This process between heart and mind can be pretty messy. I have always struggled with uncertainty and have needed things to make sense. But I have been learning these past few years that things mostly do not make sense, that there isn’t always visible or easily detectable rhyme or reason. There is logic there however if we look deeper but it won’t stand out or fit easily into the perception of the world that we each create. It won’t always feel nice or comfortable either. Life isn’t fairytales, it doesn’t work out (mostly) the way in which we imagine it to. I have learned that courage is choosing to face and understand it anyway. When we are suffering we benefit most by feeling it so that we can then know times of joy when they arise. There is no answer or fairy godmother just realness in its rawest form. Each moment has the potential for learning.

The most precious quote about life I have heard was from the film Parenthood (1989)

[Gil has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.

Gil: Oh?

Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!

Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round that just goes around and around. It is nothing! I like the roller coaster you get more out of it.”

Coping mechanisms

We each find our way through our stories. I can’t help but wonder if we are truly living our lives though, being present, or are we forever wrapping ourselves up in some form of escapism?

Alcohol, sex, drugs, gambling, distractive habits, work and of course the existential ultimate….the seeking of (the fantasy as opposed to real) romanticism, the happy ever after. Trying our very best to not feel lonely (to feel something/ anything rather than lost, with grief or aching in loneliness), to jump from one moment into the next without really stopping to touch into the vulnerability that is us. To wipe away the pain in our souls, to create a different reality, denying or rejecting our pain. Not making friends with those darkest parts of ourselves, hiding from our rawness and seeking validation in another. Oh to be human, survival, whatever it takes to escape the uncomfortable and unwanted feelings of pain, loss and disappointment.

I have been taking much time in deep reflection and learning about my own tendencies and have taken the conscious decision to live in my heart more and more. This feels like a risk because I don’t know if my heart has wisdom I just have to trust that it does and that mistakes have and will be made and that is perfectly okay. That trying to live life entirely in reason is very stressful and built on and shaped by others’ opinions as opposed to born of my soul. It is strange paying attention in this way and not my personal norm, I have the tendency of being a perfectionist and an over thinker, getting preoccupied. These are strong traits that I am learning to let go of. I am noticing and learning to differentiate between heart, thought, instinct and compulsion. It is very subtle and I’m liable just as everyone is to flip between each. I am asking myself…what is wisdom? What does wisdom really mean? I am taking this time in life to sit beside pain, to paint with it, to sculpt with it, to talk about it and to as authentically as possible share my humanity within it.

In heart I experience less attachment to this or that, but rather there is full contentment for just what is. Not fighting away anything which feels bad, not chasing an escape. It is profound in a very subtle way. I have no idea where things will end up and for the first time this feels wonderfully liberating.

At times the mind grasps onto an arising thought and manifests a cascade of storm that usually leaves me on the floor. All born of my own thinking, lacking fact, attached to desire and my sense of ‘who I am’. In meditation, in the stepping back and looking at what is happening though there is a deep and profound beauty. It is art, breathtaking art in the making, both excruciatingly painful and astoundingly beautiful at the same time.

I have begun exploring this sense of ‘I am’ with the wider public and the answers so far have been vast and intriguing, it is quite a powerful question. I am feeling deeply touched. I am moved by other people’s stories, sense making, their pains, scars, wounds, joys, that which they love, their existential existence. I prefer the rawness and realness of people, the depth of understanding that arises when another person shares their truth is beautiful. I am not afraid of darkness or scars as I have met my own. Learning who people really are when the masks are off is such an honour and gift in this life. Such beautiful profound poignancy. The art that is life.


4 thoughts on “Existential Beauty

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