Live In the Layers, Not On the Litter

59325Six hundred and fifty-seven days I have been here to post a thought, a photo or a borrowed contemplation about gratitude. Through business travel, vacations and even illness my faithfulness to my self-assigned daily task never wavered for over a year and nine months. Until yesterday… when travel problems invaded my unbroken string.

A return home from a business trip should have allowed arrival in my home city around 4pm, leaving close to eight hours to post a new installment of goodmorninggratitude. What happened instead was landing here at 2:30am the following morning after a long day of flight delays and cancellations. And so, I can not longer say “I haven’t missed a single day in almost two years”. And you know what? I am not bothered by it.

What I now realize is my goal of posting here each day had an element of “look at me”; “look what I can do” contained within. Yes, there was personal satisfaction to consistently post each day and that was the primary driving force (most of the time). But sometimes it was duty that brought words to my screen; that and little else. How long did I need to prove the point to myself that I could do this? A year? A year and a half? Even six months showed I could, but I became ‘hooked’ instead. The realities of life jumped up to teach me, with the greatest of intentions I had let my self assigned duty to post here become a ‘rut’; the very thing I was trying to avoid. As John Lennon wrote “Life is what happens, while you are making other plans”.

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being abides,
from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which the scavenger angels wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind,
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn.
I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered and I roamed through the wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice directed me:
-Live in the layers, not on the litter-
Though I lack the art to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
From “The Collected Poems” by Stanley J. Kunitz

My unbroken string of posts is broken and that’s just fine! It doesn’t bother me although I would have thought it would. Instead, I get a sense of relief knowing that missing a day or two here and there is of no consequence. Another life lesson taught unexpectedly is the subject for my gratitude this morning.

Our brightest blazes of gladness
are commonly kindled
by unexpected sparks.
Samuel Johnson

About James Browning

A seeker working to grow each day and be a better version of my self. Through sharing I commit myself deeper to my ideals and beliefs.
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