As I have been traveling in India these last three weeks, my mind has been swimming with questions, reflections, insights, and surprises. So why haven’t I written more?
I think there is something in me that has learned to take a wait and see approach to life. I find a lot of comfort in things being tentative, just as I do when things are settled. But particularly when I am riding the waves of emotions and thoughts that come with new experiences I have become hesitant to speak my thoughts right away.
I guess there are a few reasons why that is true.
The first is my relationship with depression. Despite my wife’s occasional complaints that I am dead inside, I actually feel deeply (and she knows that). But one of the ways I have learned to wrestle the bear that is my depression, is to let emotion happen to me, to wash over me, and to remember that it is temporary.
This doesn’t mean that those deep emotions are not real, it just means they are not permanent. After they have washed over me, I don’t dismiss them or forget them. I revisit them to see what of them I want to hold onto. I ask my emotions where they have come from and what they want with me. I promise this isn’t as analytical as it sounds. It’s just slow.
Which takes me to a second reason I am hesitant to speak my thoughts. Sometimes they are on a time delay.
I have such a long fuse and find myself so shocked in the moment by angering or insulting moments that I often feel the emotions of them much later. In the moment I am a peace maker. Later, I’m pissed. But that rarely lasts either. But it has taught me again that my moment by moment feelings are only a part of the story for me.
Again, it is not that the emotions of one moment are more real than the other. But, they are incomplete. I just like to have the whole story. Sometimes I need to ask a normal human being whether I should be mad, or insulted, or excited, and so on (thanks Elise).
The third reason is a piece of advice that a mentor gave me a few years back. She said, “don’t throw pearls before swine”.
Now, I’m not referring to my readers as swine, I swear! This statement is in reference to Jesus’ parable where he told his followers not to throw pearls before swine. My interpretation of this saying, and what my mentor meant by it, was that it can be disappointing and discouraging when you share something with people, hoping for a reaction that does not come.
In my context, she was talking to me about the big ideas I like to play with that sometimes land with a thud when I try to share them with others. It’s not, in my view, about pearls being too good for swine, but of the latter not knowing the value that the giver of pearls has put on the gift they are trying to share.
The swine giving slop to the wearer of pearls may find his gift equally unappreciated or misunderstood.
What this means to me practically, is that when I’m playing with ideas and making sense of my experiences, it is ok to wait a little before I share with others. This is a good lesson for someone who is a verbal processor like I often am.
So really, it’s not you, it’s me.
I will be writing much more about my experiences here in the Himalayas of India. It is a beautiful place with incredibly kind people, even if they don’t always know what to do with my beard and tattoos. It’s ok, I don’t always know what to do in bathrooms with no toilet paper (honestly, is that on YouTube?). That’s the fun of travel.
I have included a few pics here but you can find daily additions on Instagram. My handle is @bjornthebear.