I have always found myself describing life in a way that has brought Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass to some people’s minds. I grew up on the Alice Stories, as most of us did. I always found myself expressing my thoughts in a variety of metaphors.
From the re-printing of my January 18, 2008 blog entry, entitled “Silence Under the Pressure of the Sea,” one can see one metaphor I use: the jumping in and out of boats and swimming from boat to boat.
A few posts ago, I used the Robert Frost “Two Roads” metaphor to describe the various avenues life offers to us. In the privacy of my own home, I have used the same metaphor while trying to write a blog entry about Schedules & Focusing, or rather the difficulty I have had in acquiring both of these things.
I’ve imagined myself in a little forest. Walking along a beautiful path. Smelling the roses. Picking handfuls of ferns. Feeding rabbits, deer and other lovely forest creatures. I am my own Little Red Riding Coat, sans the Big Bad Wolf. And there are a multitude of things that I want to do on my way down this path; however, I find myself stuck in the midst of the forest. There is no fork in the road to choose from. No hidden path buried by underbrush that beckons adventure. I simply want to know how to successfully do everything that I want to do.
Understandably, things will pass by you that you will never get the chance to experience. People will continue on their paths and you will have missed meeting by seconds. You might only get a fleeting glimpse of something that you simply will only dream of having in your life. Some things simply never get experienced. However, other things do find their ways into your life. Sometimes these things remain only for a moment or a couple months, while others stay for years and a few for a lifetime.
A metaphor that I have not written about yet is about crossing bridges. What kind of bridges? you might wonder. A score of Google Images of “Bridges” might pass through your mind. There are so many types of bridges that one could imagine crossing – the Golden Gate, the London Bridge, the Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome, any of the bridges in Paris or Saint Petersburg, a Japanese Garden bridge or a walking bridge in Venice.
In my mind, I have been crossing medium-sized bridges that connect one piece of land to another. I spend my days getting up the nerve or knowledge I need in order to cross it. Maybe I am metaphorically in a forest that has a river running through it and I have stumbled upon a bridge and I know that I have to cross this bridge in order to get what I want. In order to organize and simplify my life.
Although I am eager to cross it, I hesitate. Why? I am not sure. Perhaps the unfamiliar (not the unknown, mind you) makes me pause. I have come to know where I am. The idea of jumping ship or covering new land intimidates me – not because I don’t think I can succeed, but because it’s lonely out there. You get comfortable with what you know, but sometimes you have to throw away really worn t-shirts that you love, because it no longer fits, has become too thin or can no longer be patched up.
I have been sidetracked and I have to re-focus myself back down my main path and regain the strength that I feel has been forcefully beaten out of me. As I take a look at my life, which I regularly do, I see that I have great friends and family cheering me on. Wanting me to succeed. And the people that don’t want me to “move forward” are simply miserable people.
In the last few days, I realized something very important. Somewhere along my forest path, on my way to my next bridge, several people uttered the same sentence to me: “It’s not about you.” Their anger, hatred, contempt, vindictiveness and manipulative nature have nothing to do with me. It’s completely 100% about them.
I actually have nothing to do with it. It’s their own self-contempt and fear that keeps them locked in those rusty, heavy chains. It’s their own self-loathing that makes them lash out at me, lie about me and try to break my heart. They try to hurt me in order to make themselves feel better.
It’s their own deplorable natures that keep them unable to venture out onto bigger and better boats, down lush paths and across the right bridges. I did not fail them. I did not put them where they are. We are all authors of our own lives. At the end of the day, I should simply let them go with love, as my friend Paul said.
And I have my own bridge to cross. And it is beautiful.