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The Flight of Wisdom to the Centre of the Universe and Back…

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Centre of the universe

Please fasten your seatbelt. Your adventure begins…

When you’re a really little kid, you’re the Centre of the Universe.

You can do anything you want, and Mommy will still wipe your messy bottom and call you the BEST and CUTEST, right?

You are golden stardust, a Princess or Prince.

This is the perfect time of life to make your hit-list and murder anyone you hate and walk away with an impish smile. You have a short-term Get Out of Jail Free card. Congratulations!

Time and timing are everything… yes…

Time is a beautiful gift that’s lost on the young and naive.

Time is forever. Time has no bounds or borders.

But we mortal humans do.

No one tells you this but… for the next 40, 50, 60, 100 years… you’re just a tiny dot of a planet surrounded by infinity and black holes.

It’s a f*&%ing shocker when all that golddust sloughs off and responsibility is in your own hands. No one will wipe your bottom anymore. What’s with that?

Nobody will offer to shave your face in the morning, or insert a tampon on your behalf (if they do, get out your can of bear spray).

You’re adrift in a world of others who are also tiny planets. Try killing someone now – even accidentally – and you’re sporting a stylish orange jumpsuit before you can say Dead Man Walking.

The “adrift” shock wears off, evolving into a sense of independent power when you feel your muscles grow strong and agile and energetic. Your mind absorbs and synthesizes and swells like an empty sponge in a full bathtub.

Like the universe, you expand and expand and learn incalculable facts and lessons until after a long period of decades and trial, you begin to understand the meaning of the word wisdom.

Wisdom’s not a mere jumble of letters in a dictionary anymore, but something that is earned and real. You’re now a Guardian of the Universe. Congratulations again!

guardian

Time, which has always been an endless renewable resource, somehow sheds its disguise and begins to have real meaning too. You can almost touch it and gaze at it with wonderment, and perhaps… even a germination of fear.

Wonderment because important stuff (physical, emotional, spiritual) can only be acquired through the passage of time, and fear because time soon becomes an hourglass of diminishing sand.

And one day… one day… hopefully far off in the future…. your universe slowly and then more rapidly, begins to draw back, picking up speed, and shrinks.

Days are passed searching for reading glasses and keys and removing body hair that surely no caring god would ever inflict on his/her/their worst enemy.

Little owies become daily companions, like a hot morning latte.

Seriously, in my younger days, when some wise senior said “life is pain” I thought it was metaphorical; not, like, “everything from the neck down is arthritis and joint replacements.”

If you’re fortunate, your ability to shave yourself, and slip on your own absorption pads, will last until you’ve squeezed the last droplets of time from the sponge, the final grains of sand from the hourglass. This is my wish for me and for you.

Now, with the wisdom – the mystical treasure you finally possess – you see yourself slipping back into a time and space where once again, you’re the Centre of the Universe. Congratulations on completion of your roundtrip adventure.

All that wisdom sits proudly on a revered library shelf in your head, waiting for an inquisitive young mind seeking guidance in their daily challenges.

A young mind that knows what it is to be the Centre of the Universe, and is heading out on the great journey to the stars building their own bookshelf of wisdom.

wisdom bookshelf 2

 

The Day My Dad Was Sick And I Began My Journey to Wisdom

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father son

My Dad and I were never close.

Nope, not even close to close.

We were acquaintances who happened to live under the same roof for 16 years. Ghosts treading the same floors in different dimensions.

I’ve spent many years feeling bitterness and resentment towards the man who housed, fed and clothed me.

There was no abuse … sure, the occasional routine spanking – it was still the era of spare the rod and spoil the child – no, my beef with my father was benign neglect.

He never joined in with my mother at my school events, attended my hockey games, or helped with delivering my newspapers when the snow was deep the way Mom did. He never helped with my homework or joined me in making little plastic car and airplane models, never threw a baseball my way. He didn’t teach me how to drive or tell me that one day I’d have to shave hair from the edges of my ears (really?!?).

I think that many of us harbour some ill feelings towards at least one of our parents.

It’s pretty amazing that these childhood feelings can linger for decades afterwards, which perhaps helps me understand why we prosecute war criminals and sexual predators (yes, YOU Harvey W.) many years after the acts occurred. The hurts stick to you like flypaper.

In the early winter of 1974 I was on a French class school trip to Quebec City … what joyous fun and freedom it was for a 16 year old to share a hotel room with two buddies in a “foreign” city…

… to experience the Quebec Winter Carnival, taste the frozen maple taffy, cavort with Bonhomme Carnaval, eat filet mignon in an historic old restaurant, and sip French wine (yes, underaged!) with classmates from long plastic canes designed to secretly tote alcohol.

And there were girls on the trip! Even more, there were teenage girls in the Quebec streets who spoke… French! Oh Mon Dieu…

Bonhomme carnaval

Then the phone rang in my hotel room and the fun ended all too soon.

Only a few months after my Mom’s unexpected death, my Dad had been diagnosed with acute leukemia and was being aggressively treated in hospital with nasty chemo chemicals to combat the blood cancer. There were yeast sores all through his mouth and he could barely drink. The chemotherapy designed to save him was brutal and life threatening all on its own.

The voice on the phone said that he was dwindling – quickly – and I should perhaps book a train ticket and return home ASAP if I wanted to say a final goodbye.

I “bravely-in-a-boys-don’t-cry-sort-of-way” held back any tears and began packing and lamenting the end of my teenage frolic en francais.

Shortly after I received another phone call… Larry, don’t worry, he probably isn’t as bad as we first thought, he should survive the next couple of days. Stay there and enjoy your time in Quebec.

Right.

Turns out my Dad survived the chemo (and leukemia) and lived another reasonably healthy 7 years.

And you might think that we became close (or closer) as a result of his illness and the near-death experience, but we didn’t. The big chill remained. The Hollywood happy ending never occurred in real life.

But. Over many years I’ve let the bitter taste dissipate. Melt and absorb back into the universe. It becomes so dilute that it can’t do any harm anymore.

I’m not perfect. I’ve realized that I’m a product of my upbringing and environment and so was my Dad. In his shoes: with his parents, school, and life experiences, would I be any different? I don’t know.

My Dad wasn’t a bad guy. In many ways, he was a good fellow, just not a good Dad to me.

I will never totally understand the man he was, but I understand now through my own life history how a life is molded and shaped … how diamond is often imperfectly formed over time from coal through heat and pressure.

You might say I’ve grown a tiny bit … which is really a synonym for older and … wait for it …

WISE?

WISDOM?

Maybe?

buddha