The Hardest Work
April 10, 2019 • 3 minutes
Photo above by Demetria Provatas, me above the Hudson River in New York
I’ll admit that I feel my work over the last year, and maybe longer, has been dark. It’s been some dark times lately, for many people. And my own individual suffering was increased by a series of mistakes I made that resulted in an abusive situation I had a difficult time extracting myself from.
I’m not asking anyone to listen to the difficulties, as I have had several willing and loving friends and family members to listen. It’s strange though, how after leaving a traumatic situation, it still can haunt your waking and dreaming for months and even years. I guess for some it can take the form of a permanent illness.
I want to turn a corner, though. I have lately been thinking about what I am For rather than Against. And in the midst of difficulties, as the result of mistakes, a person can learn a lot. I have often wondered why the route I chose over the last span of lifetime has been so hard on myself: isolating, threadbare, tumultuous, uncertain: you name it, I’ve probably been through it. I have a theory that it has been a kind of Jedi training, to strip away all that is unnecessary.
When I look in the mirror, I see a changed person. Nowadays, a rather dried out, tanned one, from the New Mexico climate. But there is rigidity in my face and a quiet depth in my eyes that may not have been so clear before. There is also light and warmth. I think the laying-on of sufferings of late has indeed changed me. But the goodness and light I have been given will win out in the end.
No, I’m not a victim. I made all the choices I made, with awareness there would be a a certain result, and that is a privilege. Some have no choices at all.
Since I still have choice and will, and strength, energy, and light left in me, I, by code of my own ethics, must use it for good. I have such a hard time trying to understand that though. It is so hard to “help.” It is so hard to know how to say things to people that are both understanding yet challenging. And in the end, should I be the one challenging, understanding, doing good, “helping?”
If I could summarize it all and what I want to do about it, it would be in this book, this beast, this long line of words I’m trying to publish: A Body of Water. I think it’s my best work yet, and is the closest I’ve come to “helping” anything. I really believe in it.
I always come back to something my mom says, again and again: “The hardest work is the work we do on ourselves.” It’s true, because our self shapes the world. Not just through actions, but through view. Our Self is what looks out on Earth, has all these thoughts, divines right from wrong, in our own conduct and others. So I am happy to say, that the work I have done has been the hardest work. The work on myself.
All for now,