Change sets in and our first reaction is one of resistance; we fear the pull into the unknown, and the way it forcefully pushes itself into our lives without care for our feelings. So we resist, yet simultaneously and reluctantly react, as we must, since change will not disappear simply because we wish it. Yet down the river and as its waters pull us further and further from the shore where we felt safe, we notice how we are no longer looking back; we have accustomed ourselves now to the motion, the waterfalls, and the eddies of the water, have grown perhaps the suitable set of muscles to swim these particular curves, and are now coming to a new shore we were not previously aware of its existence. Our resistance ceases, and our fear drops away. The water throws us upon this new shore, and, looking back, we feel a subtle gratefulness in our hearts as we become aware of just what it is we gained by being thus hurled out of our safety into an unknown and something not common to us. Surely, we have gained a new set of skills we previously lacked, skills we are now eager to practice and show off and perform, skills enabling a better grasp upon our life, a better navigation through life. We also laugh at our resistance, and deem it a bit infantile from our part, that we resist precisely where we should embrace and be daring. We understand that change will come again, and that as it comes we will still fall upon our age old emotional mechanism and resist; but, we hope, time after time our resistance will lessen as in contrast our sense of daring will gain the upper hand; we hope that, one day, we will become seafarers and daredevils, daring the widest ocean and the most unsettling experience to come our way.
The wine only becomes wine in dark cellars, my friend. When a darkness sets in, welcome it, show it the way out by using it, by putting it into action; use it as a motive and motivation, and if you cannot see the shore or where it is your going, then just use its dark ferment and awesome power just to keep going. Use it in a poem, or jog it out, or let it be the edge of your brush pouring color on a canvas, or let it be your lips spilling out the most intimate things to your lover, even they don’t make sense, even if you don’t know exactly what it is you’re saying. When a darkness sets in, welcome it, embrace it, and after a while you’ll begin to understand what a blessing a darkness is, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll begin to befriend and miss it.
Man is good not because of a primordial quality, something which in him exists in a natural state apart from society, but because the possibility of being good exists for him in his future, because, molded the right way, he can become so in his future. So it is a future seed with a retroactive force that acquires of him the full weight of his soul to actually become, and not something lurking in his past which requires of him to passively submit and surrender. So it is with love; love, which demands of him not to unlearn everything as the modern nihilists would like us believe, unlearn everything and revert back to a pure and unsoiled state, but to learn and educate himself so much as to become able to love. Goodness and love are romanticized by those who lack them most, and those who, pierce a little into their soul, you’d find them to be infested with maliciousness and hate.
A friend is someone who brings us back to ourselves whenever we drift, sometimes through a kind word, at times with a hard gesture. A friend remains close to us even when we think they’re far, that our pain and ache are incommunicable, even when we think we are abandoned by the world, left to meet the weight of everything on our own. A friend is someone who knows how to wait, when and how to administer the shot.
I was never young,
I always felt myself to be an old man
trapped in a young man’s body,
I always saw my hair gray
when it was pitch black,
I always felt the lines of old age
crisscrossing my young face,
and I always felt myself awkward and out of tune
in places and with people
with whom I should’ve been most at ease.
Then how is it that now
as I grow older,
how is it that now
as my hair begins to whiten
and as my face and body
begin to change
I feel my spirit growing younger,
bustling with more energy and clarity
with each new day?
What strange fruit have I eaten
in my wanderings through the garden
of the spirit as I held your hand
What strange garden have I cultivated
that I am now standing on my own head?
Growing youthful as I grow older
in an inverse order —
ah the uncanny feeling!
how strange! how beautiful!
and how right it feels!
as if a god has taken my body for his lodging
and has taken my body for a spin
on the pathways of life and love,
knocking on the doors
of the broken and the beautiful,
the difficult and the tempting,
teasing and challenging me
and throwing me out and into the cauldron of fire
and with each footstep
binding me to heed
the deep call of eternity.
A: How unlike ourselves are the things we do when we are feeling lonely.
B: Yes, certainly, and did you consider how unlike ourselves are the things we do when we are in love?—we act as if we are beside ourselves too. Yet, in the first instance our world is poor and fragmented, as we are driven out of weakness into our acts, always feeling half and half, and many times feeling guilty, while in the second instance our world is unified and our spirit reaches its climax in harmony as it thrusts onward fully, blessing even its weakness, and finding in it a coin worth being used.
A: Then, if we are always acting out of weakness or out of strength, out of need or out of abundance of spirit, what are the things we do that truly represent ourselves? It would seem that we are always beside ourselves, here and there creating ourselves for the better or for the worse — would it not?