“Which I suppose calls the question: is it ever possible to really, really want to die when we have people we love here on earth?”—Courtney E. Martin, “Birth and Death in the Bathtub.” courtney.substack.com. November 16, 2019.
“In any bond of depth and significance, forgive, forgive, forgive. And then forgive again. The richest relationships are lifeboats, but they are also submarines that descend to the darkest and most disquieting places, to the unfathomed trenches of the soul where our deepest shames and foibles and vulnerabilities live, where we are less than we would like to be. Forgiveness is the alchemy by which the shame transforms into the honor and privilege of being invited into another’s darkness and having them witness your own with the undimmed light of love, of sympathy, of nonjudgmental understanding. Forgiveness is the engine of buoyancy that keeps the submarine rising again and again toward the light, so that it may become a lifeboat once more.”-Maria Popova, “13 Life-Learnings from 13 Years of Brain Pickings.” brainpickings.org. October 23, 2019.
It’s a beautiful sentiment. Before you go plumbing the depths of others and having them do the same in return, make sure it is done under the aegis of earned trust. Earned trust is a necessary precondition for any bond of depth and significance.
“One of the long-standing questions in origins-of-life research centers on how the proteinaceous side chains and the protein backbone were selected during the earliest phases of evolution. Here we have studied
oligomerization reactions of a group of positively charged amino acids, both proteinaceous and nonproteinaceous. Amino acids spontaneously oligomerized without the use of enzymes or activating agents, under mild, hydroxy acid-catalyzed, dry-down conditions. We observed that the
proteinaceous amino acids oligomerized more extensively and with greater preference for reactivity through their α-amine compared with nonproteinaceous amino acids, forming predominantly linear, protein-like backbone topologies. These findings provide a purely chemical basis for selection of the positively charged amino acids found in today’s proteins.”
“The fastest, easiest and most inadvertent technique for messing up one’s life remains that of getting into a serious relationship with the wrong person: with very little effort, and without any innate taste for catastrophe, one can end up – by middle age or earlier – contemplating wholesale financial ruin, loss of parental rights, social opprobrium, homelessness, nervous exhaustion and shattered esteem, to begin a lengthy list of harrowing side-effects.”
—”6 Reasons We Choose Badly in Love.” TheSchoolofLife.com.
True, but at the same time, I’m wondering what the Book of Life suggests we do. It’s one thing to know common mistakes. It’s another to go from where you are now to somewhere better. Going to go a little deeper here and see if there’s anything useful.
“…a life under constant threat of novelty isn’t a life; it’s exhaustion.
Washing dishes by hand, I give myself the chance to remember that this is wrong — that most of life is ordinary; that ordinary isn’t the enemy but instead something nourishing and unavoidable, the bedrock upon which the rest of experience ebbs and flows. Embrace this — the warm water, the pruned hands, the prismatic gleam of the bubbles and the steady passage from dish to dish to dish — and feel, however briefly, the breath of actual time, a reality that lies dormant and plausible under all the clutter we pile on top of it. A bird makes its indecipherable call to another bird, a song from a passing car warps in the Doppler effect and I’m reminded, if only for a moment, that I need a lot less than I think I do and that I don’t have to leave my kitchen to get it.”
—Mike Powell, “Letter of Recommendation: Washing Dishes.” The New York Times. June 4, 2019.
“Nothing of him that doth fade / but doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange.”
—Percy Shelley, The Tempest
Sea change, rich and strange. Swim in strange waters. Armed with beauty and circus, wage war on the monotony of life.
Designate time for what matters, and be a connoisseur of the free use of time. Live without dead time and without hindrance. Delight in life; give pleasure.
Choose again; begin again. Move and the way will open. Find your own happiness and paths to adventure. Follow the accident; fear the set plan.
Decide your own life. Don’t let another person run or rule you. Don’t run or rule others. Don’t go through life wanting to be liked.
How alive are you willing to be? What is the price of life? You must make your own determination and enforce it.
Hard times and oppression develop psychic muscles. Safety leads to stagnation.
Enlightenment consists in correctly grasping our essential needs. Wisdom values puzzles over facts. Avoid learning too many lessons. Pick up the battle and make it a better world, just where you are.
If you want your life to change, wait a year. It’ll change. Of course, it may not be for the better.
A study in 2008 found that happiness tends to follow a U-shaped curve, where the lowest level of happiness occurs somewhere around age 46. Yet, there are confounding factors. A death of a spouse, child or close family member, divorce/marital separation, imprisonment, personal injury or illness, or loss of meaningful work can all contribute to shifting our nadir of happiness into a different period. But, knowing that the 40s can be a difficult time, on average, and that life tends to improve after can be a helpful thing to know. It can be a source of hope.
Nothing is sure in this life but change. Are things difficult for you? All you need to do is wait. It’ll change.
Cutting concepts, time, our perspective into fragments can help us understand some things. But, even so, the life of the frog cannot be fully explained with the dissection scalpel.