Farther On

There are times when we must make choices in our lives that may seem strange or difficult to understand by outsiders looking in.   But the old adage “walk a mile in my shoes” is never more pertinent than in those cases, for unless we can state without fear of contradiction that we know absolutely every reason why another person has chosen a particular course of action, we cannot truly understand their motivation.
Any imposition of our own beliefs, or our own experience, will only match up with the true reasons for a particular course of action by the most flukey coincidence.  Should we then either believe we know the answer or take the word of someone else who says they do?   Or should we take the time to talk to the person about why they did the things they did and therefore educate ourselves with first hand knowledge of their point of view?
It is very easy to jump to conclusions.  It is perhaps even easier to accept carte blanche the word of someone we regard as a friend.  But in doing that do we actually sell the other person short?
I ask these as rhetorical questions.  Any of you who have gone through a marriage break up or who have watched a friend’s marriage disintegrate may well have found yourselves in a situation where you have had to choose one side or the other.  In some cases that choice may be an easy one.  Perhaps you were a friend of one of the couple before the other, maybe you were the shoulder to cry on for one and not the other, or perhaps one person’s behaviour was anathema to you and you couldn’t find the time to walk in their shoes or to even ask why they did what they did.   Maybe it is just easier to deal with things if you are able to place the blame squarely at the feet of one or the other.   For blame is itself an explanation and justification in not being able to forgive.
But before you wipe a person off can I suggest that there are always two sides to a story.  If your friendship had any value at all, if you cared for both people, do you owe both of them equal time?  Do you wipe one off simply because it is easier?    Is it done because it seems like less of a betrayal of the one you side with?
One thing I’ve learnt is that things do not stand still.  That life moves on and lives change, what seems broken and confusing one day may have a perfectly rational explanation the next.  And truth is something that changes when we change our viewpoint, in an ocean our knowledge of height is simply the distance from the peak of a wave to a trough, standing on top of Everest or at the rim of the Grand Canyon our perspective of height and distance is very different.  Imagine then how much more different it would seem from the moon.  Place yourself where your friend stands before you wipe him off, before you impose your reality of what height is on him.   You may then find it in your heart to forgive and maybe see a way forward where you do not have to choose one over the other.  Consider there may be room for both.

Farther On

There are times when we must make choices in our lives that may seem strange or difficult to understand by outsiders looking in.   But the old adage “walk a mile in my shoes” is never more pertinent than in those cases, for unless we can state without fear of contradiction that we know absolutely every reason why another person has chosen a particular course of action, we cannot truly understand their motivation.
Any imposition of our own beliefs, or our own experience, will only match up with the true reasons for a particular course of action by the most flukey coincidence.  Should we then either believe we know the answer or take the word of someone else who says they do?   Or should we take the time to talk to the person about why they did the things they did and therefore educate ourselves with first hand knowledge of their point of view?
It is very easy to jump to conclusions.  It is perhaps even easier to accept carte blanche the word of someone we regard as a friend.  But in doing that do we actually sell the other person short?
I ask these as rhetorical questions.  Any of you who have gone through a marriage break up or who have watched a friend’s marriage disintegrate may well have found yourselves in a situation where you have had to choose one side or the other.  In some cases that choice may be an easy one.  Perhaps you were a friend of one of the couple before the other, maybe you were the shoulder to cry on for one and not the other, or perhaps one person’s behaviour was anathema to you and you couldn’t find the time to walk in their shoes or to even ask why they did what they did.   Maybe it is just easier to deal with things if you are able to place the blame squarely at the feet of one or the other.   For blame is itself an explanation and justification in not being able to forgive.
But before you wipe a person off can I suggest that there are always two sides to a story.  If your friendship had any value at all, if you cared for both people, do you owe both of them equal time?  Do you wipe one off simply because it is easier?    Is it done because it seems like less of a betrayal of the one you side with?
One thing I’ve learnt is that things do not stand still.  That life moves on and lives change, what seems broken and confusing one day may have a perfectly rational explanation the next.  And truth is something that changes when we change our viewpoint, in an ocean our knowledge of height is simply the distance from the peak of a wave to a trough, standing on top of Everest or at the rim of the Grand Canyon our perspective of height and distance is very different.  Imagine then how much more different it would seem from the moon.  Place yourself where your friend stands before you wipe him off, before you impose your reality of what height is on him.   You may then find it in your heart to forgive and maybe see a way forward where you do not have to choose one over the other.  Consider there may be room for both.

My own dark night


I am reading an interesting book, “Dark Nights of the Soul” by Thomas Moore. In it he writes –

“Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about this rhythm of moods makes all the difference. Are you going to hide out in self-delusion and distracting entertainments? Are you going to become cynical or depressed? Or are you going to open your heart to a mystery that is as natural as the sun and the moon, day and night, and summer and winter?”

A dark night can be many things from severe depression to a period in our lives when we doubt ourselves. Moore states that we should embrace these dark nights as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and that if we do that we will emerge at the end of our own dark nights with an insight and clarity about who we are that we did not have before.

