Thursday, June 28, 2012

on Wisdom

I need to tell you about a friend of my husband who has also become my friend, even though we don't see each other very often. The first time I met him, I walked away from a lovely conversation thinking, "That man has an old soul." He exuded a wisdom I could only dream of. The way he carried himself, the words he used in conversation, his way of listening not only to you, but to the world around him put me in awe. Every time we meet I feel renewed.

To me, this is the heart of wisdom. To know is one thing, to understand is deeper. Wisdom comes when you know the difference.

On the other end is a celebrity I met a year ago whose boundless energy and lust for life reminds me of a puppy with a chew toy. He's open, enthusiastic and inquisitive. When I saw him in performance my first thought was, "Wow. What a young soul." And yet, he has wisdom as well. There's an innate understanding of how the world works and what needs to be done to balance it.

For the past several weeks I've been trying to figure out my place on this continuum. While I have a firm belief in Heaven and Hell, I also am of the opinion that one can come back for a "re-do" as often as one wants. So yes, I think there is something to re-incarnation and past lives. The more you visit, the more you learn, the more wisdom you gain. That's my theory and I'm sticking with it!

I am definitely not an old soul. But I recognize some others who are particularly young. So I'm thinking that puts me somewhere in the middle. This isn't my first time around the block, but I have a lot more to go before I stop with the self-doubt and constant self-analysis.

What brought on this reflection? A few days ago I had the opportunity to talk with a woman I've known slightly for several years who really was more an acquaintance than anything else.

But then we chatted and our relationship changed. I found out she was in awe of me and she called me "wise." She also used the word "wisdom" as in, it was something I had. Could've knocked me off my seat with the proverbial feather. She looked at me like I look at my husband's friend.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about that conversation since. Me? Wise? Me, who can't figure out how to market a novel well enough so I could retire early? Me, who tries always to be the Tigger but knows she's really an Eeyore at heart? Me, who's always searching for a better way to do things because the first (or second, or third) try didn't work? Me, wise?

On the one hand, my ego is soaring. It's doing the happy dance and grinning from ear-to-ear, shouting affirmation all over the place. Egos are like that.

On the other hand, my practical side is standing there with its arms crossed and shaking its head, calmly stating, "No, you're not. You just put on a good show. You're not wise, you're smart. You've got a lot -- a LOT -- to learn yet."

Where is reality? That's what my mind has been preoccupied with. Am I wise? My husband keeps telling me to learn how to graciously accept what other's think of me, so I'm starting to understand I might have finally accumulated some wisdom over the years. Do I have more to learn? Oh, yeah! TONS!

To say, however, that that puts me in the middle of the pack is a cop-out, though. It's leaving my life unexamined, which Socrates would not approve of. Although I called this a continuum above, I'm beginning to think it's a line that keeps changing its parameters. The closer I get to one end, the farther away that end moves.

And I think that's okay. No matter how much knowledge you gain, there's always more to learn. And every time I think I understand something, I discover there are deeper layers. Maybe wisdom is just another name for the journey?

LOL Okay. Enough heavy stuff for one blog post. Play safe!

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