With every passing day the vision i have for my future changes. What the fates have in store is always cruel and always tough love, and yet when it comes down to it without life's trials we would be weak and ungrateful and unhappy. For when do you learn what happiness truly is, but when life throws something difficult at you.
however i am not here to say that life has left me battered and beaten, that my life is somehow inexplicably hard and it sucks being me.
i lead a charmed life. I do. I am one lucky son-of-a-bitch. that is the absolute truth.
I mean, even now as i write this, I am sitting in an ancient house in a medieval town on the edge of the atlantic ocean in France... with my feet up and a fire in the fire place. a hot toddy in a beautiful metal mug next to me.... life doent get much better. and i am trying not to count my blessings, but instead to appreciate them.
sitting on the edge of the ancient Seine river yesterday i had a moment of realization. the kind one will have when surrounded by such grandeur, history, ... the sense of being so small and insignificant. your worth becomes something so menial that you can do nothing but figure that in fact you must have some purpose because otherwise the universe would not even bother with such small inconveniences as making sure you continue to live and to thrive.
and this is how i came to reflect about how i have changed so much since the past time i was here in paris. the last time i was here i spent so much time pining, for a boy who didn't want me, for a life i didn't have, for experiences i hadn't had yet... for these things i thought i wanted so desperately.
and there i was, sitting in the sun. book in my lap, the water of the Seine lapping gently below me as i sat on the very edge of the stone wall that has been keeping those waters contained for longer than i can fathom, and i watched a couple kiss up on the pier. I waved to my dad standing in the middle of the bridge, i watched a gigantic mallard fattened by how many seemingly kind souls offering up pieces of their baggettes. And i thought that indead what i have always preached but never truly lived... was something i had had to grow into:
Self sufficiency is the greatest of wealths.
and this is a sentiment that i had abandoned for so long. i used to hold the phrase so close to my heart, i tried to live by it. i tried to not rely on anyone else for monetary security, for my moods and feelings of worth. but that is absolutly not what the phrase means. or what it means to me now, and i am sure its essence will change until the day i die...
but sitting with the sun washing over me, feeling the heat, the slight breeze that was just barely warm coming off the cold water, i felt truly self sufficient for perhaps the first time in my life.
i do not need anyone else to validate my experiences. and when it comes down to it, that really is all that life is. it is whatever you take from your experiences.
I have been trying to be present in every moment. Yes, planning must happen. you get excited about the future, you dwell on the past... but those are all parts of the experience, part of the journey. they make up your moments. they make up your memories, and there isnt anyone else you can rely on to carry your memories for you... they can help make them, they can help fuel them, they can help remember them, but ultimately it is you and you alone who is responsible for existing, remembering, and living. you must be solely responsible for making sure you are really living in the moment and making these memories and appreciating them.
appreciating your moments. i guess it doesn't even matter if you remember them. its about existing, and appreciating. and living, and being ok with being the only one living that exact moment and that exact set of circumstances with your past and your future and your you-ness.
to me, that is the essence of self sufficiency. that is the most valuable gift.
these moments have been been elliciting a deep gutteral feeling in me more and more. the feeling of a connectedness that has perhaps been elluding me for quite some time.
it not quite like the euphoric sort of shakey butterfly feeling. it is the feeling of things happening, big things. you can feel them in your gut. that constricting of your chest, but in a good way.
i alluded to it before, as that feeling you get when someone you despretely love comes up behind you, and you can feel their presence. you cant see them, you cant feel their touch yet, but you can sense it... just before their hand touches you.... you know that it will be there on your shoulder, your hip... and you know the warmth of their hand, their body behind you... you know these things before they happen, and its not really a premintion, its not a vision. its just knowing. its being connected to someone that has no sense of urgency or reliance but of mutual appreciation and pure and unadulterated love.
the connectedness. that thing, that invisible thing that ties people, ties experiences, places, smells, touch... all of it is so deep inside of us, and yet so many of us have never experienced it, or have and think they are crazy. it isn't real. your sense of deep human knowing somehow makes you looney.
but it doesnt. it makes us real. it keeps us grounded. we can cultivate it, listen to it. feel it.
i try and listen. taking moments here and there to feel that building up of excitement, of yearning, of knowing.
there are these images of the future that i had in my head. i had them in my heart. they were mostly of small things but for me, necessities. to feel connected to the world. to be able to have my hands and feet in the earth all the time, to be still for a few moments in my everyday life and think... YES this is it. this is why i was put here. to be able to experience this and live this and this is me
every day it was drifting further and further away. i was just waiting. stalling my life until i could make it happen... and getting more and more resentful of the life i was living... i wasnt free. trapped. and it was partially self inflicted. i couldnt see the connection. i couldnt feel it. i dreamt it. i could sense it was there, but it was so intangible, so far, and getting farther away with every day, with every new commitment.
for a while i tried to make things happen. i quit my job. i went to the farm several times a week. i went to the horses several times a week. i loved every minute of it while i was there... and yet i always had to leave. leaving was always at the back of my experience, or my consciousness, thinking: why cant i just stay. i just wanted to stay. to have that be my reality instead of the escape from my reality. and i knew it was that. and i knew that wasn't the way for me to get to the place i wanted to be.
i needed self sufficiency. i needed to be able to feel like i was solely responsible for my happiness or my triumphs or my failures and subsequent lessons learned... that in fact i was not reliant on the whims of another to make or break me.
and it is the human condition as herd animals to care what others think. to be drawn to the closeness of other people, both physically and emotionally. but there is a sense of independence and self reliance that can still be cultivated and nurtured and can be the backbone of your life. and i think maybe this is what makes us strong. that connectedness to the greater self, the gift we are each blessed with but not all of us are willing to give in to. and there is a certain relinquishment of control that goes along with it. that you do not always have to be in control of the moment but that sometimes your job is to just stand there and let it wash over you and appreciate it.
... and my fire has reduced the once damp logs to piles of loosely connected neon orange ash. every now and again the flames surge up, willing themselves to not give up. the last of the water has evaporated leaving a meager remnant of wood ripe for incineration.
and with that i will retire for the night.