On Letting Go, Part XI: Blame and Excuses

We judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions.

How many people do you know who would describe themselves as satisfied in terms of their lives?

The paradigm that seems to drive many people’s lives is “One’s grasp should exceed their reach.”

I am no stranger to the concept, but I have seriously marred some of the best stages or phases of my life due to my inability to remember to smell the roses while I am still in the garden.

No matter what I am in the midst of doing or trying to achieve, I am infused with this sense of Angst and Frustration because I find it very difficult to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done…because it will never be quite perfectly executed….and because there’s always more….

I have a way of focusing too much attention on some real or perceived hidden flaw or imperfection in my work, or the tapestry of my life as a film noire.

For as long as I can remember, it has been my artistic expressions, whether in Music, Art. Photography, Film, Video, Multi-Media, or Writing that have been the driving force in my life, my purpose…my raison d’être.

 

To me, the activities of daily living are more like watching the Dead doing the St. Vitus Dance to waves of endorphins and polypeptides.

My Love and Sex lives reflect the same preoccupation with artistic, philosophical and creative expression…(needless to say, often to the chagrin of those who aspire to love and understand me).

My attention seems forever drawn to what could be somewhere over the next hill.

Yet years later it will seem like a grand romantic adventure to which I wish I could return…so why am I so unhappy?

Many years ago, a very dear lifetime friend said “I sometimes think that even on the clearest and most perfect days, your attention will be drawn to a dark cloud off on the horizon, saying ‘…eventually, we are going to have to deal with that…’ “.

At the time, I took it as a compliment to my foresight and vision.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that she was lamenting on how I could ruin a moment of bliss with pessimism and negativity.

I have known her almost all of my adult life. We started as lovers but her lifelong friendship is unique to my life experiences with the exception of my wife. Only one other female relationship (or marriage) has ever lasted for more than six years.

She is the most successful person I know, and seems to possess a quiet satisfaction that I envy, despite the fact that she is no stranger to tragedy or disappointment.

…But back to the original point.

Several decades ago, I found myself proclaiming that I felt that it was time to get serious about my life and make something of myself, and perhaps achieve the satisfaction of artistic and financial success, a vow I seem to be compelled to renew every few years.

Money comes, money goes; jobs come and jobs go, but the work of one’s life remains. For me, my Art is my Life.

With the exception of my current compulsion for writing, my creative life has been in a flat spiral ever since I became preoccupied by some measure of financial security (which was almost completely fear-based). It has left me broke and nearly despondent at times.

(Just as it seems as if the digressions will never end, the snake bites its own tail…the Uroburos returns….)

Although I have been frequently led astray by others, and distracted from my real or imagined goals and dreams, their part in the failed processes was minor, compared to my own incredibly bad judgment.

There is a word for sound judgment, and it is referred to as Sapience. It is the cognate from which the term homo sapiens is derived.

Without it, we are just a bunch of Talking Monkeys, and I am their spokesperson.

Whenever I find myself beset by “…a sea of troubles…” and contemplating how to “…put an end to them…”, I meditate.

This last time around, my focus was on “Who am I?…”Who is asking this question?”

I am the one who is tired of singing only torch songs.

I am the one who is tired of settling for less.

I am the one who is tired of doing things I do not love to do.

I am the one who is tired of withholding my candor to simply keep the peace I never seem to find anyway.

I am the one who is tired of not being myself, or not trusting the results of my own actions to take me where they will. Better to die gloriously in battle, roaring like a lion than to be led whimpering like a lamb to slaughter.

I am the one who vows to embrace the results.

If I blame anyone else for the dissatisfaction I feel, I am once again relinquishing control over my life. It is only in accepting responsibility for my present condition that I can exercise some degree of self-determination.

Excuse-mongering and blame are like a co-dependent dysfunctional couple who never seem to be able to stop making excuses for themselves and blaming each other for their own misery.

Next time you feel defensive and find yourself declaring that something was not your fault, better think again….

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, charted by unrealistic expectations and lined with lame excuses.

The I in Failure comes well before the U.

Of course it is always your own fault ultimately, whether it be a failed marriage, a career, or your dreams, but there are so many factors (aside from poor judgment) beyond your control from which there is No Escape that we might as well learn as early as possible to view our lives with enough Loving-Kindness and Acceptance to learn from our mistakes and move on to make new mistakes as we learn to forgive so we can forgive to learn.

