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ambiguous musings

Posted by archivist (repost) on September 16, 2003 at 18:05:15

found this buried in journeys, i think it encapsulates our collective processes.......

yeah, leaving the Family is a real bitch. When I left I kept expecting some dire accident to happen -- plane crash, stuff like that. It took several months before I really began to shake it.

After that, a few years later, I met someone who was just leaving. I always figured I had not made much progress since I had left. However, when I met this person, who was just beginning to leave, I was struck with two overwhelming sentiments.

One, I actually had made some progress down the post-Family road.

Two, it had been an incredibly painful process. I am so glad I did not know the pain that lay ahead when I left. When I realised the pain that lay ahead for this person, I almost wept. As I wept regularly during the first two years or so after I left.

For me, I can only handle leaving the Family once in my life. And while I can encourage people to leave, I try not to do it in a rah rah manner. As we all know, it is a long slog, as we not only try to survive, but also to make sense of our past, not to mention the present and future. It is not a case of 'leave the Family and everything will be better.' Rather, 'leave the Family and there are opportunities for things to be better.' Maybe.

I think what keeps me going is the fact that whatever reduced expectations I may have now, when contrasted with the 'save the world and save it now!' Family mentality, is that I can live my life, however humble, with a degree of integrity and dignity. That is what each of us who leave have an opportunity to do -- to live our lives with integrity and decency.

I have a plaque that contains a quote from Mother Teresa. "We can do no great things -- Only small things with great love." For now at least, I subscribe to such an outlook.

I have come to beleive that life -- it's tragedies, shortcomings, ambiguities, occasional highs and moments of clarity, and almost continual fog and murkiness -- is meant to be lived. And perhaps, just perhaps, as we live it we can find some way to do some good in some perhaps insignificant way.

I'd like to pass on two thoughts that I came across recently. I found them thought-provoking, and I hope some others may think so too.

The first was a tribute given to a volunteer in a charity. "Because of her, we learned that to live and let live is not enough, and to live and help others live is not too much."

Secondly, this is an excerpt from Marcel Proust's 'Within a Budding Grove.'

"There is no man," he [Elstir] began, "however wise, who has not at some period in his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory. And yet he ought not entirely to regret it, because he cannot be certain that he has indeed become a wise man -- unless he has passed through all the fatuous or unwholesome incarnations by which that ultimate stage must be preceded. I know that htere are young fellows, the sons and grandsons of famous men, whose masters have instilled into them nobility of mind and moral refinement in their schooldays. They have, perhaps, when they look back upon their past lives, nothing to retract; they can, if they choose, publish a signed account of everything they have ever said or done; but they are poor creatures, feeble descendents of doctrinaires, and their wisdom is negative and sterile. We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to view the world."

Peace and blessings