I’m not sure how I came to think of things as “this” or “that” – but it’s a disservice to pidgeonhole life. everything is multifaceted, and expecting anything to be just one thing seems hopelessly myopic. Recognizing this more and more deeply, I see how much I’ve cut myself off from the fullness of life. If i thought I understood what a crayon was by a single issue, I’d have no idea of the colorful possibilities that awaited me. i’ve done that far too often.
Obviously, people: people are huge combinations of attributes, and then within each attribute there a spectrum possibility ranging from ‘well-fed and content’ versions to ‘scared and defensive’ versions of even one behavior. We are all so multi-dimensional, and how that expresses has such room for variation as well, it’s hard to believe how often i think i “know” someone, when we are ALL growing and changing beings – even the people who doggedly defend a limited identity and try to bend life to maintain it.
I often learn the lesson of shifting realities when I revisit a restaurant at which i’ve had a great experience. if i make the mistake of singing its praises to someone, it is rare indeed that our next visit will resemble my first. then i’m stuck backpeddling. I really do find it about anything i get overly excited about. the pendulum swings back and I get to experience the disappointment of dashed expectations. It’s usually not a huge disappointment, but it is always a great lesson in appreciating things for being wonderful without ascribing a need for the wonderfulness to continue.
I get the value of consistency… it’s what made McDonalds famous, and I have to admit more than once while traveling I’ve been purely delighted to see a Starbucks, even though I rarely visit Starbucks. Knowing what you’re in for offers comfort.
But, I want to create and experience the evolution of life through me, so trying to replicate comfortable circumstances seems at cross purpose with my larger goal. Learning how to be open to a new intepretation of literally anything, this might provide a comfort with not knowing. Not knowing was an unfortunate condition to be remedied by the person I knew myself as prior to my illness. Not knowing has slowly and continuously become a mark of possibility, the idea I’m moving into new territory, something welcome and full of potential (instead of a mark of insufficiency – quite the trade-up).
Now I have the opportunity to take this learning (ironically about not knowing) and apply it to everything. Or better still, stop applying identifiers (that I expect to last) onto anything. Receiving life as dynamic (not just a rearrangement of yesterday) requires openness. Openness to the new. Even the new in what we think we already know.
I spent most of my life naming things, coming to understand things, putting bits of information into my memory to apply again and again at later times. Trying to know more, be more knowledgable, less surprised. I’ve never been much for material goods, but my ‘acquire, acquire, acquire” addiction was for knowledge. Knowledge that maybe was closing me off even whilst providing comfort.
The Tao Te Ching says (paraphrasing): The path of knowledge is adding something every day. The path of wisdom is releasing something every day. Thank heavens we can shift paths.