Saturday, March 6, 2010

Where Pain and Pleasure Become One

I’ve been thinking a lot about death and dying lately – how it shakes things up; makes you look at life differently. There is this Hindu goddess named Kali who is widely regarded as the bringer of death – but not in the same way we think about it here in the west. More accurately, her mythology speaks to the ability to “look with the eyes of death” on that which no longer serves us; to face, and learn to accept, the gradual demise of that which we once held sacred....beliefs formed in youth that no longer make sense; values long cherished now feeble, cursory remnants of their former selves. All of this resonates with me strongly right now. As a woman in her late 40s, it seems to me that the older I get, the more important it becomes to be able to roll with the punches; to welcome new ways of seeing things, and to allow life’s lessons to open me up to change my soul longs for.

Maybe that’s because the alternative is stagnation; an arthritic clenching of everything I know in my addiction to comfort and all things familiar. Now, more than ever, I feel a great need to resist this inclination. I want that “something more” out of life. I don’t want to live in fear that something I identify with today could be gone tomorrow. Because it could be. Everything’s happening so darned fast. I look back on my concepts of self even as recent as two years ago....I mean, it’s all turning on its head.

The beauty of aging is how it opens your eyes to all sorts of stuff. You realize how stupid you were when you were young; how utterly fooled you were by the appearance of things. For so many years, I chased after what I was so sure I thought I wanted, only to realize, as time went on, that the form my life takes matters far less than how closely I can live in accordance with my values. Whether it be my professional aspirations, in what country I reside, the man I am intimate with or how I spend my days – as someone I know once said, “I just want to be where I am supposed to be.”

So bring it on. This anguish I feel, with the recent passing of my beloved – this, I cannot numb, for it can take me to that sweet spot I’ve pined for all my life; that place where pain and pleasure become one, and rupture the shell of my long-embittered self.


Utah Savage said...

Incredibly powerful and sensitive post. In many ways each decade brings new pleasures. The loses are bittersweet, but I do not morn them.

Jesse Mendes said...

Well articulated....I am looking forward to my 50s! Thank you for taking the time to write, and I appreciate the feedback.


sandyman said...

Beautiful......words that talk your heart and walk your movement. Thank you...

Jesse Mendes said...

wow, Sandra, thank you for this note. Please do stay in touch, and I hope to hear your reflections on these pages if you are so inspired.