However…when I was a rescue paramedic, more than once I heard statements like:

“There I was, just standing there minding my own business (in a bar, or on a street corner in Ft. Lauderdale or Key West)…and from out of nowhere, this guy comes up and….”

or:

“I was trying to reach the top shelf, but the chair wasn’t quite high enough, so I stacked a couple telephone books on top of each other and suddenly…”

or:

“No I dont want to press charges…he was just drunk…I know he loves me and he’s the father of two of my children, and I got no place else to go…it was my fault for nagging him about losing his job…” (for being drunk) “…and I don’t work…because…and….”

Who hasn’t heard: “I just have so much love to give…I can’t understand why I am so alone.”

(Much of it is not beyond our control.)

I’ve heard it said that at least seventy-five per cent of what happens to us is random; whether you were born a Kennedy or an orphan in Calcutta is beyond your control, but it is what you do with the other twenty-five per cent that determines what will become of each of us.

I have a strong suspicion that it is our past and present Karma that determines the first seventy-five per cent. We just don’t recognize the connection.

The dog chases the bone.

It is said that the elephant is the only animal that can remember all of his past lives, and stands alone contemplating his Karma.

There are no good excuses, and blame is what distracts us from that realization. It is the difference between fault-finding and trouble-shooting.

The sooner you learn to forgive yourself, the easier it is to forgive others and accept responsibility for your life and your condition.

You don’t have to be kind, but you don’t have to be cruel either.

Just be real.

 

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

10/09/2015

 

 

 

 

19 Responses to “On Letting Go, Part XI: Blame and Excuses”

  1. You just told the story of my life. This could be my own post in so many ways. Profound, sad, true. All of it.

    • I was touched by your reply. It was not a happy story, at least initially, but I hoped there was a certain universality to it.
      On one level, I would offer my condolences, but anytime someone can realize the truth about themselves is never too late. It is the pearl of great price.
      Thanks.
      Namasté
      नमस्ते
      Chazz Vincent

      • No it’s not a happy story but where there is growth and expansion then it’s worth it. It took a long time for me to learn to take responsibility for my life and decisions and stop feeling powerless. Painful lessons but necessary. I enjoy reading your perspectives on life.

  2. Sapience. I like this world.

    Much of humanity never matures beyond their limbic center; lack of development of the frontal lobe – whether due to nature, nurture, or simply no motivation to grow the fuck up – is what keeps people in continual emotional adolescence. The ability to make good decisionse is requires the development of logic and reason and empathy, which are the last skills a human acquires.

    I have a unique profession and I find myself in some interesting places as a result. Ever been to an anger management class? I had occasion to visit one yesterday. Blame and Denial of Responsibility (refusal to *accept* responsibility) were the traits most evident, prominently displayed in the attitudes and {lack of} communication skills of those present: adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, acting with all the forethought of teenagers with no impulse control, and REacting on primal imprinting.

    Scary.

    But good decision making, like any other skill, can be learned. The thing is, if it is not developed in the natural continuum, its application will only be successful when other behaviors are UNlearned.

    • *word
      I like this WORD. Not world.

      :: laugh ::

      The world isn’t so bad either, I suppose… 😛

    • Mrs. F…Yes. You understand…each of the essays “On Letting go…” assumes that the motivation for the individual essays are related in terms of replacing undesirable behaviors with more desirable behaviors by way of making conscious choices…in the spirit of the eternally questioning mind.
      With just the right set of eyes, one can see how life teaches us that what we were doing isn’t working, but it is hard to reject programming so strong you might think it was hardwired.
      It all a matter of choices.
      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comments.
      What do you do? Now I’m really intrigued….

  3. Much to think about here, as I sort through the debris of an impending divorce.

  4. This is always the place I end up in, when contemplating my life’s choices. I don’t have the eloquence you have but I can show you around blindfolded. If we don’t examine our own belief systems, how can we truly know ourselves? If we don’t take responsibility for our circumstances, how authentic can our decisions be? If we don’t try to know ourselves down to our marrow, how can we grow hardily toward the sun and bloom?
    In the last five years or so I have been consciously living in the present rather than looking to the dark clouds on the horizon as you spoke about. Stopping the weighing of present and future is accomplished easily if I live in the moment and I do choose that when I’m conscious of my scale in motion.
    I do wonder why I have this compulsion to understand but that’s not important so I don’t dwell on it. The only thing I THINK I know is that I want to know what is at the core of things – love, life, people’s hearts, me and in doing so, I feel a realness in life itself. It’s a clean way to live…and die. I fear dying with baggage that I ignored when I know I shouldn’t have. I think you’ll understand that “I want to die clean.” I think that these things you talked about are tools or habits to live cleanly. Ironically, to me, it’s a messy way to live because I’m always rocking the boat.
    In Mayan astrology, I am a flint. The tool of change – tool – I have been that in others’ minds. : ) Check out what you are for the fun of it here.
    http://www.mymayansign.com/
    xo, J

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