Comments are the life-blood of any blog and mine is no different. For me, though, they are also the fuel that drives the blog. So today we are delving into a bit of history based upon a comment from this weekend. “Why do you waste time on expecting people to better themselves?”
My instant responsive thought was like what many of you most likely would have replied: “Why not?” That quick comeback really does not do the question or the person saying credit. In my case, I thought it sincerely since the whole series during this time is about just that very thing. Still, I can certainly understand where such a question might come from and the frustration that created it.
Gertrude Stein was a very talented woman who gave the literary world a vast wealth of experimental prose. She played around with organized formats of literature and defended every innovative technique she explored. She is most famous, however, for her role as a hostess, a hostess to a group she labeled the “Lost Generation”.
For the beginning of the twentieth century, Paris was “the” place to be if one was an artist, a creative soul whose voice was illustrated through the fine arts. Writers especially found themselves at 27 Rue de Fleurus, the salon of Gertrude Stein. World War I had been depressing for the idealistic of the world and many of these found a haven in Gertrude Stein’s soirees. Soon the world would call them home as World War II fired the once again destructive guns of anti-humanity and the winds of war scattered the Lost Generation. For a decade, though, this group of talented authors found a community that allowed them to exist and thrive. They found a garden plot in which to grow.
The point is that every generation has its “lost” element. William Shakespeare utilized that “lost” element in each of his main characters and the fact that they have survived for over four hundred centuries tells us that we still search to better ourselves.
I believe in the ability of mankind to grow and become something greater than we were yesterday because we no longer are dependent to cook our meals on a stick over a barely lit campfire. We have creature comforts in many parts of the world, comforts made possible because someone saw a way to make something better.
The problem is not “if” we can better ourselves. The issue is “Will we?” It takes courage to change our routines, to step outside of our so-called comfort zones and grow. Courage is not only something that compels us to help save someone from a burning building. It is also the key ingredient in our becoming better today than we were yesterday.
The person attempting sobriety or an escape from addiction is a tremendously courageous person. The strength of character and the determination involved with living each hour trying to be better than the last is phenomenal. Such a person is cultivating self-love and knows it is the hardest thing to do. They not only must battle the physical cravings but also create a new environment in which to live, a new way of speaking and acting, and – most importantly – discover new paths to walk.
Hopefully, your gardening season does not require something so monumental but if it does, please accept my admiration. Also know that I believe you can do this. The rest of us also have a few hard tasks ahead. We need to cultivate the soil of our souls and plant new habits that will lead us to better living and successful ventures. Most importantly, we need to be at peace with our actions and ourselves.
Self-love is really self-knowledge. Steve Maraboli has been quotes before in my blog posts and I quote him now. “The most powerful relationship you’ll ever have is the relationship you have with yourself.” Yogi Bhajan says it this way: “You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” Everything has its place but taking time to know and grow ourselves is the most important and lasting garden we can ever plant.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Did Ralph Waldo Emerson know how scary it was to cultivate self-love when he wrote that? I believe so. Carl Jung did when he wrote “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. “ Life is messy and scary but you know what? We all live it every day. I am just asking you to live with some love in your heart for you – real love, not ego. Take time to care for yourself and find yourself.