Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Winds of Fate


One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sails,
And not the gales,
Which tell us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;
As we voyage along through life:
'Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
I’ve been wondering what do and how to proceed ever since our farm and our once upon a time dreams sold in December. I’ve been thinking about how life moves through changes of the weather inside events and feelings. I wonder about what choices we have in addressing those changes, what choices we have when life throws some wild winds at us.

Yesterday, I came upon this poem by the late Ella Wheeler Wilcox. She was a woman who wrote in the early 1900s from a place of new thought and inspired choices. She may sound idealistic to some when it comes to addressing life’s challenges. But then again, complaining and even resisting reality rarely accomplish anything of note. What about co-creating my reality with the Universe?

Yes, I feel afraid and sad. Yes, I feel a little lost. Now what? Set the sails differently. And maybe just see where the winds can take me.

Ms. Wilcox’s poem really says it all. But I also added today’s entry from my journal. I offer this to you not as way to demean or diminish whatever real feelings and struggles you may have. I offer this with hope that there are many ways Through whatever storms come upon this life and this world. I offer this not with knowing that “positive thinking” will change anything outside. Instead I am just musing about the only real freedom we may have in life, the freedom to choose how to address whatever confronts us. 
 Today, I started my journal entry as feeling sad, and then ended in another place altogether. I began the journal entry with asking myself: “What if I could be happy now, anyway?” And this is what came:

What if I claimed a Joy that opens the way through the losses?
I’m not talking about the smile of the psychic manipulator,
or the shrug that passively resists the reality of losses.
I’m not talking about the one who murders his own feelings
in order to sabotage the real gift of losses.
What I’m wanting is lasting Joy, the idiot savant smile
which rises no matter the weather of e-motions
swirling around the losses.

I’m talking about the talk inside that says:
“What the hell, might as well be grateful.
Might as well feel all my feelings.
Might as well know the warmth of the sun within me.
Might as well be grateful.”

Last year our farm was lost to us in a gale of consequences.
And this year it seems like it is me who was lost in a storm.
The life I thought I’d live is trailing away in the wind.
The life I yearn to live is only a point on the compass of my craft.
Might as well be with what is and set my sails according to the winds.
Steer my way into new headings.
And besides, what’s so wrong about being lost for a while?

If the winds are howling at the bow I can tack or heave-to for a time.
There is nothing wrong with respecting the might of a storm.
I have my craft, after all, this body and mind
which sail on an ocean of a thousand wind whipped sun sparkled cares.
I can set the sheets how I want to.
I can pull in genny and reef the main.
And when the storm rises I can smile.
I can open my mouth to the wind and the lashing of the rain.
I can be the idiot who screams to the wind:
“I am alive! I Am Alive!”

The bow leaps through rollers and fetch,
diving into the breathing mountain of sea,
then rising in glittering spray.
Behind us, the land we tilled and loved recedes from view.
The clinging to what’s lost moves further and further behind,
I become smaller and brighter in the wide open ocean.
For a moment the illusions are gone.
It’s just the craft, the human and the sea.
Soon, even the horizon is hidden in the gale.

The sea anchor is set out to calm the headlong rush into the swell.
The hatches are sealed to protect the warmth of the hearth.
The boom is arching to the lee and pulling me like a siren into the new world.
The hand moves past sadness and
the pen splashes the words I never imagined until now:
“I am free and I am alive.”


© Copyright Richard Sievers, March 2016, All Rights Reserved