The road up and the road down is one and the same

My emotions have been running the gamut since my mother passed away on November 11. I can go from feeling perfectly happy to anger and feeling just down-right morose in a matter of seconds. Granted, I have always had the ability to be a little moody, but this – this I don’t seem to have any control over. Emotions seem to come and go in the blink of an eye. I’m aware of the whole grief thing, and I believe I expect way too much of myself sometimes. I’m trying to just allow myself to feel however it is that I feel and just be okay with that. This – this whole change thing is not an easy task for me.

So, I’ve been reading a bit more of my favorite Philosophers which I’m finding helps to ground me, and helps to keep me in the center of where it is I need to be.Heraclitus is one of my favorites, and his little bits of wisdom I have always found to be so applicable in my life.

  • Nothing endures but change.
  • The road up and the road down is one and the same.
  • You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.
  • Deliberate violence is more to be quenched than a fire.
  • Bigotry is the sacred disease
  • If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.
  • Much learning does not teach understanding.
  • Hide our ignorance as we will, an evening of wine soon reveals it.

Every time I go and sit by the ocean I think of the never stepping in to the same river twice. Susan asked me once why I love to go to watch the ocean so much, and I told her that it’s because it’s always different. It may be that we go to the same spot every time, but the water is always different which makes the view always different. The energy is different, the air is different, and the smell is different. It’s never the same – ever.

I’m discovering that this is the way of life – it’s never the same – ever.  Hence the: “Nothing endures but change” thing.   The world does seem to be changing at an alarming rate – but perhaps it only seems to be moving and changing faster because I’m older and because I now understand how quickly it can all be over and we can be gone. The time it takes for you to be breathing and not breathing can’t be measured – it just is…You are here – and then you are not.

Where we go after we die, and what happens to our soul, is certainly something up for debate. I believe people believe what they must to not fear dying. We have to believe that our life has mattered, that we’ve made a difference, and that we’ve brought joy and love and goodness to the world in some way. Well – at least this is what I have to believe. And… if we haven’t had the best of lives, we’d like to think that where we’re going is better and happier and not filled with so much hate and violence.

I don’t have the answers about where we go or what happens; I only know that since my mother has passed I hear a woman singing in my home every now and then.  It’s not loud singing, it’s soft and comforting. I heard it last night when I was watching Monday Night Football and Susan was reading. I didn’t say anything, I just smiled and then Susan looked up from her book and said: “Do you just hear that woman singing?”  “If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it…”

I remember those folks who used to come into the restaurant my mother worked in when I was a little girl.  They were gruff and complaining about how the world was changing and how it wasn’t good and it would ruin the country and society.  They were concerned that the “colored” would get the vote and live within the confines of our little white village! They were concerned that women would no longer know their place, and that television would ruin society.  Sadly – some of these concerns still permeate our politics some 50 years later… Change can indeed be a good thing, but not always. When change comes and it’s evil, we must find the courage and fight for that which is good and right.

Your life is simply that – your life. Whatever path you travel up or down – it’s still your life.  Hence the “The road up and the road down is one and the same” little bit of wisdom. It’s your choice, but the road is always the same. You can travel up the road to bigger and better things or you can travel down the road and wallow…

My road is well-traveled up and down; what I understand now is that it is my road, my path, my life, and it can all be gone in less time than it takes to blink. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I had done something or said something or written something.  I’m going to travel up the road – one more time…

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Comment by Jeanne Sathre on December 4, 2012 at 6:16pm

I'm sorry for your loss and hope that comfort continues to greet you on your path, in song of other unexpected ways.

Comment by L'Heure Bleue on December 4, 2012 at 11:24pm

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm grateful for the bits of wisdom you shared, "much learning does not teach understanding" really struck me as I too have had experiences with my late grandmother. No learning could have prepared me but those experiences gave me understanding, only her body is no longer here for me to touch. She has been gone over 20 years and I cried from missing her this week, I don't mind, she made a difference in the world. She is worth ten million tears.

I hope you keep hearing the singing. Peace and comfort to you.

Comment by Zanelle on December 5, 2012 at 2:27am

Wonderful writing and lots to think about.  Thank you!

Comment by Joan H on December 5, 2012 at 6:21am

I read this on your site, and shared it on FB. It is a wonderful article, Barb. So much to think about.

Comment by Sharon Watts on December 5, 2012 at 6:57am

I like your voice--and the way you share your philosophy. And especially your last paragraph. Sorry for your loss as well, Barbara.

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