The last post was a kind of advance warning… though NOT in a predictable way.. which would be hopelessly boring. 🙂
Of all the neat things that Mark Twain has said, I find this the neatest:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
In a way, that’s what I wanted to talk about.
You might wonder where Fenced-in ties up. I was coming to that.
Fenced-in was about the way you let your fears restrict you into living a shadow of a life you could have lived. The fear of making mistakes holds you in its enthralling grip, draining you of a chance to create a spectacular life.
Naturally then, I began reviewing the biggest ‘mistakes’ I have made in my own life. I am using the word mistake because I have no other word for what I want to say. I use that word in the sense of: anything that causes you pain and thus, regret.
That review is the biggest favor I have done myself ever since I decided never to try to influence another person into doing what was convenient for me.
Once I had toted-up all my biggest floopers in the recent past, I sat looking at them (mentally, of course). I expected to get hit between the eyes with a soul-scalding regret. I expected the inner me to start honing the good ‘ol razor on a handy stone preparatory to slicing myself into little strips. I expected fire and brimstone and soul-deafening oratory. Contrary to my expectation… Zilch…!
It took me aback, that empty silence. I felt cheated, I don’t mind confessing. But these are the conclusion I was compelled to draw while I sat immersed in that silence:
There weren’t all that many mistakes, truth be told. Hardly any, as a matter of fact. That itself was a knock- me- down- with- a- feather moment for me. Up until that moment, I had thought my life resembled one of those nutty flavored Swiss cheeses riddled with holes. I wish I could tell you how fabulous it felt to know I was mistaken all along.
When I tried to re-live the time I was in the thick of the mistake, I realized that it was the time of my greatest learning. The biggest moments of still-upheaval happened at that time. I acquired insights, I grew a out of my false beliefs, I penetrated into life’s skin a few layers deeper. Yes, the time was accompanied with pain, more pain than was comfortable or desirable, but what of it? Though I am blessed with a total recall, I am fortunately hard-wired to tune-out the unsavory parts. It happens automatically. For something to scar me deeply enough to hurt me for many years, it has to be a horror in the scale of inhumanly intolerable. That, as we all know, happens rarely and certainly not on an individual scale. Whatever that pain was, however intolerable at that time, it hadn’t managed to make a deep enough impact on me. The passage of time had managed to fill up the minor dent it had created in my emotional territory. It didn’t kill me. One of the most used catch-phrases of current times is: Adversity that doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. In other words, these mistakes had only made me stronger.
Another conclusion I was compelled to draw was that my most recent mistake had given me the most vibrantly ALIVE moments of my life. No matter what the fall out, no matter what the consequences, no matter what the magnitude of the subsequent pain of loss, there is no way I would wish that particular mistake wiped from my slate. That one mistake alone justifies the existence of the slate and that will never change, I know.
This is the distance I had traveled on my own. Having reached where I did, I realized that I could no longer use the word mistake in describing the pain producing events in my life. A lifetime ago a dear friend had said, “We see the hurt but not the healing. Healing always accompanies hurt.”
In a way I guess I was ready for what happened next.
Perfectly on cue, the benevolent universe engaged a few gears and made a few shifts happen so that I could see further ahead.
One of my dearest online friends who calls herself Square-Peg Karen, shared a link on her Facebook Wall. It was a link called Words and took me to a blog post where I saw the rest of the road open out for me.
What the blogger Andrea Maurer had called Default Position, I had for years called it: what you are to yourself when you are completely alone in a silent and empty place in your soul. Her definition is so much more accurate and crisp. As I read the post and the comments, I was impressed at the courage with which every person had been transparently authentic and true about their inner most fears. I couldn’t leave the page until I wrote down what MY default position had been for years. Once that was written out in black and white (you can look for my comment on the post, if you want to read what my default position is), I also had to come up with a word or phrase which will define what 2012 will be for me.
On Andrea’s blog, the word I gave was Joy. Later though, I realized that this word was not really the one I wanted.
I wanted a word/phrase that will lucidly state my guiding principle for 2012. A word/ phrase that will- with true authenticity and transparency- reflect the quality of my spirit. I reminded myself how my paradigm had always been avoiding a mess (that’s dealt with in Fenced-in ). I told myself categorically that I will change my paradigm for 2012 and let life flow into me and fill my heart.
This year, I will go out on the limb. I will stop trying to protect myself from pain… which is futile anyhow. You always manage to catch your quota, one way or the other. Or maybe IT catches you. Trying to dodge it isn’t any earthy use whatsoever, so one might as well enjoy the ride and stop throwing out the baby with the bath-water. 🙂
A long time ago I read about a concept called ‘pushing the envelope’ which means: To attempt to extend the current limits of performance. To innovate, or go beyond commonly accepted boundaries.
An envelope is that which envelops. The phrase has something in common with the phrase beyond the pale’. Inside the pale you were safe; outside, at risk.
In aviation and aeronautics the term ‘flight envelope’ had been in use since WWII. In the context of aviation industry, the envelope is the description of the upper and lower limits of the various factors that it is safe to fly at, i.e. speed, engine power, maneuverability, wind speed, altitude etc. By ‘pushing the envelope’, i.e. testing those limits, test pilots were able to determine just how far it was safe to go. By 1978 the phrase was in use in print. The following year, Tom Wolfe used the phrase in his book about the space programme – The Right Stuff, and it went from a piece of specialist technical jargon into the general language.
This year I will Push the Envelope.
Welcome 2012..! Lets see what you have on me..!
Happy New Year, dear reader…!
Note to stakeholders: Tighten your seat belts, there might be some jolts. I hope you will not let them unseat you and will learn how to deal with them. I need you to, really I do.