well-loved

We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.

There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.

~Milan Kundera

these sweet nothings linger on….

inquiry for today~ you sweeten the day this way…..

remembering why we live well

Our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are.

The unexamined life is surely worth living, but is the unlived life worth examining? It seems a strange question until one realizes how much of our so-called mental life is about the lives we are not living, the lives we are missing out on, the lives we could be leading but for some reason are not. What we fantasize about, what we long for, are the experiences, the things and the people that are absent. It is the absence of what we need that makes us think, that makes us cross and sad.

We have to be aware of what is missing in our lives- even if this often obscures both what we already have and what is actually available- because we can survive only if our appetites more or less work for us. Indeed, we have to survive our appetites by making people cooperate with our wanting. We pressurize the world to be there for our benefit. And yet we quickly notice as children- it is, perhaps, the first thing we do notice- that our needs, like our wishes, are always potentially unmet. Because we are always shadowed by the possibility of not getting what we want, we learn, at best, to ironize our wishes- that is, to call our wants wishes: a wish is only a wish until, as we say, it comes true- and, at worst, to hate our needs. But we also learn to live somewhere between the lives we have and the lives we would like.

~Adam Phillips

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