POEM: Traveling North Still

I was traveling on a
And it was definitely not south
I watched the mile markers grow in number
Until I found myself in a different
Noticing that
The mile markers restarted
And lo, it was different
Though northern still
Through and through

No matter what direction you are journeying, something will .  What a to travel on a that is good (“definitely not south”) for a long enough to see the proverbial mile markers rack up!  Nonetheless, at some point, things will transition to another .  In this new , the markers of along your will .  This typically requires a recalibration of our thinking, a new start.  While most of us and pray for new starts, at least somewhere along the journey, new starts, even those viewed positively, require effort and some re-orientation to new conditions.  This poem addresses the issue of integrating new states and experiences into a coherent and positive larger journey, such is our .  Faced with constant , we can still keep our eye on the prize.  There are things in that can be counted on.  Natural laws can be uncovered through and on the existential realities of 's place in the world (that is, through and ).  There is a true north that transcends any human timeframe or temporal set of conditions (“states”).  Regardless, of if or how we think of true north it is still.  Perhaps most comforting, it can provide reliable beacons in which to frame and map our in a coherent way, “through and through.”  Seeing our various journeys as a coherent AND positive story is somewhat trickier.  Given that most of reality is outside our , that is, we can't change it, can we view this “” as a positive thing?  I, for one, regard a persistent order to the world as a magnificently beneficial state of affairs.  On the other hand, that persistently elusive and at the center of our being carves out a space as delicious as it is bewildering in which we get to reign ourselves into this world.  This is that space that is irreducibly ours.  We are free to act within it and act out into the world.  We have responsibility for these free acts, that is, that of which we have , namely, ourselves (or at least that “part” of ourselves).  Since, this freedom seems to define what it means to be humans, many focus most of their attention to this aspect of our being.  These are the “way existential” people.  Many others just have a way overblown sense of what they are in of!  Unfortunately, if one does not balance out their focus on freedom with an adequate understanding of the larger part of the , then their freedom will be running blindly, ignorantly into the rest of reality (that which we cannot change) with painful results.  By simply making note of those thing which stay the same regardless of what we do, we can avoid a lot of hurt.  Of course, teasing out the sometimes subtle differences between what we can change and what we cannot change is the stuff of .  This all rather succinctly captured in the prayer:

grant me the
to accept the things I cannot change;
to change the things I can;
and to know the difference.

May you have the wisdom to make a difference, in your own life, and in the world around you.

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