"I didn't have the sort of epiphany I was expecting."
The more I need, the more I am reminded of how much I already knew intuitively when I was younger. It’s no wonder I was so successful in my ventures out into the larger world.
As I got older, I listened to that inner guide less as I pumped in words and ideas from the outside world. I was surprised many times in my life when I saw someone else succeed with something I had begun intuitively and then talked myself away from as I tried to be good and do what I was told.
I always knew how stupid that was and yet something else compelled me to turn away from my inner clear voice and try to satisfy the outer voices. For someone with as much innate inner vision and talent as I had, it is astounding that I didn’t have more self-confidence and faith to over-ride those outer voices when I knew in my heart my loyalty should be to my inner spirit.
This wasn’t always the case, or I wouldn’t have all my successful adventures to boast about. At times, when I was high on the spirit, I became almost annoying in my self-confidence. People often mistake self-confidence for righteousness, and self-confidence combined with certainty is a powerful mix resembling arrogance.
Recognizing disapproval, I would eventually back off, release the spirit and satisfy the outer voices, exchanging brilliance for dullness and somehow convince myself I had done the right thing.
My inner spirit would weep at the loss.
The spirit of life would drift from my center and darkness and silence would pool. Yet, my most loyal friend would not leave. He would let me rest and then push me in the way of serendipity and I would be reminded of my lifelong dreams.
Dreams, especially life dreams, are a funny thing. They drift in and out of focus like a spot of light from a flashlight scanning some great discovery in a giant underground chamber. You see bits and pieces, like hieroglyphics, that let you know this is not just any stone wall. You scan the bits and pieces trying to put together this giant puzzle.
Sometimes, entire passages seem clear. Then, suddenly the light goes out and you need to re-fuel, re-light the lantern to proceed.
When you’re young, time seems limitless and we proceed without concern for wastefulness, often pushing time aside by the arm-full as we indulge in our every fancy.
When you’re older, time seems more compressed, even though it yields and opens up if we dare to look at the present with the same passion and abandon of our youth.
When we do, our inner voice screams, “Yes! Yes!” like a mind lost in the throes of passionate love-making. But when our energy is spent, we turn our ears to the outer world and voices again and feel guilty that we have wasted more time in indulgence when there is less time left than ever before.
The irony of this, of course, is that if we are feeling the horizon approaching, we should turn up the music and give ourselves to indulgence! But the way of the world is to turn down the music and hammer nail after nail in our coffin so that we will have a comfortable box to die in.
In youth we skied through trees, climbed rocky cliffs and jumped out of airplanes or into precipices with icy cold water. We welcomed the challenge of death and the rush of wind in our hair.
Those who had already grown old and warned us of our carelessness told us stories like “The Ant and the Grasshopper” and as we got older ourselves, we somehow gave them credence and eventually traded “Arabian Nights” for “Aesop’s Fables.”
I’m not saying that there isn’t a fine line between reckless abandon and deadly stupidity, but I believe we saw that line and that is why we survived. There were those along the way who didn’t.
I am now 54. Not old, but far from the physical speed and strength of my 20s. I have made it this far. As a late-starter, I have a young family to tend. Life is new and rich every day and yet I still do battle between the inner and the outer voices.
Oddly, or not oddly at all, when I listen to my heart and have the faith to tune out the outer noise, my faithful friend, my inner voice, my guiding spirit is still there, as sweet and strong as ever, reminding me that I have the tools to navigate life as I always have and all the education I could pile into my coffers didn’t make me better or wiser. Perhaps slower and more bogged down.
Faith tells me aging is not about prevention but about singing and dancing until you drop dead on the spot.
Copyright 2009 by Anton Uhl. All rights reserved.