Driving with the Brakes on Uphill

I have no brakes on
…analysis is for those
who are paralyzed by life. 

Anais Nin

A scary thought: Do people live their lives the way they drive? I wonder sometimes. Having taken a basic course on the Sebring racetrack, you learn the techniques to be efficient and fast. When to go slow, when to hit the gas and when to brake. Kinda like life. As I have been traversing mountains of late, I have noticed how some drivers brake up hill. Constant application of the brakes while going up the mountain. Used to bother me but now it fascinates me. How fear, lack of competence, and perhaps unfamiliarity can trigger such non-intuitive living, I mean driving.

My mother used to say to people who inquired about her health, “Going downhill with the brakes on!” My mom’s wry wink at age. The metaphor always brought a smile to others. Do what you must to slow things down and make the most of it—is what I got from her light-hearted response. But for those of us getting on in our years, we have the opportunity to see the virtues of necessity—getting old is part of the inevitable gravitational pull of time with benefits 😊 Yeah, I know the sophomoric thought we all have had—“If I only knew this when I was younger.” Like saying I wish wine could be aged faster. But experience can make things better. 

A hundred years ago Claude Monet refuse cataract surgery, to overcome his “youthful errors” and enjoy painting some of his most celebrated works with haloes and haziness.

Monet’s Houses of Parliament in the Fog–Was it foggy?

The acclaimed film director Akira Kurosawa wrote to his distinguished colleague Ingmar Bergman to acknowledge his 77th birthday. 
A human is born a baby, becomes a boy, goes through youth, the prime of life and finally returns to being a baby before he closes his life. This is, in my opinion, the most ideal way of life. I believe you would agree that a human becomes capable of producing pure works, without any restrictions, in the days of his second babyhood. 
I love this. The cycle of life can open our eyes and hearts to the childlike innocence and truths that we have conveniently filtered out as grown-ups. 

The profound philosophy and spiritual values of wabi-sabi that espouses the beauty in all things imperfect, incomplete and impermanent:

  • Truth comes from the understanding of self and nature
  • Greatness exists in the inconspicuous
  • “Beauty” can be coaxed from “ugliness”

Excerpted from Leonard Koren

Mary Oliver’s profound words
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.

Not your job “work”. The “work” that defines your life, your purpose. When have you been astonished lately?

Whatever age you are is perfect. Mute the regrets and let them push you to focus on this moment and eliminate future regrets. See the benefits of your experience and your perspective—no matter how hazy. Conjure the care-free and unconditional baby within you to generate pure acts of love and joy. Stop braking up hills and down hills. Don’t let your age or stage drive you crazy. Let go. Surrender to who you are and can be. 

Thanks for reading. John

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