The late comedian and writer, Victoria Wood was reportedly to have told one last joke before she died, “Life is not fair, is it? Some of us drink champagne in the fast lane, and some of us eat our sandwiches by the loose chippings on the A597”. In these wonderful few lines she managed, through her humour to capture the bitter- sweet nature of life and illustrate a very hard truth to swallow, which is that life is not always fair. We are each born into our own individual set of circumstances which to certain degrees will have an impact on our experience of the world. In my own life, as I have got older, I have tried to allow myself to accept that the life I have experienced so far has been bitter-sweet containing many wonderful moments of love, delight and laughter but also pain, loss and unhappiness.
I remember when my partner Elaine was dying, I would anxiously spend my time trying to control the situation, with a faint hope that I could control reality if I just tried hard enough. I remember breaking down and crying one day when I really understood that I couldn’t stop her from dying. In that moment, I felt a surrendering to the situation of our life together and a letting go of what I felt our life should be. We can take initiative with our life and the events we encounter, but life is far too big and complex for it to be controlled. So what can we do in the face of difficulties when they arise?
I believe that by learning to relax into our bodies and being with our vulnerability in the world we find a creative response. This may seem counter-intuitive because when we experience difficulties, often the last thing we feel like doing is allowing ourselves to be more vulnerable. But, there is a strength that comes from abiding in the heart and in our vulnerability. It connects us more deeply to ourselves and others and brings us into a deeper relationship to the world and soul.
What to Remember When Waking
by David Whyte
In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?