Some of the more inspiring and treasured gifts of advancing years is that vast hoard of memories, hind sight, trial and error, hard won lessons, the incalculably valuable treasure trove of a lived life.
Choosing a new path for my life is pretty damned simple, a life times experience offers very firm directions.
Beginning at the top, the single outstanding gift that life has taught me is simple, loving kindness. There is nothing that has a more powerful life changing and affirming effect than that. It’s a simple , look no further issue. I have been blessed by kindness, unlooked for and unexpected all my life, such that with hindsight I see I’ve had a charmed existence. Make no mistake the pain and suffering were brutal and real, its what slowly and inexorably transformed them that matters. There is simply nothing else that has shaped me more exquisitely than kindness. As a youth worker I learnt the transformative power of acts of kindness in lives blighted in the desert of its absence. If you want to see fury and rage, resistance and tenuous trust and eventual surrender, just touch a blighted life with the power of kindness for the very first time. Even and especially when you want to run for your life. Its epic. Hold!
Watch Kate Tempest perform ‘Hold Your Own’ at Glastonbury , the response is riveting and incredible, but there’s a glimpse of one woman who cannot hold back her sobbing. It is such a joyous, incredibly powerful poem performed by a mistress of her craft.
You know, I have some planning to do for the Chautauqua ahead. I shall travel light, there’ll be my new treasured gift to myself, my guitar, a song list and loving kindness. What more could I possibly need other than sustenance on the road and a place to sleep each night.
It will be the greatest adventure of my life to surrender to the unknown, the road, the company and joy.
Many years ago, in my years of torment an old feller came up to me and said, “You will know joy,” and walked away. It was such an absurd thing to say to a broken cripple, I just put in the back cupboard. I often sensed it there, but I knew there was entirely no point troubling it, it simply awaited its own time or not. It really had nothing to do with me.
To have so recently graduated into that life, that joy, after an epic journey, is exquisite. I had no idea what joy was, how it would feel, how it would touch me. Unlike happiness, which rises and falls in times and moments, joy is a bedrock, as sure and enduring as the bones of the earth.
It isn’t that I deserve joy or lucked out, joy is the reward of the journey, the earnings of a seeker, even if I had no clue what I was seeking, I always followed the intensity of hunger, through rain and shine, addiction and despair, blindness and rage. I was very, very hungry.
And here’s the thing in life, like calls to like. It’s immutable. As I prepare for Life after chemo, I go to meet the holy seekers in life, be that in the meanest hovel , cast in a (bastard Boris) ditch or highest castle. That compass never fails. Be true, nothing else matters.
KOG. 03 August 2020.