Had a conversation this week which reminded me that not everything works out the way that we anticipate or wish. Life rarely proceeds so smoothly that we maintain the pure clarity or carefree existence which we glimpsed at times when we were children. It is much more complex – a succession of ebbs and flows, of good moments and bad, of integrity and mixed motives. In later life, the challenge is more that we reconcile the opposites that have emerged within us – the Shadow and the light, the steps forward with the setbacks – and transform them into a wholeness which allows us fully move on in the project which is our life. At times, however, it can be hard to see a positive direction in where we currently are, as the maps and guidelines which had guided us up to now seem hopelessly inadequate. A new paradigm is needed. We are forced to acknowledge the mystery and work out a path on our own, moving into a larger life and not the one we unconsciously thought had been mapped out for us.
Everyone should be born into this world happy
and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!
And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.
Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings.
Mary Oliver, Halleluiah.