Lessons learned

I should make this a regular feature – it used to be, in my old blog. Not an official one; it’s just that I seem to keep learning lessons. Then again, isn’t that what life’s all about, continually learning, improving, striving for more – more understanding, more awareness, more happiness? At least in my world it is. I’m always trying to do better, to not make the same mistakes, to make life easier by stumbling less.

Yesterday I was reminded, once again, that hope hurts. Hope stretches out things past their natural end. Hoping things will change, or go back to the way they used to be, is poison because it keeps you in limbo. Until you stop hoping that something will happen, you can’t allow something else to happen. I have a quote on my desk by Joseph Campbell that says, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

I keep trying to think of an example where hoping for something can be positive, but so far, no luck. Hoping to win the lottery. Hoping to lose 50 pounds. Hoping to live by the beach. I think it’s the nature of hope that it ISN’T realistic, nor is it active. It reeks of waiting for someone else, or something else, to make something happen that most likely won’t. There’s no control in hope. There’s just sitting and – well, and hoping.

My oh-so-wise friend Charlie reminded me that you can’t allow someone else to control your happiness. That you must be responsible for your own feelings. By letting others affect who and what you are, you lose sight of – well, who and what you are. You have to focus on what you want and need, and how you can get there, and not let others “make” you feel one way or the other. (Yes, I already knew that, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded every now and then.)

It’s the Pisces (and the writer) in me that keeps dreaming, keeps hoping, keeps creating worlds as I think they should be, rather than as they really are. And it’s the control freak in me that thinks I can – and should – be responsible for everything that happens to me. AND the perfectionist in me that thinks I can – and must – do everything right (whatever that is). And yes, it gets pretty crowded in here…

I need to be easier on myself. I am truly my own worst enemy. I will analyze myself into a frenzy, trying to understand something, to figure out how I could have done it better. I had this discussion with another friend recently, how I knitted a very complex sweater, but instead of appreciating what I had accomplished, I pointed out the one stitch that I missed under the left arm. When someone compliments me, I’m quick to point out a flaw instead of gracefully accepting the compliment.

There are things we can’t change. There are things we can’t control. Sometimes things just happen, whether we want them to or not. We have to accept it, and keep on keeping on. We don’t always have to understand why. We don’t have to analyze it to death, trying to figure out how we could have made it turn out differently. Some things just aren’t our fault, and no matter how much we tried, weren’t going to turn out like we wanted them to.

Anyway, tomorrow’s another day. Apparently I told Rza that tomorrow is another today, which is pretty doggone wise of me. But it’s true. Just do it today. Tomorrow, you get another today. Today I will be nicer to myself. Today I won’t try to figure out how I could have made things come out differently. Today I will look ahead instead of back – or inside. Today I won’t analyze, won’t chastise, won’t question. Won’t hope. Instead, I’ll act. I’ll plan. And I’ll trust that everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be. Desiderata: No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

But today – THIS today – I’m a little lost, a little bruised. I thought that writing this might help, but so far it hasn’t. Maybe it will tomorrow, when I can read it again, and see the wisdom in it, and have the strength to forge ahead. Today, I just know that hope has, once again, let me down.

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8 Responses to Lessons learned

  1. What an interesting conundrum you have captured. You’re right- hurt does hope and it can weigh you down. It can keep you dreaming instead of moving. It can cloud the obvious and contaminate the truth. But it can also inspire and motivate. With the Newtown shootings right in my backyard, I spent the last month-plus looking at the world through a lens of that very same hope. Hope that others will not die a senseless way-too-young death. Hope that as a country we can come to some understanding about guns and their dangers. Hope that the sun will rise again and reveal a better, kinder day.

    So what is hope then? An ally or an adversary? Maybe it’s just the courage to keep exploring.

    • Beth says:

      I like the view of it being inspiring and courageous. I think it’s all perspective. Isn’t there a saying about how hope is vital to life, or something like that? I just need to learn to balance hope and dreams with reality. I’ll work on that tomorrow…. xo

  2. Brancy says:

    Why do I get the feeling whenever you post something as vague as this, there’s a guy involved? = )

    • Beth says:

      I’m not sure, Brancy. That’s not always the case. Sometimes I just ponder because the subject interests me. I never post specific things when I’m pondering. Specifics don’t leave room for you to apply it to your own life… 🙂 And isn’t that what this is all about?

      • Brancy says:

        I see your point! I am a far more selfish blogger! I just write all about me and whatever is cruising through my mind at the moment. If someone gleans something from what I said, good for them, but it’s never intentional. May be why I have very few followers! = )

  3. Julie says:

    Good pondering, Beth! There is a lot of wisdom in this writing. Sorry it is coming from that down side we experience. We need to stay active, mentally and physically. That keeps us living and focusing on life.

  4. Julie says:

    Oops! Just heard Dan in my head when I re-read your title! 😉 “Lessons learned are like bridges burned, we only need to cross them but once. Is the knowledge gained, worth the price of the pain?” But, often we have to go back over the bridges, because the path depends not just on us, our actions… but on others, and their actions/responses. If you go over the bridge once with someone, and it burns, there is a chance that the next bridge may stand strong with someone else, depending on the actions/responses of that person. OK, now I am pondering ! 🙂

    • Beth says:

      I forgot his song, Julie! It’s a wise person who only has to cross that bridge once. Some of us seem to wear a path across some bridges! But you’re right, the bridge might change, depending on who you’re crossing it with, either literally or figuratively. Maybe I need to post about bridges. 🙂 Thanks for your ever-wise comments!

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