Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Living Between the Dots

I lived my last two decades the wrong way. 

I painted my picture first and then spent twenty years making sure my life looked like the picture. Anything presenting itself to me that was not supposed to be in the picture was cast away and regarded as wrong or silly or impossible. 

If you were to ask me if I was happy, my answer would have depended on how well I thought I was living out the picture. Like some sort of sick and twisted grading scale, I would measure myself to the self I WANTED to see - the self I told myself I SHOULD be and WILL be. Never would I have thought that happiness wasn't dependent on these things. 

Now I know better. I know better than to think I have to live up to a predetermined concept of who I ought to be. After all, if I have already written my own story, what's the point of turning the pages? Right? I mean, if I have  decided on the ending, then why would I want to watch the predictable story unfold? 

Life unfolds IF a person allows. The dots that we try so hard to connect today can only be connected once we move on and look back. Besides, we don't even know where the dots are at this point. We can't possibly map this out ahead of time. The dots simply happen once we live our lives. 

And there are spaces between the dots. 

There are long pauses where we wander, guess, feel, contemplate, and listen. Those pauses are not meant to be traveled at Autobahn speeds until we reach the next dot. We don't even know where the next dot will be placed, so how can we claim to know the imaginary line or path that leads to it? 

For all the planners and control freaks out there, the spaces between the dots are frightening. Their lives are lived entirely by agenda, and the agenda is most often driven by the need for acceptance. Only, they never truly feel accepted because deep down inside they know that any acceptance they receive is based on a facade. Then they find themselves wondering if they would still be accepted once the masks are removed. "Will they really like me for me?" they'll wonder. But it's too scary to risk not being accepted, so they wear the mask and continue on with the facade. If this goes on long enough, the person who's wearing the mask forgets what is real.

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. 
― Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter

Over the past few weeks, I've been reflecting on the segment of the population who has an inability to live life for real. They look past the beauty because they are excessively task oriented. They're like horses with blinders on - just hurrying along to get to the next place as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible. Never mind the smell of the late-summer air. Pay no attention to the sweet old woman's hand as we give her change back from her purchases. They just do the job to say they did it. They've put their time in, and that makes them "good" or "worthwhile." From one dot to the next, they charge onward with their eyes on the dot in front of them. 

  • Think of all they miss.

  • What are they running towards?

  • More importantly, what are they running from?

Just some things to think on today. Let your picture paint itself. Take a moment to linger in the space between the dots. Dare to be still and not know where the next dot will be.


1 comment:

  1. I love the metaphors of painting a picture and connecting the dots! I do like the idea that I have some control over where my dots will be placed instead of seeing them all laid out before me like a map that can't be changed. And all that white space between each dot just makes me want to grab a big paint brush dipped in turquoise or periwinkle or tangerine and color in the spaces! I can choose the colors of my own life. Thank you for writing from your heart. It always gives me a chance to slow down, linger, and reflect.


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