Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Basket Weaver

Sometimes I wonder who is living my life. The life I always envisioned. I hope that she is enjoying it. It was a lovely picture.

I've been challenged with a different life. And sometimes, like today, I feel lost. Not sure what my life should look like. Not sure which colors and strokes I should, or could, be applying to the canvas. All I know is that I don’t know.

I think of the things I would have done differently. But that's not valuable in the now. As Al Turtle says, "Guilt is time travel. It is putting today's wisdom into yesterday's event-- a time at which you only had yesterday's wisdom." I don't regret any of my choices because I know that I've always used the wisdom that was available to me in each moment.

But lately, I find that I don’t trust that I have any wisdom. I feel like a newborn. My eyes have been opened to a new world. One that was unknown to my past self. So nothing I've learned is useful in this new place. I suppose knowing that I don't know is a start. I am open to anything now. Is this an awakening? Perhaps. Or perhaps it's just my self/ego denying my failings, hiding in some esoteric idea about rebirth.

Sometimes I wonder if my tendency to think and explore ideas is a curse. I tried to have a career in which I helped others. Made life a bit sunnier or easier for others. But even as a student, I learned that I had few skills of practical value. During my apprenticeship my mentor said, "Aine, you're a scholar. But, keep your hands off the clients!"

Sometimes I wish I were a basket weaver. I could sit in the sunshine and create something useful, something that people needed and wanted. Life could be simple. I would be happy.

But I'm cursed with this tendency to think and explore ideas. Which I'm not even very good at. I rarely create my own ideas. I just enjoy exploring the genius of others. Alone.

I've been ignored or even ridiculed by all of my loved ones for my passions. But I don't blame them, my passions are all useless, impractical.

Al Turtle also said, "All humans are geniuses (at something.) Look for it."

I am, Al. I'm still looking.

Perhaps my genius is my ability to hope.

But, it's a curse,too. It makes me feel alone. It's impractical, unpopular, and just plain weird, as I've been told again and again. But that's the one thing I'll never give up.

If only I could weave baskets out of it...


Meghna Bhujwala said...

Hey Aine, cheer up girl :)

Through your blog you've often helped me feel better :) Honestly!

You know I have so many friends who keep telling me all the time "you think too much" but i always make myself feel good by reading blogs which reflect indepth thinking :)

I think it's cool! It'd be better if all of those thoughts were positive ones :)

Besides on close introspection you will realize that you too are a basket weaver, look around and you'll find yourself surrounded by beautiful baskets that you've effortlessly weaved w/o even realizing it!!

If even after all these wise words you don't feel better, get up and go shopping :p

Aine said...

Meghna~ Awww, thanks!! :) You did cheer me up! I love the thought that I'm already a basket weaver. Thank you for that!

I haven't actually been sad, just in more of an introspective mood. (Probably a bit of PMS going on too... :P ) And I did go shopping a few days ago-- it was a great escape! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I feel like I've been able to match my skills with my career, but I often wonder if I've truly accomplished anything. And then I wonder, what exactly is an accomplishment. I think every human is plagued with doubt. I certainly am. I think the best of us are. In my experience, those without doubt are probably wrong.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Anyone of us could have written this - well, maybe not as well as you wrote it, but - we have all "been there". Once in awhile, I reprimand myself for not being ambitious enough. I think about all the things I should have done or should be doing. Then, my husband reminds me of how busy I was raising four children and helping them along life's highways and byways. busy I still am with family and teaching. I am sure it is the very same with you.

I study multiple intelligences quite a bit (Gardner). He and Turtle seem to have, somewhat, the same philosophy. Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

I don't think one's passions should ever be dismissed. People build lives, dreams, businesses with their passions! I don't see how passions could be useless if they matter to you. Where would the world be without passions?? Don't inventions and progress come from passions?

And, yes, your genius could well be your ability to hope - and give hope to OTHERS. How wonderful! You are an optimist. I would hate to see where the world would be without optimism.

