Archive for Sapience

On Letting Go, Part XI: Blame and Excuses

Posted in adversity, Letting Go, LONGREAD, Sapience, Sentience with tags on October 10, 2015 by dreamlanddancing

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

 

 

 

 

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