It’s a lot easier to comprehend how a river twists and turns and flows if you have observed it. Even more so if you have navigated it. Can you imagine trying to describe water and a flowing river to someone who has never heard or seen it? You might be able to comprehend the idea of the flow of the river by looking at a map, but the real experience on the water for the journey gives deeper knowledge.
In my sixth decade I find myself wanting to understand my journey down this river we call life. I know how privileged I am to have the time to do this. I have the time to read, study, think, journal. And sometimes write a blog to share what I am learning.
It’s always been difficult for me to take someone’s word for how things should be. In fact, tell me that “this is the way it’s always been done” and I instinctively take that as a challenge to figure out a way to do it better. That created success, and failure in my careers. But I learned. I gained the wisdom of experience. I’ve also come to a place where I will study the wisdom of others and learn.
There are some things I wish I wasn’t wise about. I wish I didn’t know the depth of pain from losing my parents. The hurt of betrayal of friends, loved ones, family. The fear of financial hardship, literally wondering if I would have enough money for food. The way the path of my life changed when I was cheated out of the $1,600,000 that I sold my company for. The hate and anger I felt then.
But that is life. My life. The ups (and there have been so many) and the downs.
I’m thankful for them all. I learned so much about people and myself through the challenging times. I learned how to be strong. I learned how to change. I learned how to accept. And I learned to never give up, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I have learned to truly be grateful for all that.
I’ve had some dark dark times when I curled into a fetal ball and wanted to give up. Times when I felt that I had lost the connection to my soul. That no one cared. I’ve felt fear so deeply that I was frozen.
I am so thankful for those times. Because I overcame them and became stronger and wiser. I have an understanding and an empathy that I never would have had without those experiences.
I have felt joy. Sheer joy. I have loved and been loved. I’ve felt contentment and security. The excitement of adventure and the contentment of reading a good book in front of the fire with the one I love. The fear for my children and the pride of their accomplishments. The list goes on and on.
My life. My river. Over rocks and around curves it has flowed and continues to do so.
During those hectic earlier years, the days of building a business, raising children, the busy busy busy times I didn’t feel the need for introspection. I didn’t try to find and connect with my soul. The life force that is Michelle. I was too busy.
Now, I can take the time to read and study and journal.
Life flows. The rocky times have led to this smooth graceful flow. For this time. It won’t stay this way of that I am sure. Yeah there are some ripples and bumps every once in a while. But that’s life and is to be expected. Death, natural disasters, accidents and people are going to happen. It’s the way of life and it has been this way for centuries, and it will continue in this way as long as there are humans.
How much pain have I caused myself and others with my attachment to my thoughts and feelings on how things SHOULD be? By trying to control my world and the people in it. By actually thinking that my SHOULDS could really change the flow of deep water.
I profoundly recognize that we are each on our own journey. I do not own or control anyone. For me, to show love is to unconditionally accept everyone as they are, at this time. To recognize the flow of their life is different from mine, their experiences are creating who they are meant to be.
Power. Power in our society is the goal and reward. We have power through our looks, our position in society, our careers, our financial resources. And that is all an illusion.
Power. We use our looks, our youth, our sexiness and attractiveness for power. If you doubt that, look at the beauty and clothing industry and the message they send. Look at the billions in the cosmetics industry. . Someone gave me the compliment the other day of “you look so young”. Why is that a compliment? Why do we compare our looks to the young when we are not? Why is it a goal worth investing thousands of dollars and cutting into our faces and bodies to create an illusion of youth? Why do we compare ourselves to others and beat ourselves up? Why? Why is looking young the goal instead of acknowledging the natural progression of our journey around the sun? I know what I looked like when I was young and let me tell you I do not look young. This face and body carries 62 years and the effects of a 50lb weight loss. In no way does this face look young. Nor should it. But this face and body are the outer shell of who I am.and really what does it matter. The youth that I have, that I cherish, cannot be seen.
Power. Careers have status. When we ask someone what they do, or have done, for a living, we are looking for a hint about power and status. The kind of car we drive, the size of our house, who are friends are, which side of the tracks we live on, the labels on our clothes, all relate to status. And status is power.
And you know what? It’s all an illusion.
I’ve travelled first class, lived in a 10,000 sq ft house, driven BMWs and Porsche’s. I’ve been friends with judges, senators, the President of the United States. I’ve started a business and sold it for a lot of money. I’ve owned a martial arts school and obtained Fifth Dan rank. I’ve had status and power.
Outward status and power. In other people’s minds and to be honest in mine at the time. And absolutely none of those things are really important.
As I sit here today, in my studio in my cabin on the side of the mountain, pugs snoring in my lap, I recognize what real power is. I don’t have status and power here in Pagosa Springs. I have very few friends, I have not really found my tribe. In part because I’ve spent so much time finding myself this year. And in part because I am very particular about who I spend time with. I am secure that the people that should be in my life will come, just as I am content that some have left.
There is tremendous wealth is this town. Multi million dollar houses are the norm rather than the exception. Sixty percent of the houses here are vacation homes. We are not in the multimillionaire bracket by any means.
I’m anonymous. Just another 60 plus woman in the grocery store or the restaurant.
My power is not from the outside, from others views and judgements.
I am more powerful now than I ever was.
Knowledge. Wisdom. Humor. Kindness. Acceptance. Creativity. Persistence. Integrity. Contentment. Authenticity. All of these and my connection to self and my soul are much more meaningful and are the powers I seek.
Life flows like a river. And I am so very grateful.