You do weave baskets in the sunlight and you fill them with your cheerful disposition and hope - and there is nothing unpopular, weird, or impractical about that, as far as I'm concerned!

Aniket Thakkar said...

Come on. You're personality posts have taught me so much. I broke free of my love life illusions after reading them and am still hopeful of finding that companion. So you've done some good to the world.

Though I too feel like there's lots of potential that is getting wasted coz am afraid to take the risks that come along with it. Most of them concern with, what'll happen to the family if this doesn't work?
Sadly that's what the world has come to that even hobbies are supposed to earn you something otherwise its considered a waste of time.

You can still do what you love to do. Take the classes to learn to weave a basket. I am taking a risk by quitting my current job and finding work that I'll actually love to do. Don't know if it'll work out. But age is in my favor and if I don't try now, I'll forever regret it.

You are lucky that Jason has your back. So take the leap of faith... go on your spirit walk...

Ed Meers said...

Being introspective and thinker can be a curse, but it also allows one to feel a heck of a lot more than those who plod on through life looking no further than the evening TV schedule.

The purpose of life, in my opinion, is the purpose that we elect to give it. We know that we are here, and that we see different things in different ways. We are spellbound by beauty, horrified by brutality, we love, we lose, we share, we cheat, we reach highs and experience lows. In the end, all is collected by the adhesiveness of our consciousness. This is a beautiful thing. The journey.

In the end, life will never be based on re-plays or backtracking. We will question decisions, but to what avail? There is no going back. So ask yourself, from where I am standing, where do I want to go? How might I get there? And accept that no matter what our intended path, the true adventure in life lies in it's digressions!

I hope you find peace within...

Aine said...

Charles~ Thanks. Yours are words of wisdom.

And, my intuition based on your cyber-presence tells me that you've likely accomplished a helluva a lot more than you realize with your students. I'd bet most of those who complete one of your courses come away changed, in a way that is extraordinary (not like the average knowledge-gain from the average college course).

Kaye~ Thank you for adding the proper perspective. You are right about recognizing accomplishment in all the little daily parenting moments.

And-- wow. So timely that you mention Gardner! I have a book that fuses Gardner's multiple intelligences with personality theory, which I keep putting down. I think I'll revisit it now!

Aine said...

Aniket~ :D Thanks, dear friend!

And yikes about the idea that all hobbies must be profitable! I know that income is so necessary in our world, but when we spend our time doing something that isn't a passion, we must balance that with time spent in a passion (or in "Flow," as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it-- have you read that? If not, I highly recommend it!).

Minister~ You better watch out-- you are living up to your name... ;)

I so agree with you about the journey that is life. And I recognize, even while typing such a post, that I need to experience these moments of doubt in order to fully enjoy the moments when I feel I've attained actualization. (Which has happened many times throughout my journey... I know how blessed I am.)

So, thank you! And I do have peace within. In a way, my true self (the deepest sense of being) is feeling joyous that my thinking self (ego, perhaps?) is on the verge of learning or evolving because of these doubts and questions.

And I am so grateful to have found bloggers such as yourself who understand all of this!

Precie said...

From one INFJ to another, don't be so hard on yourself. We're prone to idealism and theory, right? And, doubt, lots and lots of doubt. Unfortunately, doubt is part of the INFJ's processes. So, too, I think, is verbalizing, right?

I hope you're feeling better today. You're intelligent, articulate, and compassionate. Your niche is out there somewhere.

Ed Meers said...

Cheers Aine! I definitely put some thought into my screen name as the Minister, based on exactly what you are going through, as do many of us. Those of us seeking something deeper truly do become self tortured at times!

Have you ever heard of the Aussie band called the Waifs? Look up their tune "Take it All In" - it'll lift your spirits along the journey!

Be well an know that the world is full of people looking for something deeper - may you encounter many of them along the way!

Chris Eldin said...

