There is no easy way to get to this age. Whatever age you are right now, this minute…it does not matter if you are sixteen or 66…just the fact that we all are simply only a result of the meeting of one sperm out of millions, and one egg, at the precise perfect moment in time, that grows into a human, is hard enough, but here you are, THIS age, alive on this planet. There were days that were hard, and there were days that flowed easily and without a care in the world, and there were lessons after lessons after lessons. From the moment we take our first gulp of air, we begin to learn. “oh, I cry and then I suck and am no longer hungry.” check. “oh if I make this motion with my mouth she smiles at me and I feel good so I will do this with my mouth.” check. “oh, if I touch this my hand hurts and burns, don’t do that again.” check. AND on and on it goes…minute after minute, month after month, year after year, learning by living. Do this, or do not do that. Want this? must do that. Like this feeling? do that again. That hurt, must not do that ever again. Interestingly, to me at least, I have grown old enough to know that you/we/I don’t always understand there WAS a lesson until well past the end of the class or the lecture or the assignment.
There’s a Pearl Jam song that ends with the lyric, “If I had known then what I know now” and it is very much what STEP 17 is about…but ‘if’ is meaningless in this circumstance because, you didn’t. I didn’t. You and I behaved in a way that was based on unknowns, or misleading facts, or absent details, or over exaggerated particulars, or ANYTHING. WE humans, not just me and not just you, US…we’ve all at some time acted in some way that we later wish we had not. I’ve found out a very important thing in my years on this planet; I can beat myself up and talk mean words to myself, and deeply regret, and wish otherwise, and woe and whine, or I can let it go…like blowing on a dandelion on a warm sunny day…puff…poof…gone…Would you ever treat an infant baby or a toddler or a small child like you treat yourself for NOT knowing something?? Would you EVER look into the eyes of a child you loved, or any child for that matter, and say the kind of spiteful and despicable words you sometimes to say to yourself when you look in the mirror, or when you are at rest and those voices in your head start that non-stop jabber? I dearly hope not. No…we show patience and tolerance and understanding and kindness when we know that this human is simply finding her way in the world, in her skin, how things work on this planet. Learning. WHY then do we torture ourselves? … our tender, kind, patient, loving selves, when we are learning??? Would you ever speak so harshly and hatefully to a child like you speak to yourself in your head? I hope dear reader that the answer is no. But we do this. Not all of us, but I would suggest most of us do, and so I believe that STEP 17 be embraced and loved and cultivated like a newly planted seed…it’s almost spring here in south Jersey…it’s just about that time to tend to the earth and start to grow things. The only way we evolve is through learning and change, and changing is part of growing, and forgiveness is part of evolving…changing the way we think about a situation or a person, forgiving is good for you, like sun and water is for flowers…if you think STEP 17 might do you some good, and you are feeling in need of something different, how about starting with your own loving soul…grow that.