I have often used the analogy in writing about midlife using the river journey and that a midlife episode is when we find ourselves with a need to find a backwater and sort through things before we are ready to get back into the current. There is a problem with that analogy when it is observed by people from the outside. Questions arise about why decisions weren’t made more quickly, why in fact no decisions appear to being made at all. The person in the backwater can be seen as being totally selfish, as keeping other people on hold whilst they sort their own shit out. The observer does not necessarily understand that the process of sorting through the rubbish takes time and whilst it appears that someone is just treading water progress is actually being made.

In this book Moore uses the analogy of Jonah and the Whale. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the actual story here but suffice to say that Jonah ran from his obligation to God and found himself swallowed by a whale. He sat in the whale’s bely for three days and nights and could do nothing other than ponder his fate.

The point of the story in the midlife context for me is this. To an observer simply watching Jonah there appears to be nothing happening. He cannot move around, he cannot escape, he can do nothing but sit there and think. If the observer was able to take a step back then they would see that whilst Jonah appears to be immobile, he is actually moving in a direction that does give him insight into his fate, both through the process of contemplation and prayer, but also physically through the movement of the whale.

My whale was my childhood beliefs. That was the vessel that bound me in indecisiveness and was the reason I appeared to be unmoving to the observers. And it was in unravelling their mystery that I was able to set myself free to move forward once again.

I have also come to understand that the journey cannot be forced that in some ways the memories or chains that do bind us are like combination locks. You cannot move on to the next tumbler until the last one clicks into place. So whilst the time taken in the process does not suit the observers, the person whose journey it is can only move at his own pace.

*********************************************************
This is a song for my Dark Night

The photo is one I took at Ao Nang on the recent trip to Thailand.

My own dark night


I am reading an interesting book, “Dark Nights of the Soul” by Thomas Moore. In it he writes –

“Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about this rhythm of moods makes all the difference. Are you going to hide out in self-delusion and distracting entertainments? Are you going to become cynical or depressed? Or are you going to open your heart to a mystery that is as natural as the sun and the moon, day and night, and summer and winter?”

A dark night can be many things from severe depression to a period in our lives when we doubt ourselves. Moore states that we should embrace these dark nights as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and that if we do that we will emerge at the end of our own dark nights with an insight and clarity about who we are that we did not have before.

I have often used the analogy in writing about midlife using the river journey and that a midlife episode is when we find ourselves with a need to find a backwater and sort through things before we are ready to get back into the current. There is a problem with that analogy when it is observed by people from the outside. Questions arise about why decisions weren’t made more quickly, why in fact no decisions appear to being made at all. The person in the backwater can be seen as being totally selfish, as keeping other people on hold whilst they sort their own shit out. The observer does not necessarily understand that the process of sorting through the rubbish takes time and whilst it appears that someone is just treading water progress is actually being made.

In this book Moore uses the analogy of Jonah and the Whale. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the actual story here but suffice to say that Jonah ran from his obligation to God and found himself swallowed by a whale. He sat in the whale’s bely for three days and nights and could do nothing other than ponder his fate.

The point of the story in the midlife context for me is this. To an observer simply watching Jonah there appears to be nothing happening. He cannot move around, he cannot escape, he can do nothing but sit there and think. If the observer was able to take a step back then they would see that whilst Jonah appears to be immobile, he is actually moving in a direction that does give him insight into his fate, both through the process of contemplation and prayer, but also physically through the movement of the whale.

My whale was my childhood beliefs. That was the vessel that bound me in indecisiveness and was the reason I appeared to be unmoving to the observers. And it was in unravelling their mystery that I was able to set myself free to move forward once again.

I have also come to understand that the journey cannot be forced that in some ways the memories or chains that do bind us are like combination locks. You cannot move on to the next tumbler until the last one clicks into place. So whilst the time taken in the process does not suit the observers, the person whose journey it is can only move at his own pace.

*********************************************************
This is a song for my Dark Night

The photo is one I took at Ao Nang on the recent trip to Thailand.

My own dark night


I am reading an interesting book, “Dark Nights of the Soul” by Thomas Moore. In it he writes –

“Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about this rhythm of moods makes all the difference. Are you going to hide out in self-delusion and distracting entertainments? Are you going to become cynical or depressed? Or are you going to open your heart to a mystery that is as natural as the sun and the moon, day and night, and summer and winter?”

A dark night can be many things from severe depression to a period in our lives when we doubt ourselves. Moore states that we should embrace these dark nights as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and that if we do that we will emerge at the end of our own dark nights with an insight and clarity about who we are that we did not have before.

I have often used the analogy in writing about midlife using the river journey and that a midlife episode is when we find ourselves with a need to find a backwater and sort through things before we are ready to get back into the current. There is a problem with that analogy when it is observed by people from the outside. Questions arise about why decisions weren’t made more quickly, why in fact no decisions appear to being made at all. The person in the backwater can be seen as being totally selfish, as keeping other people on hold whilst they sort their own shit out. The observer does not necessarily understand that the process of sorting through the rubbish takes time and whilst it appears that someone is just treading water progress is actually being made.