I feel very sad for you right now. I don't think any words, however we may try to make them comforting, are going to be of much use.
I'm going to be blunt and say it's a journey we're lucky to make...meaning we're lucky we have shelter and food etc so we can devote energies to this higher level of thinking. You know I'm going through something similar.
I remember having a similar blog conversation with Szelsofa last year... feeling part of a community is very important for mental health. I think especially for stay at home mothers with young children. I'm only now starting to lift my head out of the fog and look around. And it's not been pretty. But there is a lightness as the children get older... I realize yours are younger.
You need to find something, no matter how "small" you think it is or how small you worry others will think, but you need to carve something for yourself. Right now. Can you go to a local community college and take an art class? It sounds like you need to be around people.
Sorry for this if it sounds lecture-ish, I just feel for you because I can completely empathize.

Anonymous said...

Matching up what we want to weave against what others seem to want to receive from us can be such a difficult task. It reminds me of those bands who want to play a certain kind of music, but hit it big with a song in a totally different genre. If they want "success," they are forced deeper and deeper into the area they don't want to go. Many crack. Some embrace what they are to others, even if that's not what they are to themselves. I need to learn those lessons too. I have my own difficults in matching up what I want to give versus what others want to receive. Although you didn't feel it that day, at least you have people who want to help you get there.

Aine said...

Precie~ Yes, yes, yes. You are right (I suppose I could throw in the ol' "it takes one to know one" right about now...) :)

Thank you for understanding and words of support!

Minister~ I had not heard of the Waifs-- thank you! Yes, I like these lyrics: This is the day and it’s here for the living. I think I need to print that and set it at my bedside so I read it every morning.

Chris~ No need to feel sad (but thanks!) I'm actually doing good-- the sense of a possible awakening that I mentioned in the post is keeping me in the more positive range of emotions.

You are right about that fog which moms go through. Mine has been thinning for a couple years now. (Oldest just turned 10-- how long does this take?!) It's hard to feel confident in the "adult" world sometimes. My fears about resuming a career which I feel so distant from have been surfacing more lately. You are so right about starting with something, even if it feels "small". Thanks!

Vesper said...

Aine, I can fully relate to what you're saying in this post. My doubts, my what-ifs often far outnumber my "certitudes". But I believe that an intelligent person will always have doubts. This is the curse of intelligence... (and of hormones... :-) )
So, if that brings you any comfort, know that you're not alone.

Aine said...

Jason~ I like the parallel to musicians who become successful with a genre that they don't embrace in their hearts. I'm at the point of still trying to decide what kind of music I want to write. And hoping that what I am capable of will be useful/desired by others.

I'm also feeling a start of a shift in my thinking. Perhaps I need to stop the future envisioning and just embrace what each day brings. I don't want to look back on my life and wonder what happened during all that time that I was withdrawn into my head with thoughts and worries rather than living.

You have a solid sense of what you can offer. And the strength to draw lines when others want something different is growing quickly for you. Its been wonderful to watch as you are unfurling these blossoms.

Aine said...

Vesper~ It is a great comfort to be reminded that I'm not alone. (Definitely a curse of hormones! :P)

Thank you!!

Fireblossom said...

Hello! I wandered over from vesper's blog because I liked a comment that you had made there. :-)

My family has never supported my passions, either, and that hurts but it's okay, because they are my passions, not theirs. As long as they don't expect me to become a tax attorney, we will get along, albeit at a distance.

In nature, they say that every creature is invested by God with exactly what it needs to survive; wings, speed, eyesight, whatever it may be. I don't guess that She probably created human beings much differently. I believe that our passions are a gift. One may be practical, another may be "only" beautiful.

I like your blog. :-)

Aine said...

Fireblossom~ Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

Your thoughts are in tune with personality theory (which I discuss often on this blog). In fact, Isabel Briggs Myers (co-founder of Myers-Briggs typology theory) titled her book "Gifts Differing." And you are right, there is value in all of our gifts, whether practical or aesthetic. Thank you!