Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dadburn Mountains, Horizons and Never Arriving

Yeah, I know I just put this "thang" up in yesterday's post! The message is still very important to me, but there was a nagging problem with it. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was bugging me. After reading this essay (go read it, I love it, isn't it the most beautiful thing?), I was able to do a better job of figuring out what it was about my words that sort of bothered me.  

The problem for me is the words “you are being made whole.” They imply that there is a place to which I will arrive which will be better than where (or who) I am now and when I have arrived there, I will be something, which to me equals something like this: if I am now broken and then eventually made whole, then I am worthy. But if I am presently broken, then I must now be an old piece of crap.

When I read, “I will not get to the mountains. I’ve been told as much, but you can’t swallow this kind of knowledge until you have some perspective,” I thought of a friend who often reminds me that we never truly arrive. And just now, in writing this, I am also reminded of my favorite quote from photographer W. Eugene Smith, “Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.” All of these messages are hard words for me to swallow.

Oh how I have complained about always being on the threshold. How hard I have worked at trying to figure out how to arrive faster so that I can finally let go and sit down and quit struggling! And yet, here is the “why” of why I can’t put too much stock in my “message” that “though I am broken, I am being made whole.” If I am spending too much time looking forward to being made whole, then I am not spending enough time looking at the ground that is beneath my feet right now. It is as he says, “If you can’t reach the mountains, you might as well get to know the trail.” And if I am not aware of the ground that I am presently standing on, I am not living, I am wasting my travels.

Wow. Just think, if one can accept that you will not reach the mountains, or that you will not arrive, or that there will be another horizon, one can quit struggling so hard. Whoa. That is a whole 'nother level of enlightenment for me! I'll have to think some more on that one!

(I've written before about Eugene Smith's quote and what it means to me, griped about never "arriving," about always having another horizon. Check it out if you are interested: Blooming Late, It's Better Than Not Blooming At All and Walking To Paradise Garden, One Day at a Time. What a blast from the past!)


  1. I read that essay yesterday, too and was astounded by how simple and beautiful it was. You make an excellent point about always striving to get SOMEwhere and as opposed to just living where you are.

    I like living - right here, right now. It doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to something better, but I appreciate what I have now.

  2. Rach, yeah, that is what I have to do, get better at living now, and not waiting for things to get better(of course, there is always the possibility that things won't get better, but still, I guess it's the same principle, live as well as you can where you are).

  3. Love this perspective. I think it comes with age, too. One of the reasons I enjoyed that STORY thing in Chicago last week so much is that I was intentional about just BEING THERE. I wasn't concerned with what I would learn and bring back. I just soaked up the moments in every hour.

    Last night, one of my bosses said, "So what was the takeaway from the conference? What did you learn?" When I told him that it was more a refreshing EXPERIENCE than a brain dump of knowledge, and that it was a wonderful EXPERIENCE, he looked at me like I was nuts.

    That's the truth, isn't it? If we just EXPERIENCE life, sometimes we seem nuts....but the joy is in the moment.

    Ann Voskamp (blogger writer extraordinare) spoke at this thing. She said LIFE IS NOT AN EMERGENCY. Boy, did it resonate.

    Comment hijack...sorry....encouraging you on your journey. Every step matters and means something, but it ain't just the means to an end.

  4. I used to lay in bed ANTICIPATING some kind of day when things would happen to me. I'd have enough money, or be NOT-depressed, or have by degree and life would begin. I was not experiencing any life at the time. What changed was when I started helping other people for who experiencing life was a real adventure. Not focusing on myself was the only thing that tore me away from focusing on my self's future and all its

    Now, I am so expert at not looking ahead that I have forgotten to really plan how to live life after school. I really have done nothing to apply to PhD programs or get a job. I need some kind of happy medium where one eye is on the road and one is on the mountain, and a third eye to scan for rest stops and gas stations.

  5. The word after "and all its" in the next to last paragraph is supposed to be "grandification." I guess the html does not allow for italics.

  6. The essay left me speechless and pondering the whole thing.... and coming from him where he is in his life right now.
    I agree with Rach. Staying in the present. I agree with Beth, experience and life is NOT an emergency.
    And I agree with Cyn on the third eye perspective.
    It's perspective. This is what HE sees from where is was at that very moment. Not you. not me, not us.
    Makes us think... absolutely..... I think it's incredible to sit and dissect that with a fine scalpel and love every word.
    Unattainable? Never. Because we like our landscape changes.

  7. Thanks, y'all. I am learning so many things lately about life. . .


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