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Medieval retreat in Greece

Becoming more of who I am often seems to start with some kind of growing down, a fortunate fall (that didn’t seem that fortunate at the time). It can feel more like a descent, and being stripped away of more of my false wrappings(which I wouldn’t have minded keeping). It ls like becoming naked (and even more transparent to myself), which is sometimes frightening. But entering into a ‘deepening’ like that can take us down into something more true about ourselves and what really calls us (and our common human and spiritual struggle), which somehow makes me feel more connected to humanity. — Jon Wilson

To Maslow, “transcenders” are regularly motivated by values and experiences that go beyond the satisfaction of basic needs and the fulfillment of one’s unique potential. These “metamotivations” include a devotion to a calling outside oneself, a seeking of “peak experiences”, and a commitment to the values of Being, or the “B-values”, including truth, goodness, beauty, justice, meaningfulness, playfulness, aliveness, excellence, simplicity, elegance, and wholeness — as ultimate goals in themselves. — Scott Barry Kaufman

There really are mistakes in life. Some people say, “There are no mistakes,” and I get it — you don’t want to lose yourself in regret. But you’ll never get back to your heart if you think all paths lead to the same goal. (If you’ve ever been hiking, you know that isn’t true.) It’s good to be gentle with yourself, but you also have to cultivate what the Buddha called samvega: a sense of urgency and dismay about how you’re living..” David Houston

#mistakes #samvega #buddha #tseliot #meditation #mindfulness #love

Invoked or uninvoked, our authentic spiritual guides will appear. — Robert Moss

I took all my falls in stride until the last one. I had a lot invested in that life, that self. I had status and possessions, mostly unearned, although I worked hard to fall upward into that impressive lifestyle in the French countryside. I used inherited money to convert a giant hulking old house into a gorgeous silk purse. It went from the untouchable category to sought-after destination for the affluent.

And then, pow, I was knocked off my perch. It was one damned thing after another until it was wrenched out of my hands. Two strokes, bankruptcy, wandering, confused, I was disoriented and suddenly physically weaker than I had ever been, just as age was beginning to assert itself. I was seventy-five, but still, it caught me by surprise. I’ve never believed in age, for me at least. I’ve always felt young, so I was surprised by it.

I regretted what I lost. I was very attached to it all, the painting studio, the personal workout room, the big comfortable beds, the French food and wine, my library — all that and more. Saying goodbye to the back garden, where we had evening drinks and watched the sun go down while the cats wrestled in the grass was hard.

It was not easy to give up our friends and social life there. It was hard for me to stop thinking in French. I discovered how much I felt at home in that language and culture and how out of touch I was with my American roots.

The adjustment was more than just financial, it was everything. I couldn’t afford to paint anymore so I started writing. It took me several years to reestablish an exercise routine. I began to read on a device instead of physical books. I learned how to live in small spaces again. We eat very differently from how we ate in France. We no longer drink wine. Since we eat in a more Mexican style, we drink Mexican beer and tequila. The list of changes is infinite, and in the beginning not really a way of life we would have chosen.

But, strangely enough, this traumatic upheaval has opened a better path for us. It’s creative in a different way, and it’s also a process of learning, of finding beauty. The chaos of the first few years after “the fall” has given way to a beautiful simplicity. I discovered a voice and a vision that must have been waiting for many years. Taking away the theater set of that old life has somehow given that inner voice an opportunity to speak.

Stripping away accumulated possessions and privilege is not something I would have volunteered for. I liked that life. I still miss certain parts of it. But I must admit that I somehow feel more real now, more myself. I didn’t know I was wearing a costume and playing a part that separated me from something that was more essential to my growth in this lifetime.

Shedding a skin and reemerging into the world as a different, larger self is a mystery. I don’t know how it happens in spite of all our defenses against it. I can only think that built-in life forces know how and when it must happen. I put my hands together and give thanks to this intelligence. We are guided and blessed by a mystery.

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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