Friday, February 5, 2010

Never too late

Just as we continue to discover new-to-us information about the outside world, we also get to be surprised by what we find exploring our own interior lives. What might be considered landmark birthdays, 30, 40, 50, 60, have not seemed like anything other than...a birthday. Soon I will turn 65 and have been nearly breathless with wonder to find that I am excited. There is such a strong sense of possibility, the opening of doors, perhaps a revelation of what I will actually be when I grow up.

I believe the choice, the opportunity, to evolve is always at hand. I don't know, really, how it is possible to remain unchanged when each day is a unique experience, bringing its own character and energy and drawing us further along what I think of as our path. There is no way to know (at least for those of us with unspectacular psychic abilities) upon waking in what direction we will head, like an ongoing game of Pin the Tail On the Donkey, blindfolded and spun around, hoping we are lurching toward the target and not, for example, the quicksand. So far, any sticky traps have been shallow enough to escape and have, as mystics tell, brought their own specific wisdom.

Time stretches, allowing us to grow into ourselves. My Finnish grandfather had a phrase about a substance that expanded or contracted to fit perfectly; he called it Finnish foozle (I guess at the spelling) cloth, the perfect material for clothing a family of children with a wide age spread; no one stuck with the too-short pants, the dress with the waistline hitting around the solar plexus, the shoes which pinched or slapped loosely, like playing dress-up. Life is constructed of his Finnish foozle cloth, bringing us, in symmetrical contradiction, what we might rather not have yet exactly what we need.

If I were not on the cusp of 65, I would not know the number of unforeseen and, in the moment, unwelcome events I could not only survive but eventually use as the flat, dry rocks that would help me ford the rising waters. If my spiritual growth had stopped even a few years (even a few months) sooner, I would not be able to claim optimism as a natural state nor would I know an emotion other than fear or anxiety over unknown outcomes. And this is particularly helpful, for outcomes generally are pretty much unknown; that whole business of no guarantees.

I have learned to be softer with myself, not speak inside my head like some mad dictator - or a character we could name from "Alice in Wonderland" for whom it was impossible to get it right. I have discovered, I believe, a still and compassionate core to which I can escort myself and find that my human inclinations do not signify the end of the world; that a task left undone today may be approached again tomorrow or perhaps may be crossed off the list unachieved. Think of it.

Over a number of years, we have the privilege of meeting ourselves on the way to something which had, once upon a time, seemed more essential than sunlight and which assumes its true proportion when its purpose becomes clear: whatever the thing was that we had to have or do or be, we realize it was instead simply the vehicle that drove us to what was the real destination. Our authentic selves wait for us, unless we have been among the most blessed who received that information much sooner. I think they send outriders, scouts in the way cavalry troops employed them, to see if we are drawing closer, then gallop back with progress reports. I think we sense their presence. It creates the excitement of knowing something is eager for our arrival, our blooming, our throwing off of any last wisps of an untrue or half-hearted version of our real identities. I would never have imagined myself saying this, yet I know it to be true: it keeps getting better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that "foozle" word

I've used exactly the same word recently to decribe a series of scrappy, make do stuffed pieces.

the word was taken from my german mum, who used lots of yiddish.
A foozel was a bit of fabric or thread or bit that had fallen to the ground, a scrap, that had to be cleaned up.

She used to complain about the foozels when I sewed.

I am going to look up this word.