woman at ocean“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.”
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

As I sit to write my daily pages this morning, I am feeling a strong sense of “why bother.” Why am I compelled to come to my desk each morning and put words on a page? I look back to page one, written on January first, and read that I am writing for the practice and discipline of writing. That is well and good. I add to that, writing is not easier after 152 pages, nor do I feel that my ability to express my thoughts is any less foolish or distorted than when I began. I agree with Hesse as quoted above, what seems right and of value and wisdom to me, is no doubt nonsense to others.
I read that I am dedicating myself to transparency. I define transparency as a willingness to be seen in the raw…a willingness to expose the truth of oneself in all humanness… the brilliant and the mediocre, the sage and the fool, the caring and the cruel, the light and the dark.
So today I sit with this darker side of myself and discover that transparency sounds great on paper, but meeting myself here and having the willingness to move into it and explore it without judgment is a great challenge.
This ironic question arises: How do I differentiate my judgment from my authentic dark nature? Is my dark nature the “Judge?” The judgment towards myself (or am I delving into my true dark nature?) centers around my lack of gratitude for my life. Although I think the thought, “I am grateful,” on a daily basis, I fail to express my gratitude moment to moment. I slip into fear, anger, frustration, and the belief that I am not enough. I lose my passion for living and become despondent. It feels as if my joy gets sucked out leaving me feeling hollow and unable to appreciate the gifts that surround me. I then “frost the cake” with my shame and disgust for myself that I am not appreciating all that I am and all that I have. It is a malicious spiral into melancholy.
Yesterday I spent the morning with my dear, sweet friend who is labeled with a stage-4 cancer diagnosis. She spoke to me of her feelings of confusion about who she is now. She is unable to do the simplest of things that used to define her…walking in nature, gardening, dancing, preparing and enjoying delicious food, caring for her family, her friends and her clients, playing and having fun, moving without pain… who she was, defined by the things she loved to do, is no longer.
Could it be that being faced with her suffering, my lack of moment to moment joyousness for every moment of life I am given, is haunting me now?
What do I know? Nothing.
What do I do about it?  Write to myself.
Perhaps one day an answer will appear on the page.


1 thought on “Words

  1. I am so sorry about your friend. Of course you will feel as you do. In reference to the starter quote, I once sat in a PhD class at Harvard when I was considering the degree. The prof opened up: “Which comes first? Language or thought?” I agree words falls short as a communicative medium but if our mind were empty of words, how well could we think? Fascinating.

    On the attributes that make us human (an old post of mine):

    We certainly can talk to ourself, but communication is at its most meaningful when it happens in a social context, with someone who gives us audience. The fact that we can speak is its own witness that we are born into a world where we can expect others to tune into us. Now, while animals have a language, our innate need to express takes us more deeply and richly into articulation of complex structure and substance and medium. Not only speech, but also art, allow us to mark our personal identity and broad humanness. I express myself through the writing and my music. Others paint, dance. God is known as the Living Word by which He spoke all things into life. We bear this divine image in the ways we speak our verbal, visual, physical art. In the artistic procreation, we do more than transmit energy, breathe, even learn. We birth something of beauty.

    Your post brought to mind my thoughts on the writing process, namely, the function of color in writing:


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