Archives for posts with tag: endure

“Autumn to winter, winter into spring, spring into summer, summer into fall,– So rolls the changing year, and so we change; Motion so swift, we know not that we move.” – Dinah Maria Mulock

I experience life with all of my senses. I even taste it with each of the seasons possessing, to me, a distinct flavor. I imagine winter, with its cool crispness and evergreen symbolism, is rosemary. Spring is caraway seed; tangy and fresh. Summer, of course, is saffron–earthy and warm and the color of sunshine.

And autumn–my season– is cinnamon. Rustic, warm and full of surprising depth.  It’s funny how we can find ways of relating one experience to another. Every time fall rolls around, I anticipate its smells and sights and somehow, I guess, even its taste. The seasons pass like the experiences of life; my brain stubbornly clinging to the memories of both like the hindmost autumn leaves that desperately clutch at the branches of the maple tree outside my window each year.

I don’t observe fall, I feel it. It seizes me; tugging me into this ethereal place where the earth shifts and the air that envelops me is steeped in some sort of otherworldly sensation. Autumn is tactile and alive and I allow it to draw me in like a good book. It is the enchanting phase of the earth’s yearly cycle in which the world sits in somber silence waiting for winter to strike bringing its tendency to strip the trees to their bare, skeletal forms and brush the canvas of the sky a chilly gray hue. The world seems to change its clothes, shedding the bright long days of the prior seasons, and casting itself in a woolen coat full of warmth and weight; eliciting a feeling that is somehow both familiar and enticingly enigmatic.

I<3 autumn. It. Is. Magical.

But as neither life nor my blog would be complete without symbolism, we venture into metaphor here.

Life being likened to the changing seasons of the year, is not a new analogy, but I think it bears significance and perhaps therein lies its tendency to be cliche. To further expound upon this ages-old allegory, I imagine that life not only has seasons, but that for each of us they are so individually subjective. That, like those living in various climes, that the seasons of one person’s life maybe drastic, consisting of dramatic differences from one season to the next with frigid winters and blistering summers. Others might have lives that mimic the climates where the year-round temperature is consistently balmy with only subtle distinctions between each passing season.

I am the former, not the latter (as if any of you had any question regarding that.:)) I have seen periods of such startling contrast so as to be distinguished from one another with remarkable ease. One season, which my blessed mind endeavors daily to blur to a distant, if not non-existent state, occurred during my twenties. I don’t remember them too well as it was fraught with a great deal of despair and more than my fair share of heartbreak. Confusion and unrest were the earmarks of this time and I often–as I have in this forum–referred to it as my Dark Ages. A time replete with darkness, a lack of clarity and an inhuman coldness that seemed wont to follow me.  I felt a tiny bit like Eeyore. Woe was me.;)

Winter can be tough. It does seem to drag on, threatening to smother us each within the confines of its persistent chill. The quilt of downy snow that blankets the earth often starts out cozy, but can become oppressive and stifling after it seems to continue for an inordinate amount of time. I felt as though, as a result of life circumstances, the Universe was unfairly expecting me to traverse through the suffocating brume of my life’s winter. It seemed endless and bleak and without reprieve.

Then came my spring. My world awakened with a startling sense of lucidity and purpose clearly defined. I felt as a rush of warmth danced its way across the sleeping ground and tickled the thawing earth to life. My world had awakened from the weary slumber of my darkest winter (knock on wood:)) and I felt…

renewed.

Summer followed in short order and I found myself embracing the evolution of Hollie. Like a fine wine, I’m enduring my seasons as I age to my own personal perfection. Not perfection as in, “flawless,”  but rather my own take on the word: perfection as in, “fullness.”  Me being the best Hollie I can be. I have, after all, no desire to be flawless. I find my imperfections are becoming an endearing part of who I am. Sure, I endeavor to improve myself, but I’m okay with me and I like myself more and more with each passing season. And besides, in the words of Nietzsche, “In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.”;)

So as I stand on the cusp of both the literal Autumn and my own metaphorical one, the question begs, do I dread a coming winter? No, I really don’t.

It’s kind of like the Pilgrims’ first winter in America. They struggled so much having been ill prepared and lacking the skills to cope and endure the onslaught of the harshness of a New England winter. But with the passing seasons, they enacted a system of adaptation and preparation that made the subsequent winters bearable and perhaps, even pleasant. I feel the same about my life.

