Today I’m a bit down. I’d rather not label it sad or mad, so let’s just say I’m a grump. My nose is out of joint, my knickers are in a bunch, I got up on the wrong side of the bed. It doesn’t really matter why, and it’s not one thing or another. It’s a combination of things, it’s everything and nothing all all.
“The world is all that is the case," a friend used to say to me. Wolf, if you are reading this, hello, and tell me how I screwed up what I am about to say next, just like in the good old days when we used to wax philosophic at the coffee shop. (I'm nothing if not sentimental.) I take that to mean that no matter what is going on and no matter how you feel the world is as it should be. That's my (sentimental) take on it. Wittgenstein suggests that philosophy is a bunch of made-up problems and made-up answers, and that trying to understand the world through these terms is a bunch of bullshit. I think that is true because I rarely encounter a human problem that there is just one answer to.
One of my favorite poems is "Keeping Our Small Boat Afloat" by Robert Bly. He says "We are admired in a thousand galaxies for our grief." I love the idea that our grief reflects how great our capacity for love is. I love the idea that it is what makes us unique as humans, this capacity for love and, inevitably, for grief. I personally think that includes other species too, but again, I'm sentimental. He also says, "don't expect us to appreciate creation or avoid mistakes." Bly speaks to the grump in us, the stubborn ego that resents being born and fumbles along, making the same same mistakes over and over.
Another of my favorites, David Whyte, says that "anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you." And then he says it again, because he says everything twice. When he came to Bend he said he often repeats lines when he reads, because people don't really listen the first time. It also has a hypnotic effect, if you ever get the chance to see him don't drive for twenty minutes after. (Kidding, not kidding.) He also said that when he wrote "anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you," he didn't necessarily mean in intimate or family relationships. He said that sometimes, in long-term relationships, you have to keep finding a window back to each other.
I think that the world is as it should be, regardless of how I feel. I think I have control over very little, and I might as well roast a chicken and throw in some of those potatoes. I might as well scrub them clean and rub down the chicken with olive oil and salt. What grief would you be admired for in other galaxies? What or who brings you alive? What is your window back?