Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Psychological Cluttergathering

Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”

“Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”

kitanzi and I had some fascinating discussions last night about fears and emotional triggers and learning from the past. And while she’s right that one must hold dear the lessons one learns from one’s experience, it’s also important to let go of the weight those experiences brought upon you in their time.

I left school and moved to Georgia when I was 19 years old, for reasons that at that time seemed important to me. I quickly found myself trying to hold together a household with all the financial burdens that entailed, and supporting another person who seemed to grow less and less enchanted in me, and less and less interested in the life I thought we’d lead together. Many of the things that I thought I would do as my 20s unfolded were never realized. I missed the opportunity to travel, to meet and experience new people, to explore myself, because I had voluntarily delivered myself into this service, and because of the fears and emotional triggers that are a fundamental part of what makes me me, I could not easily walk away from it. It took turning 30 and vowing not to waste another decade of my life as I’d wasted the one before to finally start seeking a path out, and another eighteen months before I’d finally realize that escape.

This is history. One the one hand, it’s no more relevant to my life today than the Hundred Years War is. On the other hand, these are the experiences that shaped me, and which shape my needs and desires.

It’s time to let go of the resentment and regret of those lost years. This is, of course, easy to say and harder to do. I cannot change the choices I made–in fact, I would not change those choices if there was any chance whatsoever that I would not end up where I am today. And if I spend my 30s trying to capture the lost opportunities of my 20s, all I end up doing is missing my 30s, and won’t find myself in any better position at 40 than I am today. Yesterday is for reflection, tomorrow is for hopes. Today is for living.

If the life I led was the one I had to lead to find myself where I am today, then it was all worth it, and all the what-might-have-beens are merely pleasant diversions to contemplate in an idle moment.

I’ve carried her across the river long enough. It’s time to put her down.

Because life is good. And I’m happy.


Adventures in Suburbia


Work Rant


  1. That is the most wonderful thing I’ve read in ages. And a point I reach to hope soon, myself. Good for you.

    • I’m not sure I’m at that point yet myself. I’m at the point where I’m beginning to recognize I need to do these things. Actually doing them is the next task. 🙂

  2. kid fears

    I agree with Aiela. (If it can be said that there is a point to this life,) I think the point of living is to figure out the reason(s) to all these things and then to pass that wisdom on/try to make someone else’s life a little better as a result.

    Oh and BTW: Years ago when I was struggling (harder) with my sense of self and my place in the heirarchy of things, I read something you wrote (it escapes me what that was) and realized that I too was a deist, so thanks for that. 🙂

    • Re: kid fears

      Life, of course, has a purpose, but it’s both more grand and less cosmic than most people ever give thought to. “If I can save one heart from breaking,” Emily Dickinson wrote, “I shall not live in vain”.

      Deism was a facinating thought to me, and I might still consider it appropriate. What I really am, though, is a spiritual agnostic. I’ve taken lessons from many paths, and made them all my own path, and it’s very self-centred rather than outside-centred, if that makes any sense.

      Glad that whatever it was helped you, though!

  3. Well-written, thought-provoking and added to memories.

    More comments later.

  4. Have I told you yet today how much I love you? 🙂

    That was very well written, btw… and applies to me and my own stuff just as much as it does to you. I have some people I need to put down, and it’s astonishing, when I think about it, how long I’ve carried some of them. Still, I wouldn’t change anything either, if it changed where and who I am now.

    • I love you too, sweetheart! I’m glad we had the talk we did last night; I know it helped me finally get my mind around these thoughts that have been rattling around in my head for the last week or two. I hope it helped you as much. 🙂


  5. Thanks for reminding me of that

    HP*, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, like the past, doh!
    the courage to change what I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    I could beat myself up for not starting on my job search until today. I did that yesterday and a great many days before. But today I chose to change what I can, i.e. the present. I’ve updated my resume and applied for several jobs today.

    *= replace with your chosen Higher Power or whatever you want to call it.

    • Re: Thanks for reminding me of that

      The action you take that makes the most difference is the next one.

      Good on you for making it a positive one!

  6. I’m glad for you. Good luck with it!

  7. Amen. Biose. So mote it be.

    Love you,

  8. Wow.

    That is, well, wow.

    hugging you knees and thinking hard.

  9. That is very well-written. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. Yes! Thank you.

  11. This is a good philosophy

    I used essentially the same thing, especially around birthdays with others. The inevtiable comment will arise: “I wish I was X years old again.” To which I reply: “Yes, but in 5 years you’ll wish you were as old as you are now, so carpe diem!” Usually they stop and admit that they’d never thought of it that way.

    Humans romance the past too much, and are seduced by the future too much… the present is the oft-forgotten stepchild.

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