“It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.” ~ Machiavelli
I thought of this quote as I was performing the most benal task this morning. I don’t really have a title. But I have a place. I have roles. And I was wondering what kind of honor I have brought to them. As small as they have been. Not a lot. Not very often. And it hasn’t been the mistakes that I have made that brought dishonor, but my heart. I’m glad I have time. I have today.
Just yesterday, a friend asked me, “what now”? And it’s hard to know. Because my world changed and I wasn’t ready to change with it. Ready doesn’t matter. So, two days ago, I began asking new questions. Looking for new answers. Heart open. It’s time. To start from a place of love and take one more step. Toward light. Toward living. Toward more love. Treading softly as I dream new dreams one at a time. Building them little by little. Sharing them as I go.
I don’t think Mr. Milosz would mind that I borrowed his words. They have always touched me in the past. Today, I touched them.
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
So, I can’t stay inside. There’s a danger in locking oneself away. And it’s painfully cold outside. Doesn’t do any good to think about fall or spring. Because I’m in the middle of winter. In Ohio. But even in the middle of the bitterness, there is a moment. Of sunlight and frozen flowers. And I want to grab on to whatever life force is attached to it. I think I need to start gathering up moments like these along the way. And looking for more. Maybe I won’t notice the cold so much.
It’s impossible when light shines brightly enough, not to be exposed. Yesterday, I had a conversation where the light was pretty bright. Tired of hiding from it, I stood there. Loosened my stiff neck. Opened my heart. And let the light, well… enlighten. And while it was painful, what the light revealed was bigger than my pain. It was bigger than the whole of me. And I want something bigger than me right now. Surrendering to it was the only thing I could do. Not because I’m great, but because I’m not.
This is one of those images that wasn’t well composed or lit. I can’t locate a particular subject. The focus isn’t sharp. And I knew the minute I saw it again, exactly why I shot it. I’d love to be sitting there right now.
IT’s funny listening to my mom talk about her life. Eighty-six years. And as I listen, I laugh at some of her stories. Some of the others make me sad. But I think what makes me saddest is that so many of her decisions in life were based on fear. Fear of losing something. Fear of not doing the “right” thing. (whatever that means). And according to her, she lived a full life. It’s only when I compare it to what it might have been had she not been afraid that I get truly tearful. Had she done what she really wanted. Had she said what she meant. More often. From her heart and not her head. Had she not been so cautious. Had she taken more chances. And then I realized, the other night, as she was giving me a piece of advice, that I wasn’t sad for her at all. But for me. What she was telling me to do summed up her whole life. And mine, to a certain degree. I politely rejected the advice. But it was like a lightning bolt. And a warning. And if it’s not too late, I’d like to start by living in a place between right and wrong. How can there be fear in a place like that. I think I’ll like it there.
I think I must have been born on a foggy day. My soul is peaceful there. It feels like the one place where the world is larger yet more intimate. Mysterious but safe. And there are no words in the fog. Within the veil. They simply don’t belong. I can hear my breathing, but that’s it. Even my thoughts stay quiet. There is no room for reasoning or whining or conclusions of any kind. Maybe I am born on every foggy day.