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Yosh Ginsu, Unsplash

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it…Make it your ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life. — Eckhart Tolle

Each life involves an essential errand; not simply the task of survival, but a life-mission imbedded in the soul from the beginning. — Michael Meade

It was survival. I was learning to create a life of “work and love” to quote Freud. But what was the overriding emotion, threat? From what?

Was it a search for meaning, beauty? Could those things satisfy my unnamed hunger?

Making a life and having a life are two different things. Having a beautiful life is empty. Only making it satisfies, for me at least. Having the confidence to create beauty is irreplaceable. I always had a personal need for beauty and larger meaning.

But that was a personal project. As I’ve aged, I’ve begun to feel more concerned with the fate of the world than my own little life.

I recently came across these lines written years ago that show me I have always had an eye toward the fate of the Earth and its denizens:

In France I stopped feeling invisible, so it was a shock to return to my native land and resume my existence as a ghost. The US is not my place and never has been. It’s an extroverted practical minded culture. It tends to wear me down.

Not that it wasn’t difficult, moving to France. It was blood, sweat and tears, softened eventually by our epicurean life, but plenty of barked shins on the way out forty years later. Looking back, it’s obvious that the real work was on character, on maturing, on relationship building and making art. It was building self respect. There actually was a kind of heroism at play. It was a big challenge.

But then the Universe said, very unceremoniously “next!” No resting on laurels for us.

Now, after thrashing about, a couple of little strokes, a bankruptcy, an unexpected confinement to a small life, there’s a new challenge. We have begun to build anew, like little beavers whose dam has been swept away by flood. We can’t help it. It’s in the DNA.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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