Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Long Game

Photo credit, with thanks.
What I love most about the Olympics is told without speaking.  I love the costumes, or uniforms, of each country at the opening ceremonies.  They require no hired narrative, no press releases.  "Hello.  We are here," they tell us.  "We have waited and worked and, at last, we are here.  How do you like our hats?"  At the events, the athletes' bodies are eloquent, models of strength and determination, focus, belief, desire, effort, discipline.  Not one of the men or women has chosen the short game, the easy path, for none exists.  As though seeing it all for the first time, this year's Olympiad feels like a personal schematic for the process of becoming, the ultimate long game.

In response to the most recent Word of the Week, which was "experiement," my friend Penelope Todd shared an article about Buckminster Fuller and seeing our lives as just that, experiments.  While my style is far from what I consider scientific, the term gives a framework to a way of approaching life and goals that eliminates failure as one of the options.  We are not here, I'm certain, to fail or to feel as though we have.  What an absurd notion.

Additional musings about the seemingly endless highway along which we travel, perhaps without destination, came from discussing GAME OF THRONES' latest season with my son and my sister, and from observing our state of national politics through as many filters as I can summon.  Undiluted, it becomes Kryptonite.  In G.O.T., for those of you who don't watch, there are the noir-esque characters who seek easy answers, quick fixes for what they believe thwarts them.  Concurrently, others plan - or plot - over greater periods, seeing what will be needed to carry them toward a desired outcome, time not a deterrent.   Acknowledging that we likely have hoped-for achievements as we totter toward infinity, how do we know that what we long for is not a skillfully disguised increment with the job of contributing to our spiritual evolution?

Without having a name for it until a few days ago, I have appreciated the long game most of my life.  Lewis and Clark, John Wayne as Ethan Edwards in John Ford's THE SEARCHERS, Odysseus, the way Werner Herzog makes movies, those who study and practice Buddhism.   Once we admit to ourselves that we are here for the long haul, a learning curve becomes less daunting, a time of doing-without feels less like deprivation, a wait of unknown duration seems bearable.

To be continued.  It doesn't all want to be said in one sitting.


Melissa Green said...

The long game. Ah, yes. What else would one call it, if we are, as we say, in it 'for the long haul.' All so true! And what a relief to be reminded that difficulties pass, the learning curve is a gentle one and can be managed over time; that deprivation is a little thing and not one's doom. And yes, with the perspective of the long game, there isn't failure--there is only trying again tomorrow. Yes. I can do this!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - You, we can SO do this. We have done it, we are doing it. We are not behind schedule, have not fallen short. Just the opposite. Let's step out and kick some ass today, what do you say? xo