I feel fall as it creeps into the world again. It stretches its fingers out and clasps the bright drape of summer that shrouds the sky. Pulling the curtain of August back, it reveals the pewter-gray sky of early autumn. The smell of decaying leaves permeates the air as a tiny bite nips at my skin. I feel the temperature as it slowly dips to a more boreal state and the world seems to emit a sleepy yawn. I gather a shawl of experience and, hopefully, wisdom around me and relax as my life continues to evolve. I watch as a peaceful hush settles over the landscape of my life. Who knows, maybe the next few winters will be mild and cozy or maybe I’ll skip them all together. I guess we’ll see…


XOXO


hollie

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet



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“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  -Helen Keller

Pain and suffering: two things I can say with a great deal of confidence we human beings each strive with desperation to avoid. We engage in one activity after another designed with the express intent of guarding ourselves from the discomfort and anguish that result from–well–living. Sure there are those of us who are somewhat masochistic in our approach to life, but that’s a discussion for another day. Today I’m pondering the inevitability of agony of our existence and how we each assimilate it; how we absorb the pain and move forward in a very human attempt to endure and to heal.

As I sit here in the very early hours of the ninth anniversary of 9/11, my thoughts have led me to this place of analyzing the progression of our human souls as we run the harrowing gauntlet of life. Mulling it over in my tired brain has led me to wonder a lot over this question of healing; of mending broken hearts and restoring hope that so often is elusive.

I have no desire to wax philosophical regarding politics; I would never use this forum as a platform to foist my opinions regarding these things on my lovely readers any more than you ever witness me peddling religious ideals. It’s a deeply personal thing and I like to think I haven’t the hubris to attempt such an endeavor, but, if we’re being completely honest, I also lack the energy.  As always, I am attempting to be honest with you all, and it’s only fair to not allow myself to be portrayed as too very perfect as I’m sure you’ll reach that conclusion entirely on your own.:)

About the time I was in the ninth grade, I picked up a book and read it cover to cover in record time. It would forever impact my attitude and play a major role in shaping my perspective, even now. The book was Viktor Frankl’s  “Man’s Search for Meaning.” If you have not read it, you must. It is that life-altering. No hyperbole here.

Viktor Frankl Photo: Katharina Vesely 1994

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.” -Viktor Frankl

Frankl, an Austrian-born neurologist and psychiatrist, served as a pioneer in the burgeoning field of psychotherapy. His major contribution there being the founding of the psychiatric field of logotherapy. In an attempt to refrain from boring all my non-nerd readers (as I myself am a nerd) I’ll not delve too far into the explanation of this form of psychotherapy except to say it was existential in nature. Essentially Frankl believed that all things–even those of a grossly negative nature–bore meaning and that, upon analysis, we could each find something of substance and meaning in everything from daily minutia to the more sordid realities of life; that purpose could be shrouded in even the darkest of life’s rifts. His philosophy illustrates how we can, both individually and collectively, endure some trauma and take from it something of such overwhelming significance that it can bolster us to a place of enlightened ability. That we can create a momentum that promises to carry us to a more positive place with nothing more than a handful of bad memories and traumatic burdens, is refreshing and perhaps, at times,  more than a little daunting.

But, wait. It gets better. Well the story doesn’t. It actually gets worse– a lot worse. But where it leads us, now that’s a place we want to be.

You see, Frankl’s words garner a greater consequence as we discover the path his life would follow. Frankl, his parents and his wife would all find themselves prisoners of Thereseinstadt Concentration Camp and later Auschwitz. So yes, things did get worse.  He wound up watching as his wife, mother and father die while captives of the Nazis. Despite the grueling nature of his years of bouncing from one concentration camp to another and watching first hand the atrocities of the holocaust, Viktor developed some really effective and highly-creative coping mechanisms. Among them was giving lectures on psychiatry to imaginary groups of people. You can laugh (let’s face it: the imagery is amusing) but in an environment steeped in suffering and despair, he forged an opportunity for growth by way of a positive diversion.

He was also called upon council the incoming prisoners, aiding them in coping with the grief and stress of their new circumstance. He set up a suicide watch and worked one-on-0ne with the inmates who found themselves most ravaged by the despair of their situation. He took arguably the most devastating of emotional and physical conditions and utilized it as an opportunity for growth and enlightenment. Understanding his circumstances lends greater credibility to his personal theology; how it gives his words greater resonance.

I think grief does serve a purpose. It’s the tie that binds; the common ground upon which we all tread.  That in the dark hours of pain and despair we experience, we can muster the undeniable strength instilled within each of us to triumph over the seemingly insurmountable pain we each suffer.  I hope  these thoughts reach those most in need of encouragement, which will, I’m sure more often than not be me.:)

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” -Viktor Frankl, prisoner 119,104

“The salvation of man is through love and in love.” Words to live by.

XOXO

hollie

Because I honestly think everyone can benefit from reading this amazing book,  here’s the Amazon link. I would love to read your comments regarding your own experience reading it!

http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl/dp/0807014273/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284229525&sr=1-1

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