Saturday, September 26, 2015

What If Our

What if our hard work ends in despair?
What if the road won't take me there?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold.

- First Aid Kit, "Stay Gold"

* * *

There is an apocryphal story (apocryphal not simply because it is ancient, but because it serves a particular aim, a gloss of politics, of hagiography, but still useful nonetheless) of Socrates trying to master a melody on a flute as they mixed his unhappy cocktail. When asked why he would bother with such a thing, such a simple thing, such a useless thing at the hour of his execution, the dude is reported to have answered, "At least I will learn this melody before I die."

* * *

It must be acknowledged that all your hard work may come up short of your intention. It must be acknowledged that effort and intention and faithfulness may not blossom into the life you aspire to, the one that is unfucked, the one you dream of in the stillness of the hour before dawn, the one you have only known in flashes and bursts of evanescent delight and joy. Not simply acknowledged, but embraced. To fail to walk with this reality is to remain fucked.

The road you travel, the experiences thereon, the tribulations and ecstasies you encounter are the warp and woof of your life and are not guarantors of anything other than being on the road you travel. Your intention to be at peace, to be loved, to be strong, to have money enough to eat, to avoid tragedy, to work at your work with your whole being are intentions only - worthy, desireable, basic, the basis of all human endeavor - but if you enter the road believing that because you believe all goodness is a fait accompli, your losses will be even more mystifying.

The goal of your life is not a goal, but a process, a way of experiencing it as it emerges.

It is the difference between a noun and a verb: nouns can be broken, destroyed (see Socrates' body), but verbs are ever becoming (see Socrates with the flute). 

Your choice: bodies at rest or bodies in motion. And motion only promises motion - no values added. That's what you bring to the process.

* * *

Our very temporariness makes us long for certitude, solidity, everafterishness. We crave the hand that knows our brow, the cuppa Joe poured by our beloved and sugared the way we like it, the regularity of being a regular, of being known and a little more. And all of that is to be desired, all of that bespeaks of a good beyond words. But do not conflate goodness with permanence. All existence is in the business of transformation and nothing remains as it was. Making the good in your life an absolute, the only sort of experience you can carry dooms that goodness, that happiness to a rotting and that which is painful, which staggers the mind is not permanent either - quit endorsing your pain by succumbing to the lie that nothing changes. 

Aim for what you will.
Work for that aim.
Adjust as necessary.
Drink deep draughts of joy.
Let pass what wounds you.

The purpose is not to stay gold, pony-boy, but to be gold.

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