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November 27, 2009

I realized something when I was on the climbing wall the other night, trying to muscle my way up a route that was clearly beyond my current level; using only upper body strength, all my load on my finger grips, lactic acid building up in my forearms, knees knocking against the wall.  As I struggled, seemingly drowning, clawing and fighting for my life, looking like a crab with four hooves, I realized there is something to be said for grace. Grace in movement, grace in attitude. And if gracefulness is indeed the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul… then my soul be frazzled.

I eventually gave up on the 5.10 and on my way down, I remembered the wise words of a bar tender from La Petite Idée Fixe, the Mile End’s local dive (don’t knock the dive bars… they serve their whiskey tall and they serve it cheap).  I was having a particularly existential day of the variety Oh! woe is me… what am I ever going to do with my life? So I met my friend Roma for Jameson’s and pontification.  As we were talking, the bartender came outside to smoke a cigarette and started telling us about her 27-year old daughter who was going through a rough patch.  “I told her sèche tes pleurs,” she said between two puffs, “You are young and you have your whole life ahead of you.  Stop searching so much and let life happen to you.”  And though this is not mind blowing, spiritually enlightening material, she was my guru that night.  She said exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.

One might think all these thoughts are mutually exclusive but one would be wrong.  Because there is a point and my point is this.  Sometimes, you need to stop fighting, stop holding on so hard to your grip and your preconceived notions of what your life should be.

I often can’t see a way to the top because I have this idea in my head and I am so bent on taking a particular path there (one that is full of road blocks and dead ends) that I fail to see the big picture.  It’s only when I stop struggling and take a step back that I suddenly see everything so clearly. Paths that didn’t seem to exist moments before magically open up to me.

When I’m on the boulder, I don’t have time to worry about all the petty things floating around in my head.  The only thing that matters is the next grip. And from there, it’s one grip at a time.  The basic principle of starting at the bottom and making your way to the top is, in and of itself, a metaphor for life.  And when you fall on the mat, discouraged and exhausted, there is always a complete stranger there to encourage you with an allez, allez… Get up. Wipe yourself off.  Try again.  And you do.  Over and over, until you make it to the top.

When you are so weak, give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.

– Rumi

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2009 5:00 pm

    Isn’t it great that wisdom often finds us just when we need it most?

  2. November 28, 2009 6:19 am

    jeebus, you’re so right. i’ve been having these same problems for ages – i just can’t seem to find the way to be ‘successful’ in life. why aren’t i making something of myself?

    but what you’re saying is the total truth – just let life happen.

    thanks for telling me what i needed to hear!


  3. November 28, 2009 12:11 pm

    Love the first photo. So pretty.

  4. November 28, 2009 6:32 pm

    i agree – i think sometimes we push at a closed door that we cannot see the window that is ajar beside us. that we try to conform too much to an ideal instead of something that is real.

    not that i believe in the sitting and waiting either – but sometimes the pendulum makes very wide swings.

  5. November 29, 2009 12:33 am

    Sending you lots of love…

  6. lizzy permalink
    November 29, 2009 10:52 pm

    thank you for this, jeanine.

    i needed it so…

  7. November 30, 2009 8:55 am

    we find our gurus in the most unlikely places (and i loved the biker dive bars i frequented in my wilder days)…i do believe bartenders are the poor wo/man’s psychiatrist…

  8. November 30, 2009 10:12 am

    Perfect timing! EXACTLY what I needed to hear at this precise moment. I’ve been feeling the same way and thinking the same thoughts.

  9. December 1, 2009 2:21 pm

    So Beautiful and a breath of fresh of air. Thank you, x


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