an attempt at a golf joke – though it could be), means and ends don’t have to meet, ever. Nice when they connect, but neither is as essential as journey.
I don’t know which way to go.
Can you show me?
My view is that we don’t. We have so many options, how could we possibly know which is right vs. wrong or which is best vs. not so best . . . ?
Many routes – possibly all of them, are right routes.
If we are good at challenges, at solving problems – whatever path we take, we’ll have opportunities to use our talents, work our way through things.
Working through things – and as we do, all things become clearer.
That’s it, isn’t it?
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -15C / 5F, early/dark, fresh snow atop all that ice-melt, treachery at every step but we made a quick round-trip with only 2-slips and zero falls – refreshing and scary
So sorry to hear of Gary's passing. No matter how expected, it is always a sad surprise. Hugs, LG, Calgary, AB
Sorry to read about Gary's death. A great loss to his family , friends and you. Your grandson has same first name as my middle name and we each share the same Birth date - January 24 - just 71 years apart. Susan #3 sends her regards and congratulations. We got your voice message. Thanks, DA, Edmonton, AB
Hey Mark: Your recent experiences with heavy weights and stellar wonders of life caused me to reflect on how we all try to do our best with such things. Personally, I have found that "allegorical frames of reference" can be very helpful to address what you ponder. So, I hope what I offer here will be useful (to use a key term in your column of this morning). Since it first appeared in 2008, I have repeatedly visited such a frame in the article "The End of Cosmology?" by Lawrence M. Krauss and Robert J. Scherrer (Scientific American < cosmo.fis.fc.ul.pt/~crawford/artigos.0308046.pdf >). At first, this article can appear to have been written by egghead astrophysicists whose frontal lobes were zonked a few too many times by cosmic rays. Or maybe they stood outside for far too long, gasping the very thin, dry air of the Chilean altiplano. Not so. I think what Krauss and Scherrer explore can help anyone think well about the uniqueness and ephemeral beauty of our absolute insignificance. In particular, they help create a very powerful mental image of what I think is an "inevitable evolution" of everything we think we know, understand, puzzle over, ponder, love and value -- including all varieties of the "significant others" in all our relationships (and our reflective relationship with ourselves). Like the vanishing universe in Krauss and Scherrer's distant future, everyone and everything we know -- with their exquisite uniqueness, wonder, beauty and meaning -- eventually becomes more distant and then, one day, disappears forever over our own personal existential horizon. The real people in our lives plus all that surrounds and defines who we are follow this path -- even the memories of who and what we have loved and known. So, I think you are right. We are indeed very fortunate in so many ways. And we can be torn apart by claiming that we will never forget a particular love, or to have known what love is, or countless wonderful events and their meanings. But then, one day, all of that -- and each of us, too -- will transit. How to handle knowing this? I think we all need an internal core that appears self-contradictory, like an oxymoron -- but it integrates the deepest of existential despair with the uplifting joys of enlightenment, not so they cancel each other out to zero, but so they are complementary. Our core needs to be both as solid and as sure as anything we can imagine, yet as temporary and ephemeral as it can be. How to accomplish this? My recommendation is to stand outside on a clear, moonless night with no house or city lights nearby, and let your mind and your heart effortlessly push all boundaries to simultaneously solidify and dissipate that core. Don't worry about any thin air that happens to be about. It's the stars! I have found they always do wonderful things! Cheers, BE, Calgary, AB
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