Life has such a lovely way of testing us exactly where we need to be tested. This might seem at first like some cosmic switchboard, that keeps track of all the lessons, and makes sure we always get what we need or deserve. But I think life is less like Zeus’s lightning bolt, and more like Aphrodite’s sea: Life just throws love at us, carelessly and playfully, and love has a way of seeping into the cracks. It’s like we test a flat tire not by knowing where the holes are, but by dunking it in water and seeing where the bubbles form by themselves. It’s like a chain, that if you just continue to pull on it, will always break at its weakest point. We all have weak points, and these are bound to get tested simply because life hits us constantly, with everything, and from all sides.
But on top of that, our souls do yearn for the experience; and we have a deep, subconscious knack for finding what we need: We are, deep down, so hungry to be filled with love; and we look for the people who will take us there, whether we notice it or not. Introverts love extroverts, and vice versa; chefs fall in love with hunger strikers, physicists fall in love with dancers, and hermits fall in love with social butterflies. There is an element of reason to all this, and in our poems we call it “destiny”.
But there is another beauty to this cosmic play: Life not only knows where to hit us, but it also knows when to strike. And believe it or not, it often - I think most often - strikes us at the same strategic moment, and that is: just before we really feel ready.
This can be a pretty frustrating experience. I’ve noticed throughout my life that this is when the transformative crises so often want to pop up and throw me for a spin. I always feel like, “Oh, I’ve been working on this… and I know I need to confront it… but I’m not ready yet. Why now??“ It’s the spiritual version of those “five more minutes” that we would always ask of our parents in the morning, when we just didn’t want to get out of bed. But here we are - us against the cosmos - and the wave is hitting us for real: Right now, whether we like it or not.
The knowledge that it tends to hit just before we think we’re ready has made things much easier for me, in an almost amusing kind of way, through many bouts of stormy weather… And maybe you have found this in your life, as well? I think that sharing the experience makes it all that much easier for us, as fellow sailors - that we might find the waves easier to face, with this in mind.
When I was 33, living in Israel, I had a pretty clear sense of where my life was going: Settle down, find a wife, start a family. Build a musical career, “choose dental insurance” as Ewan McGregor might have put it*. I was certainly not prepared when, after a particularly rough break-up, I began to have visceral flashbacks of being raped when I was young. Without going into too much detail (I have mentioned this experience before, in other posts), my life fell apart pretty fast, until I found myself in San Francisco, trying to piece it back together.
Did I see that one coming? Obviously not. Did I feel ready? Certainly not. But that’s the third, and perhaps the most beautiful aspect of how life plays with us, that perhaps I’ll leave you with: Life knows when we’re ready. Our souls know. Our innermost yearnings know. And when it’s time, the wave hits you. And if you let it come, you will discover that you are as ready as you will ever be - and on the other side of that wave is an ocean of experience that you have been waiting your whole life to find.
Surfs up :)
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Photo by Hernan Pauccara, Pexels.com
*Quote from the movie "Trainspotting" (1996)