What Do I Know?

I don’t know much, but I know this much for sure.

1. Fears make very good self-fulfilling prophecies.

2. Having your dreams come true is a more ambivalent experience than you might think.

3. No amount of external love or admiration will validate you, if you do not already value yourself.

4. Community brings out the best in people, competition brings out the worst.

5. If you want to do something well, you have to practice, a LOT; it’s not negotiable.

6. Being is a much harder life skill to master than doing.

7. Change happens when you’re not looking.

8. Contentment is the art of being completely engrossed in the task at hand.

9. Giving up, walking away and letting go are more often acts of liberation than they are gestures of defeat.

10. Closure only happens in novels.

And I tag Charlotte, Emily, Stefanie, Doctordi and Pete, wise bloggers one and all – oh and anyone else who’d like to do this one.


16 thoughts on “What Do I Know?

  1. Interesting! I agree with most of these. I wouldn’t say that community always brings out the best in people. My experience is that it also brings out the gossips and the taking-sides leading to factions. But sometimes it brings out the best. Especially when it comes to bringing food. I think there is a difference between giving up and letting go and that difference is often hard to discern. One is liberating and the other is defeating. Maybe the difference has to do with fear. The thing I know for sure is that standing in a place of love is what real power is and that both victims and persecutors are fearful. Love brings me back to reality.

  2. Pete – no pressure, you could do this in your sleep if you needed to. I would put money on you having some pretty cool maxims you can whip out for your clients. But of course, good luck with the exam. David – loved your post; you really write so entertainingly. I could add my own confession to yours, but not on this site. I’ll write a discreet comment on yours one of these fine days. πŸ™‚ Yogamum – hello and always so nice to have you drop by. I can be stupidly tenacious and it only ever stresses me. Letting go and letting be are good options sometimes! Charlotte – oh boy, are you ever right about that. I’ll look forward to your answers. Lilian – I thought for a long time about whether to put one in about love, but then in the end I couldn’t find a truth I felt was stable enough. I admire people who can place their strength in love, but I don’t know about that for myself. I wouldn’t argue for a second that love is tremendously powerful, but it can also be misguided, corrupt and intermittent, even in the best of cases. But these are my truths and love is yours, and that’s just fine.

  3. I’ve reread your list three times so far, Litlove (in the midst of digesting my shock at Updike’s death – I didn’t know! I read Couchtrip before coming here just now, and when Pete introduced his post with something about reading ‘tributes’ to Updike, I paused, and then dismissed the thought, deciding he was just talking about a fan site – HOW DID I MISS THIS??? I feel like my friend who years ago managed to miss the e-n-t-i-r-e Branch Davidian showdown in Waco…and I’m having difficulty concentrating because now I think I need to go scour the news and the papers that are waiting next to my cup of coffee out in my courtyard…).

    I agree with you (and am wondering if #9 is related to your retirement from fiction writing, or is that just me wanting to know more?), and I also really agree with Lilian. Community can be great, but it’s not always, it can be mean-spirited and suffocating, and as a naturally competitive person, I can assure you I mostly strive against myself, not others, and by and large that effort brings out my best qualities, not my worst. But finally, I’m a very big believer in love. I just try to put as much of my own out there as possible, freely, with as few strings attached as my better self can manage, and sometimes people embrace it, and sometimes they don’t give a fuck and worse, but by and large I feel pretty peaceful, because in my own little self-fashioned search for meaning, I grow more and more confident that love is one of the only things in life that truly matters. It’s the chief mountain I choose to climb.

  4. Great words of wisdom here. I’m thinking particularly about #1 right now, as I feel that I’m too easily driven by fear. Changing the way one thinks about uncertainty and change can make a difference, I’m sure. I like #8 as well — absorption is such a blessed state!

  5. Doctordi – all questions willingly answered! For me, no. 9 is about letting things be generally, rather than trying to wade in and control everything with my bare hands (which I have a tendency to do!). I also tend to compete only against myself, but that can make me a very harsh critic and a severe boss. For me, it doesn’t always make for the right result, but that’s not necessarily true for everyone by any means. Love is an intriguing concept because I think it’s very ambiguous and again means different things for different people. I’ll have to post on that one day, if I ever get my thoughts together! Oh and yes, I agree Updike was a shock. I think I saw it online first.

    Dorothy – I let fear get in the way far too much. Not that I’m going to rush out bungee jumping, exactly! πŸ™‚ But there have to be other ways around the problem of anxiety that are gentle and effective. I’m sure you’re right and the key is in altering habitual patterns of thought.

    Stefanie – If only I were wiser! πŸ™‚ Looking forward very much to your list (just whenever you want, no pressure) to fill in all those gaps in my personal philosophy….

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