I write to ask your forgiveness. And I thank G-d that you are so much more grown up than I.
You said on Wednesday that you get angry. I could only think that you got that from me, and that's really not the legacy I want to leave you. It's not a happy - or productive - way to go through life.
I interviewed a friend of mine a few weeks ago. And then got to speaking with him about parenting afterward. He shared the major lesson he left his kid: “Just keep going.”
I missed that one somewhere. Every time I thought I made a mistake, every time things didn't go as planned, every opportunity I've missed, I let it mess me up. With all the Landmark I've done, you'd think I'd be past it (instead, I use it as more evidence that I am screwed up).
I even make up wonderful little sayings and stories about it, like: “I never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” or “if you can't be happy, at least be useful.” And as you know, I pick things that “shouldn't” be, and obsess, and make people wrong, and let it suck the joy out of my life (the filth in the “holy” land, table manners, driving habits, people peeing next to bus stops, people not thinking or caring in a thousand other ways).
So now I share with you a little so you don't fall down the same hole. Just don't do it. There is so much that is beautiful in every thing that we see. Find that. People make mistakes. Be generous with them. People are stupid. Be generous with them too. People don't care, or have never even been taught to notice. Find a way to show them (if it's important to you) that doesn't make them wrong.
Most people don't think. It's just what's so. Sometimes they'll let you think for them. Sometimes they'll let you think with them. Sometimes they'll just dig in and yell and scream that theirs is the only way.
Rarely, someone will touch your heart and mind and let you touch his, or hers. When you find one like this, keep him around. Play with him. Make him your partner. Let your damned heart out. Life is just too short for anything else.
And when it's a her, just love the heck out of her, whether it's someone you could see yourself making a life with or not.
As to the others, those who don't or won't think, don't waste your time with them.
And some people have just chosen to be mean and vile and ugly. Just stay away from them. I suppose in this part of the world, we should also learn to identify them and defend ourselves from them, and even to kill them if necessary (with a clean conscience). But don't be angry about it.
And this is probably the most important: Sometimes you will be the person who messes something up, who makes a mistake, who doesn't notice, who fails to think or care, who is ugly and mean and hurtful, whose action ends up getting someone else hurt, or even killed. Life is messy, and shit happens.
This is where you must remember to “Just Keep Going.” This is where you need to be generous and loving and forgiving with yourself. There's so, so, so much more that's good out there and in you, no matter how you might have screwed up, or what you might have missed. As animals, we are designed to survive, to notice the bad and try to avoid that, but that just makes our world smaller and sucks life.
But as humans, we can choose. We can live and celebrate life. Choose that. It's not always easy. Our machine screams against it sometimes, but life's too precious to do anything else.
So I am so sorry. I know that being angry only makes the dark moments darker. It can make it really hard to go through life. And I don't want that for you.
In those dark moments, find the ones who've got your back, who listen to you generously, and trust them. They'll help you take the drama out. They'll help you be with what's so. And what's so is never as bad as the stories we make up about it.
So, have a beautiful year. If there's anything I can do, let me know. Just do what's right for you, and trust that that's what's right. And when you forget to-and you will-be generous with yourself. You have an amazing head on your shoulders, and a beautiful heart. Trust them. And Keep Going. It's the only thing you can do anyway.
I Love You.
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