"Life is a gift, life is happiness, each moment could have been an eternity of happiness. Si jeunesse savait! [If youth knew!]" ~Dostoyevsky
Dostoyevsky was scheduled to die by firing squad, but was given a stay of execution at the last moment by the Tsar. This experience of believing himself dead and then realising he was again alive was a profound one for Dostoyevsky. I have some small glimpse into this feeling, as I emerge from a decade that brought the Christchurch earthquakes, the end of my married life and many other changes. I also feel joy at having experienced this decade.
As 2019 fell into the past, I speculated on life, my choices to date and what the future might hold. I realised that the greatest events of my life have been those surrounded by love. Nothing else endures. I had spent years trying to figure out the best way forward – when I was young, it involved notions of “strength” and when I was progressing through life, it involved illusions of “success”. Both were equally dead ends.
When we love others, we project our best selves into the world. I am not talking about those self-serving concepts of “love” in which the other person is used for our own gratification. I am referring to those moments where we try to put the needs of others before our own, where we attempt to step into their existence and understand where they are at any given moment (this is where the joy of being a counsellor arises). This is the greatest gift of our evolved brain – the imagination coupled with compassion that allows us to transcend our own selfish egos, even if briefly. The flip-side of this gift is the part of the psyche that focuses on the self at all costs.
As we move into this new decade, may we nurture the compassion and empathy in ourselves that allows us to transcend our own lives and make positive effects in the lives of others!
That your evolving narratives will bring you strength and joy!