In this book Moore uses the analogy of Jonah and the Whale. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the actual story here but suffice to say that Jonah ran from his obligation to God and found himself swallowed by a whale. He sat in the whale’s bely for three days and nights and could do nothing other than ponder his fate.

The point of the story in the midlife context for me is this. To an observer simply watching Jonah there appears to be nothing happening. He cannot move around, he cannot escape, he can do nothing but sit there and think. If the observer was able to take a step back then they would see that whilst Jonah appears to be immobile, he is actually moving in a direction that does give him insight into his fate, both through the process of contemplation and prayer, but also physically through the movement of the whale.

My whale was my childhood beliefs. That was the vessel that bound me in indecisiveness and was the reason I appeared to be unmoving to the observers. And it was in unravelling their mystery that I was able to set myself free to move forward once again.

I have also come to understand that the journey cannot be forced that in some ways the memories or chains that do bind us are like combination locks. You cannot move on to the next tumbler until the last one clicks into place. So whilst the time taken in the process does not suit the observers, the person whose journey it is can only move at his own pace.

*********************************************************
This is a song for my Dark Night

The photo is one I took at Ao Nang on the recent trip to Thailand.

Musical Monday – Jackson Browne, Farther On

I have always loved Jackson Browne’s music and still rate a concert he gave here in Melbourne around 1979 as the best I have ever seen. The opening verse of this song says –

In my early years I hid my tears
And passed my days alone
Adrift on an ocean of loneliness
My dreams like nets were thrown
To catch the love that Id heard of
In books and films and songs
Now theres a world of illusion and fantasy
In the place where the real world belongs

You can view the full lyrics here, but in the meantime just enjoy the music.

Musical Monday – Jackson Browne, Farther On

I have always loved Jackson Browne’s music and still rate a concert he gave here in Melbourne around 1979 as the best I have ever seen. The opening verse of this song says –

In my early years I hid my tears
And passed my days alone
Adrift on an ocean of loneliness
My dreams like nets were thrown
To catch the love that Id heard of
In books and films and songs
Now theres a world of illusion and fantasy
In the place where the real world belongs

You can view the full lyrics here, but in the meantime just enjoy the music.

Musical Monday – Jackson Browne, Farther On

I have always loved Jackson Browne’s music and still rate a concert he gave here in Melbourne around 1979 as the best I have ever seen. The opening verse of this song says –

In my early years I hid my tears
And passed my days alone
Adrift on an ocean of loneliness
My dreams like nets were thrown
To catch the love that Id heard of
In books and films and songs
Now theres a world of illusion and fantasy
In the place where the real world belongs

You can view the full lyrics here, but in the meantime just enjoy the music.

Lonesome Home

This past weekend L and the kids moved out of the family home. It was inevitable but not something I wanted nor welcomed. I left there myself more than 18 months ago as a result of a number of things but I am learning to attempt to live without regret. I do believe that in the long term it was the best decision for all of us.

Nonetheless, with someone new moving into my old home next weekend I can’t help but feel saddened. That is the house where we brought our four children home, where the birthdays and Christmases were celebrated, where the remains of five beloved family pets are buried. It echos with memories of that past life, of happier times when there were hints of a different future lurking just beyond tomorrow.

It has given a sense of place to my life for more than 25 years, more than a house, it was home in the true context of all that word encompasses.

So it is now yet another step along the way of moving on. I have signed over the home to L and she is in the process of paying out the joint mortgages and taking one in her own right. The house is hers now, or at least it will be when the paperwork is fnalised, and I don’t even really have any right to comment. I hope that the new living arrangements work. I hope the kids know that they can live with me if they wish to. I trust that the love of parents is more necessary and comforting than the physical reality of a house.

I want nothing more for all of us than the belief that at some time there will be a new home somewhere, somewhen.

Lonesome Home

This past weekend L and the kids moved out of the family home. It was inevitable but not something I wanted nor welcomed. I left there myself more than 18 months ago as a result of a number of things but I am learning to attempt to live without regret. I do believe that in the long term it was the best decision for all of us.

Nonetheless, with someone new moving into my old home next weekend I can’t help but feel saddened. That is the house where we brought our four children home, where the birthdays and Christmases were celebrated, where the remains of five beloved family pets are buried. It echos with memories of that past life, of happier times when there were hints of a different future lurking just beyond tomorrow.

It has given a sense of place to my life for more than 25 years, more than a house, it was home in the true context of all that word encompasses.

So it is now yet another step along the way of moving on. I have signed over the home to L and she is in the process of paying out the joint mortgages and taking one in her own right. The house is hers now, or at least it will be when the paperwork is fnalised, and I don’t even really have any right to comment. I hope that the new living arrangements work. I hope the kids know that they can live with me if they wish to. I trust that the love of parents is more necessary and comforting than the physical reality of a house.

I want nothing more for all of us than the belief that at some time there will be a new home somewhere, somewhen.

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