What have I learned in life? Your gut will tell you a lot. It will help you make decisions about half the time and the other half – well, you’ll have to take your best guess. Using common sense is useful too. And I know for sure that leaning on your strengths will make your life more fulfilled, whether you feel inclined to knit, teach kids, play tennis, dabble with technology, or whatever.
And, most of us, at some point, will face a challenging cycle. I can’t tell you what it will be: money, a broken heart, health, personal loss, an uphill career climb, etc. It will call you to find your inner warrior, persistence, and the moral fiber to move forward, one step at a time, in a way that pushes you beyond what you thought you could do.
I endured a few phases like this when I had no clue what to do. When my parents died, my house plummeted into foreclosure, and a harrowing divorce occurred. I found myself reaching down inside for some kind of life raft or resource of energy. What I found in my heart were my values and an ability to identify and communicate my intention and wishes. The process took several years and almost killed me, but I found goodness and help in places unexpected. My community, a bank employee, and mediators all supported me, in the end.
There will also be exuberant times, wonders, and terrible political shocks. And for me, there was the amazing ‘60s decade which brought unprecedented joy, a different kind of rocking… rock and roll.
In life, I have found that there are unexpected miracles, like being gifted with precious love – good news or excitement from around a surprising corner. Looking back, there were moments of ecstasy, like when a funny friend stopped by with a tiny white kitty and whispered: “Here’s your new pussy.” That little ball of fluff became humongous. Freud made me happy every day.
If I have learned anything about life, it’s to be like a bouncing ball. Stay resilient. Life can be off the wall, side-splitting fun, full of daffy interactions, deep connections, with puzzles to ponder, requiring discipline, meaningful work, or loss.
Finally, I have seen how support can shift lives towards more satisfaction. Finding help can sustain you. Reaching out, no matter whether it’s your minister, your neighbor, or your bookkeeper can shift a hollow day to contentment or giggling glee in the twinkle of an eye.
I’ve supported individuals and couples in counseling sessions too who learn to mend wounds by understanding themselves and each other. They become better listeners and more whole, while reflecting on legacies left to them from generations before, branding them with fears, hurt, and longing. No matter what our perspective – we have history in our bones.
As my mother once wrote in a poem to me, Note to My Daughter:
“If I knew the answers
(Or, indeed, the questions)
To the worldly riddle
I would tell you all.
As it is, I’ll just say
Try to keep your nose clean, eat right, brush your teeth, and
Watch the bouncing ball.”