“…the human capacity for achieving new meaning is linked to our capacity to let life make a fool of us. If we can look into the mirror and recognise the fool, if we can unflinchingly assert that the fool is satisfied, if we can welcome the uninvited guest of ourselves at any moment, even when taken unawares, then there is a possibility that the diamonds are real, the prize genuine, the glitter gold.” ~ Mark Patrick Hederman
Sometimes life slays you. Rejection after rejection, both personal and professional, betrayals, unexpected deaths, bad news from family or friends… and then there’s all the world’s problems as well. There are times when circumstances, often out of your control, just grind you into the ground. What can you do? The short answer includes prayer, meditation, time with people who love you, being exceedingly kind to yourself, therapy where applicable. And then you keep going.
I live in Los Angeles and needed a change of scenery without time for a vacation. It’s been ages since I went to the mountains – the beach is where I grew up and my usual go-to. A trip to the local mountains seemed to be in order. Life’s been challenging on many levels lately and I needed clarity, fresh vision, refreshment generally, and revelation would be nice as well. I drove up to Big Bear Lake for the day and returned with all of those things without explanation as to how they arrived except that I emptied myself. I took deep breaths of alpine air, opened my arms to the sky and waited for the divine hug.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. ~ William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, Act 5 scene 1
These are the times that break us open into truly being artists. We change through pain. We surrender. We begin to understand that there may be purposes to suffering beyond our comprehension. We take those wounds into our work, transforming them, sometimes transcending them.
I’ve had acting and writing teachers use Samuel Beckett’s last lines of The Unnamable in teaching three act structure:
You must go on.
I can’t go on.
I’ll go on.
Let life make a fool of you and go on.