Saturday, March 28, 2009

Somewhere in the middle



"Always" and "never" are words I use less and less as I advance through middle age, a Very Good Thing, I think. Both words, especially when said vociferously (and really how else would you ever use them except with great passion?) point to a very fragile thought form. There's something about "always" and "never" that seems like it would create stability, safety, I wonder where that comes from? Because both of those ideas create the narrowest mental pathway imaginable. There's no wiggle room in "always" or "never." That way of thinking is a precipice, land's end, a dead end.

Cultivating certain qualities, like trust and compassion, opening to faith, wrestling with tendencies such as the habit of being afraid all the time, helps to ease the choke hold of a mind that wants "always" and "never."

It's not like I haven't worked to expand my capacity for trust and faith, but in some way, the lessening of my need for absolutes is something that has organically developed over time.

I feel lucky this morning for the rewards of having spent fifty-six years on the planet. Life is good, even if that face in the mirror looks much older than I think it should, and I am grateful. Happy weekend, ya'all.

26 comments:

kathi said...

I actually cling to the words "always" and "never." I need absolutes in my ever changing life. My faith has been the one absolute that has carried me on the roller coaster of life. I can't take any credit for this either. It is a gift bestowed upon my most unworthy self. The longer I am blessed to live, the more I treasure the fact that I will ALWAYS have my faith and that it can NEVER be taken away.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Kathi, for you perspective. Really, thank you.

So - you've never had a crisis of faith? I have them regularly (think of that story about Joseph wrestling with the Angel ... is it Joseph?) I've ALWAYS thought that crises of faith were part of the life of the spirit. Maybe I NEVER encountered anyone who has perfect faith.

Thank you so much for dislodging another ALWAYS/NEVER thought form!

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Ditto for things being black & white. I tend not to think in absolutes either. We all need some "wiggle" room. Many times things are not what they seem.
And Jacob wrestled with the Angel...
Lizzy

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

I love the "dial it down" note on your sidebar. But I have to say that I'm always on the lookout for something great to read and want never to stop learning new things.

Reya Mellicker said...

Maybe I shouldn't ALWAYS say that I should NEVER think in absolutes! Thanks, Meri.

Mrs. E said...

I tend to use never and always more than I should. Hyperbole and sarcasm are my native languages. I'm a little more Type A than I would like to be. I think that is why I keep coming back to your blog, Reya. I like your perspective. (Oh, and your photography isn't bad either!! ha!)

JOY said...

I think the less absolutes in my life, the more I am open to possibility. I walk down the middle of the road constantly trying on the shoes of the other side to see if I understand or am missing something or can enhance myself. Generalizations can limit the openness to change.

Even when it comes to faith, I sometimes have to work at it and other times it just naturally flows through me. Life is an evolving journey!

Happy Lookin' Up Reya!

California Girl said...

Hi Reya: off the subject do you get out every single morning, usually, to take your photos?

as for saying always and never, well, the older we get the less we know, right? silly to give absolutes to much of anything except God.

Happy day!

Reya Mellicker said...

I ALWAYS go for a walk in the morning, because I have a dog.

I ALWAYS have my camera with me.

Sheesh ... there goes the theory behind today's post. Oh well.

deborah said...

For me it is the same security provided by 'fundamentalist' religion where everything is spelled out, there is good and there is bad--no nuance, no judgment calls.

It also, of course, removes from the conversation any shades of gray and any free will--you join up and then everything is set for you.

I understand the appeal--and see the pitfalls almost every day here in the Bible belt.

I get it and am grateful for you.

kathi said...

Yes Reya, I have had crisis of faith. Times when I question what is true and what is fiction.
Times when I felt so empty that I was ready to end my life as it was. Times when I doubted and times when I was lost and lonely.
These, however, are the times when my faith is not only challenged but eventually renewed. Like the sun that comes up in the morning and sets every night. There is peace knowing that no matter what happens around me, some things are never going to change...

Lamar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrea said...

"Always" and "never" - one of the first things I was taught in Journalism school was not to use those words (notice I didn't say "never use those words!"). You're right about using them less as we age......the longer I live, the more I find that things I thought would never happen to me, do.
Love the "Believe" sign - had to come from Baltimore!

Delwyn said...

Like Meri I am ALWAYS attempting to out into practice those values and attitudes that shape my life and I NEVER want to lose the feeling of awe and wonder in life.

Reya Mellicker said...

Andrea - YEP, the believe sign was hanging on a building in Baltimore. They are ubiquitous, along with Elvis. Elvis is EVERYWHERE in Baltimore. It's a little bit spooky.

tam said...

for me, it's in personal relationships that those 2 words are so toxic! 'you always.. You never!' WHooo! The ego's poison! I been thinking bout this today. We on the same shorebreak again.

Lover of Life said...

I love the side bar third eye "dial". As for always and never, I think I use them less and less as I age. Mostly because, just when I think I know something, it proves "flexible", for lack of a better word.

Ronda Laveen said...

I am a kind of a gray girl. Very little black and white. Very little always or never. Gray. Sometimes. Maybe. When I consider an issue, I seem to argue both sides of the issue internally. Sometimes I think my brain would rest easier if I could just say ALWAYS or NEVER.

Love the side bar Reya. I think that is one of my favorite picures of you. One outward looking. One inward looking.

Pam said...

After a lifetime of give and take, I am getting more pleasure out of absolutes."I aint never goin" there again!!" has passed my lips many a time recently, the last being my third attempt last night at the Folk Music club (stretching over thirty years mind you).To me,the majority of the people there are ALWAYS so weird, NEVER get over themselves and that's time in my life I'm NEVER going to get back.xx

Fire Byrd said...

I feel that this decade I'm in is the one I've got most out of for me. I'm 55 in two weeks.
And being a cynical English person I do not have 'A Faith'
But I do have faith in my own abilities to work it out eventually, cause that's what I've been doing for all these years. And who knows one day I may even get there!!

moonshin said...

some part of me becomes completely overwhelmed after reading the others' comments regarding the use of the words 'ALWAYS' and 'NEVER'. They sounded so firm and sure of their perspectives that i was wordless to say mine.

thank you, Reya for bringing up such an interesting topic.

to me, the word 'ALWAYS' and 'NEVER' gives out a sense of hope. Instead of giving stability and the sense of absolute, those words are only 'hanging' in the air. There's no conviction to support its validity or reliability except our own words.

So when i say that i want to be ALWAYS truthful to my feelings and NEVER lie about them - are they not hopes that i have towards my own self?

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you so much for all these different perspectives. I'm really getting that there's value in ALWAYS and NEVER in certain cases and for a variety of people. Very cool.

Like Tam, I think there are cases in which these words are poison, as in relationships. Oh yeah!! Thanks, Tam. And ... as you know I love being on a wavelength with you!

Thanks for commenting Moonshin! Really thank you so much.

Lisa said...

I see where you are coming from. if we buy into the NOW therory 9 its all we have) then always and never both become obsolete....very intersting reya- something to ponder instead of sleeping tongiht !!

Val said...

so true - I so enjoy your blog - even though i dont always (oops!) comment i am constantly uplifted and stimulated by your thought provoking posts.
and as for looking old............nah! :-)
Jake looks like a lion in the photo!

Steve said...

I use always and never very loosely, seldom actually meaning "always" and "never."

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