From “The Strange Order of Things – Life, Feeling, and the Making of Culrures” by Antonio Damasio
And there is always nature, her royal self, who offers herself both as a light show and as bread to be eaten, We hang with her as much as possible, because nature really knows how to do it when she is not being mercurial and destroying entire regions. We do get a taste of the spheres in birdsong, eclipses, the surf, tangerines. In the dark, we see the stars. In the aftermath of the devastating fire, the sun rose red.
To pay close attention to and mostly accept your life, inside and out and around your body, is to be halfway home.
The lesson here is that there is no fix. There is however, forgiveness. To forgive yourself and others constantly is necessary. Not only is everyone screwed up, but everyone screws up.
How can we know all this, yet somehow experience joy? Because that’s how we’re designed — for awareness and curiosity. We are hardwired with curiosity inside us, because life knew that this would keep us going even in bad sailing. … Life feeds anyone who is open to taste its food, wonder, and glee — its immediacy. We see this toward the end of many people’s lives, when everything in their wasted bodies fights to stay alive, for a few more kisses or bites of ice cream, one more hour with you. Life is still flowing through them: life is them.Anne Lamott, from Almost Everything — Notes on Hope, P. 62
We witness and try to alleviate others’ suffering, but sometimes it just outdoes itself and we are left gasping, groaning. And running through it all there is the jangle, both the machines outside and the chattering treeful of monkeys inside us.
We believe that we are all in this together; this was the message of childhood, that being together meant connection, like an electrical circuit — think school recess on the blacktop, summer camp, and all those family holiday gatherings. Ram Dass said that if you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family. With our nearest and dearest gathered together, we sometimes intuit that they are neither nearest nor dearest.
The nature of our basic family dysfunction is that we want to present to the world as a kindly, engaged, smart clan that’s doing just fine. (In recovery, we call fine “Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.”) But underneath, we have resentment, fear for our children, and an addictive desperation to check our texts. There may also be an irregular mole on your thigh that pulses with death, and unexplained bruising.
There’s just no way around this. Even when life sorts itself out and starts to work and we revel in what is working, the cosmic banana peel awaits. Without this reality, there would be no great art or comedy.
So we savor what works when things are sort of harmonious.Anne Lamott, from “Almost Everything – Notes on Hope” P. 60