experience is a teacher

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.

– Andre Gide

As a recovering over-thinker and over-planner, I cannot help but wonder about the active over-thinkers and over-planners and whether they are finding this well worn habit useless in the face of shutdowns and quarantines, increases in sickness and deaths. In the earlier parts of my life, I’m quite sure I might have found all of this to be a bit overwhelming, especially as I was also living with depression. I feel great compassion for all who feel as if control of their lives has been diminished or taken away. I’m certain I would have felt the same.

What I know today, having a few more years of life experience behind me – you know….pain, suffering, betrayals, losses, etc. – is that giving up “control” can be a peaceful way to live. I was a little crazy to believe I could control it all anyway. I tried, though. I really did try. I know today that my efforts to control were for my protection – even when I told myself that all of the over-thinking and over-planning were to ensure everything went well for everybody in whatever setting I was in, including my vacation!

All of this is to say; as we watch the openings, rolling back of openings, schools trying to decide what to do; all unfolding before our eyes, I wonder if we will see over-planning, under-planning, thoughtful responses or thoughtless pushes. And what will the impact of all of this movement be for everyone?

My hope is that we might all consider our individual experiences in life – where we planned, where we didn’t – and what the outcomes were. Were we patient because our over-planning didn’t foresee something that took us in a completely different direction? Or did we get angry and upset because we didn’t see the fork in the road until we were far down the wrong side of the fork? And who did we get angry and upset with?

I raise all of this because we tend to project, deflect and blame when things do not go as we had planned or expected. What is called for as we take old steps into a new way of being in a new world?

Patience. Taking responsibility for ourselves.

Some will take baby steps. Some will take running steps, not even looking except in the direction of the destination – and will miss everything along the way.Β Some will look upon others wearing or not wearing masks and will make judgments rather than simply accepting what others are choosing – while keeping their own safe distance and continuing to take precautions.

Today, I had a brief conversation which caused me to consider the differences between fear and awareness. These two seem as if they do not belong together in any way. And yet, they could, if misinterpreted, be considered related rather than mutually exclusive. It all comes down to perception. Is there fear “out there” in the midst of all of the pandemic feelings, emotions and experience? Yes…we all know there is. And then there is awareness. Are we aware that there are known and unknown risks? Well, yes, some of us do. Does choosing to be aware mean that we are courting fear? I don’t think it does at all.

What I hope we will see more of, as a result of this up and down or seemingly endless “time out”, or whatever you wish to name it, is an increase in compassion and respect as we move toward creating our new ways of being together.

Are we coming out of the woods, or down from the mountain of the peaks of this pandemic? I wish we were. In some places, perhaps. In others, perhaps not.

We always know more in retrospect than we know in the moments we are living in – if, and only if, we are honest with ourselves.

 

The years teach much that the days never know.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

4 Comments on “experience is a teacher

    • Yes, Karen…generally we do make better choices. Sometimes the consequences of choices are dire, before we learn the lesson. Slow learners, indeed. πŸ™πŸ»

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Robin, I agree with Karen, too. We tend to be slow learners. And, I think, some might need a couple of lifetimes to learn anything at all.

    Thank you for this post, Carrie. ❀ I've always been an over-thinker and over-planner, and that hasn't changed very much. What has changed is my reaction to the unexpected detour or wrinkle in my plans. This trip to Ohio has been a big lesson in how little control I have over anything. We are constantly having to renegotiate and recalculate based on the level of risk any one of us is willing to take on. That boils down to two of the things you pointed out: Patience and personal responsibility. Good communication is helpful, too, so that nobody has to be a mind reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin, I agree with you AND Karen. And yes, it may take more than a lifetime or two before some lessons are learned.

      Funny thing…I was cleaning up my site here on WordPress as a part of redesigning it, and found that draft from March. What amazed me was how true it STILL is and how much hasn’t changed. That by itself, proves the point about how slow we are to learn. We just keep getting in our own way. Be safe and be well, dear Robin.

      Liked by 1 person

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