Yesterday I had lunch with one of my best friends. We talked for two hours straight, about life and change and patterns and life. I gave advice and got advice and on the way home, I thought about that, about how wonderful it is to have friends to share what we’ve experienced along our path. And then I thought, but what have I learned?  Do I have any insight to offer?

Because the more I learn, the less I know.

I feel like that in itself is just the right amount of wisdom. To understand that there is so much I don’t know, can’t know, will never know.

I am totally okay with the not knowing. Actually I am more than okay with it, I love that I have figured this out, relatively early in my life. It feels a little zen, that phrase, and is one of my mantras, along with this one: the only person whose behavior I can control is my own.

It all sounds so simple, until you think about it, apply it, live it.
I guess that is the whole concept behind a zen phrase, right?

And perhaps I am just really stupid and should have figured both things out a long time ago. But I didn’t, I only just figured them out in the last five years. But these two phrases have, in so many ways, changed my life. For the better, and better late than never.

Why doesn’t life come with a manual? They don’t teach you this stuff in school, they teach you math and science and grammar (well, they used to teach you grammar) and maybe even how to make a pizza, or build a bird house. But they don’t teach you how much you don’t know about life. They don’t even hint at it, they just send you out in the world to be blindsided. No one tells you how many times, in how many ways, your heart will be broken. How many moments of joy you will witness. How many people will mark your days. No one teaches you to appreciate the beauty that is life.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have listened, back then. When you are young, you think you already know everything. I wonder what happens when you are old, really, really old? Do you understand at the end, that you know nothing? And is that a relief? I feel like it would be.
I feel like that is where I want to end up.

I chose this path, and I like the direction I am headed in.

I know that much.

And just now, that is enough.

20 Responses to “wisdom”

  • beth Says:

    kind of like the missing manual you don’t get when you bring a baby home from the hospital….

    i guess that’s why it’s called “life”…..or we could change it to “you’ll figure it out”……someday 🙂

  • Kathryn Says:

    It is kind of funny that when you’re younger you think you know everything and as you get older you realize just how much you don’t know.

    It only dawned on me recently that the more I learn the more I realize that what I know is just a dip in a very big ocean.

    Great thought provoking post.

  • Lisa's Chaos Says:

    I kinda wish life had come with a manual. But those are things I figured out pretty early in life too, but those years before, wow, they were doozies! lol

  • Debi Says:

    the not knowing is a lot of fun – you’re like a baby for whom everything is a discovery, finding out how much your hands can do, how cool it is to get up on your feet and move.

    and they don’t teach you because they don’t know – they haven’t figured it out yet.

  • whollyjeanne Says:

    another beautiful post here . . . me, i find that what i know changes. all the time. at least you know how to choose good friends. that’s knowing a lot.

  • Sally G. Says:

    Thank you for reminding me of this wisdom. I’ve known it myself from time to time. And then, I forget – and go about the business of feeling like I should know so much more by now, should have accomplished so much more by now, should have contributed so much more significance by now, etc.

    And then, I remember that there is great peace and insight in honouring all that I don’t yet know. And I revive, and move forward yet again.

    You are such a blessing …

  • Cristina Says:

    I think… if we knew how many times our hearts would break, just how bittersome that would be and feel… we would all become a colony of Boo Radleys. Just never ever leave our homes. And if that happened, we wouldn’t ever step out into the sun and experience the joy that comes from our hearts being full. I think sometimes it’s almost better to not know, so we can just have virginal experiences. Pure experiences. We learn compassion that way. I think.

  • amy oscar Says:

    I love this post. So much. I have a little piece of paper on my desk that I scribbled one day while doing my radio show. A caller had phoned with a question that I simply couldn’t help her with. I did try. But finally, I just stayed on the phone with her, talking about her situation, listening. I keep that note with me now during every show. It says: I don’t have to know. Focus on service.

    She taught me so much. LIke this post, it was simply being present to the idea that I will never know all there is to know – and certainly won’t know it about anyone else’s path. But if I stay there, heart open, just witnessing their experience (and my own) I’m doing enough.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  • Marcie Says:

    If we were given a manual with all of life perfectly mapped out for us when we’re young..we wouldn’t have any way of learning these important life lessons for ourselves. Something about getting older..and accepting that life is a process..and that there really is so little we know and that we can ultimately control.
    Can’t wait until I’m truly old..and finally wise!

  • Skye Says:

    It is so true that “they” don’t know, hence all the wild dances-in-the-fire-as-we-learn/burn. But here’s what I believe, once we start realizing, tell a kid, comfort a pre-teen, hold presence, not knowing a damn thing except you love them, when a friend is in a dark night of the soul.
    We can add our energetic 2 cents to the jar. Soon it will be overflowing.

  • Dian Reid Says:

    funny … (the interesting kind, not the haha kind) when i was younger, my parents actually tried to teach me some of that life stuff. that hearts would be broken, bad things would happen, and i would survive. and even wehn my heart was broken, bad things happened, and i had survived, somehow it wasn’t at all like they said it would be. life requires personal experience, and there is no substitute, no manual that will change that … because until we’re ready to learn for ourselves, we just won’t hear it. but still … why with the teaching of how to make bird houses?!

  • Studio JRU Says:

    Great post! I think if life came with a manual… it just wouldn’t be nearly as fun! 😉 This is the fun part!

    Fellow Flyer… Jennifer 🙂

  • Amy Says:

    Enough is good. Very, very good.

  • jillsy Says:

    i wish i knew more people like you. i’m so tired of people who think they know everything and cut you off or don’t listen because they aren’t interested in anyone else’s experiences, opinions or knowledge.

    i’m like you, i love to learn and the only way to do that is to listen and pay attention.

  • Jo Says:

    I’ve been here in your precious ‘bubble space’ for a while, catching up on missed posts… gosh, hunnie, you really have a ‘gift’ for being profoundly thought-provoking… thank you!!!

    I’m slowly realising that’life’ is something we have to simply experience for ourselves – previous instruction or guiding manuals would probably only add to the confusion as who can say whether a choice is actually a good or a bad one?!! But what a journey it is: full of twists and turns, murky misty valleys and awe-inspiring views from towering peaks, pot-holes in the road and dark dead-ends, exhilerating slopes and up-hill trudges… a wonderful adventure!! Ultimately we’re all probably heading for the same destination but via different routes and it would be pretty boring otherwise. When I was young I thought we all had to follow the same path, but how I realise that the options are in fact truly mind-boggling!

  • elk Says:

    let me know when someone writes the manual!! I think you said it in your post listening to each other during your visit made you feel so good…that is what it is all about..someone who listens

  • Leah C Says:

    Just discovered you through Kim’s “Stay-cation”…love your writing style and your words really struck home with me…this post in particular:) Life would be easier with an instruction manual, that’s for sure.

  • Barbara Says:

    Blog-Hopped over from Jillsy’s – she was right! This is wonderful and so true! I think they probably did try to tell us this in school, but we just didn’t listen (I’m guessing because I’ve tried telling my kids, and they don’t believe me!)

  • Bossy Betty Says:

    Lovely post! A manual would be nice. A warranty and a money-back guarantee would be nice too….

    I enjoyed reading this very much. Love the peaceful ending.

    Glad I found your blog!

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