Friday, July 16, 2010

Turn Back O Man

Experience which destroys innocence also leads us back to it.

James Baldwin
Sometimes I perceive living as one huge elliptical orbit around wisdom and self-knowledge. One year we find ourselves doing something or thinking something we would never dream of in another year. Just when we think we know ourselves circumstances turn things around and we find responses we didn't know we had. What is it that takes us on these strange journeys, how do we know when we've reached the limits and what is it that turns us back? Those are questions to ponder.

It may be that life becomes too repetitive. We get bored or depressed with the "same old-same old" no matter how good it is and we start looking for something to spice things up a little bit. Maybe we take up a hobby or some extra activity that gives us pleasure and makes the "daily grind" less draining. Let's say you take up golf. That's a good choice. There's some exercise, It's a target sport which gives you the sense of challenge and accomplishment. Soon your friends are saying they never thought of you as a golfer and you have to admit you never thought of yourself as one. But there you are playing golf every weekend weather permitting. But maybe the weather doesn't permit and you had to miss your Sunday game. But if you leave early from work on Friday you can make up for it. And the following Friday you do the same thing just in case it rains on Saturday, which it doesn't. Soon you're leaving work early on other days and playing all weekend.

How do we know when we've reached our limits? You can go on making excuses to yourself and your colleagues for a while. But one Monday morning you come to work with your clubs ready to leave early because it's a beautiful day, and no one is talking to you. How come? It seems that you forgot and left a job undone and the fellow down the hall who wanted to get home to take care of his wife who wasn't feeling well had to stay late to straighten out the mess you left. That is what might happen if you're lucky. If you aren't you might come in and find someone else at your desk.

What is it that turns us back? It's a wake up call. What drew you to this job in the first place? And isn't it the job that paid for the golf clubs and your membership in the local clubhouse? What will you do if you lose the job? You won't be playing golf if you have to spend all your time looking for another job. It's time to stop focusing on the hole and start looking at the doughnut.

So you straighten things out with the boss and your fellow workers and settle down to being a good conscientious worker. Everything is fine, your life is good again. Then one afternoon on a sunny Saturday a buddy takes you fishing. And there you go again.

Is golf a sin? Of course not. Is fishing a sin? No, but anything carried to such an extreme that it interferes with the harmony of your life is certainly something that punishes itself and that is what a sin is.

What if instead of golf it becomes a behavior, like bullying, criticizing, belittling, carping, resenting, hating or some other disgusting action? What will it take for you to wake up to yourself?

Or what if it's gambling, alcohol or drugs, the really habitual self destructions? How far away from the center of your life, the harmony of your life, are you going to get before you turn back, o man. Some people never do. Whether they're gold addicts or drug addicts they just fly off into outer space and burn themselves up.

But it's those moments of realization and fear that you are about to go too far that, if heeded, can turn you around and head you back to regain your innocence. And it's a great feeling when it happens.

DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)

Who are the 2 (two) most important people alive today? Why?

5 responses so far.

Thank you.


Valerie said...

Serious and necessary post for today. I hope it helps someone. Happy day, D! Stay cool if you can. Love, Val xox

pacifica62 said...

Some say that one has to "hit bottom" before starting to come up the other side again. When your job, your family, your finances, your friends and your self respect are all gone, then you can start to turn things around. Some people do with great success, others do not attempt the turn around and just burn up and many times die.

DB said...

Thank you Pacifica. I have seen people hit bottom and not recover, sometimes because they weren't allowed to. It's scary.

pacifica62 said...

Recovery is certainly a solo journey and one of the first things those people have to do is get rid of a lot of people in their life. Whether it is family members, friends, moochers, hangers on, a lot of house cleaning has to be done. Certainly there are people in their life who do not want them to succeed with recovery. It is like a clingy octopus with tentacles that never let go. I have nothing but admiration and respect for those who can fight through all of that and succeed. That has got to be one hell of a battle.

Big Mark 243 said...

Thought provoking as always, D.B. .

Pacifica has done a nice job of expressing sentiments that occured to me reading this.

This is one area where the middle class is as narrow a band as the upper classes. To rise above indulgences of any kind is difficult propsition and why it isn't done with any great success or frequency.

They always leave that part out.

DB said...

Yes Mark. Pacifica is usually right.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The key is everything in moderation.