by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor
In the theater of life, everyone may be amused except the actor ~ George Bernard Shaw
The true art of memory is the art of attention ~ Samuel Johnson, The Idler. No. 74 (1758)
Life, I heard or read someplace, is a concept, though a friend of mine suggests it’s an evolutionary process. It’s the most pleasant if not interesting when healthy in mind and body and I have come to believe it has that purpose, though it may appear to be fleeting. I wanted to understand and to feel, reason and rationalize. Each day is an experience, each day is a potential lesson. I have been told by many scholars that mistakes are nothing more than an experience and each day is an exposure of my consciousness to all that my mind and heart take in.
I don’t know how to really understand life, although I like to tell myself otherwise. I have experienced many facets of life, death, birth, heartbreak, happiness, sorrow, motherhood – the list is lengthy and seems to expand under its own volition. Spirituality is what gave my life a purpose.
In all areas of my spiritual evolution, there was a time that I believed that I needed to study. I wasn’t sure what or how to begin, but it’s been said, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”. And there you were, sitting in Eastside Park, on a bench. Your arms were stretched above you, with your fingers interlocking, resting your head staring somewhere or at something in the sky. My understanding came, or maybe it just returned, I knew you from another time. This concept itself is a huge part of the meaning of my life and my humanity: remembering.
Life can be a dream, it can be a sensation, but it can also be a memory between two eternities – the eternity that preceded my birth and the eternity which will occur upon my death.
Do you remember when you told me that I should close my eyes, you said to rest my head on your shoulder. You said that life was a mystery, and I was mysterious. As has been so often pointed out, I liked it when you wanted me before I ever noticed. When I get what I want, I recall when it changes—change is inevitable. When I don’t get what I want, I question why, what went wrong and at times felt shattered. I get tired of the words – don’t take it personal. Of course, pain is personal. Pain has no vocabulary worthy of its depth. Only the heart knows.
I cried when you told me that you wanted to leave, that our work together was done and I had to learn to engage and to disengage. There was an unspoken emptiness and evolution of beingness.
You said, “because life is just a costume party…and you and I are playing a role”. I was your witch, and you liked that my costume laced down the front, and so I unlaced it and let it fall to the floor and I stood there naked for you. I begged you to stay, to make love to me just one more time. You were always so intense, but you gave me such repeated pleasure. And then you left, and every bit of pain I felt was felt for a reason. I would learn to engage to find my own meaning.
Every bit of pain that comes into my life seems to exist for a biological, psychological, or spiritual reason. I need to work with it to assuage it and find inner peace. And depending on how well I work with it determines the meaning of this life. When I was born, my education was wanted, but there was no one else to determine how or give me an instruction manual, so I designed my own life within the constraints and context in which I was born. I like to think that I am a creator, though all creations are filtered…and yet in a sweat of excitement, and fear, with passion, you are within me, in my life, a beloved memory.