“The park grass looked greener, the park benches looked better and the flowers were trying harder.” Charles Bukowski
“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential.
It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.” Paulo Coelho
The key to change is letting go of the fear.
“To be and not to be are just two ideas opposing each other. But they are not reality, and they do not describe reality.”
“We all exist as part of a wonderful stream of life.” Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear
“Sometimes we find that we like our thoughts so much that we don’t want to let them go.” Pema Chodron
“To manage your mind, know that there is nothing, and then relinquish all attachment to nothingness.” Lao Tzu
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu
Here in Pennsylvania the tulips are in various stages of maturity. The beautiful yellow ones in front of my house dried up and blew away, while the others are somewhere near the end of their life cycle.
I found these in a local park and they seem to be in their prime, but in a few weeks they will be gone forever-dust to dust. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting older or maybe I just notice it more, but things seem to move a lot faster now.
Watching the flowers come and go is also watching the days speed by, and I know I’m running out of time. Of course this is how life works; we’re here for a while and then we’re gone. And whether we acknowledge it or not, suffering comes from wanting things to be different than they are.
W. Somerset Maugham, author of The Razor’s Edge has a great perspective on impermanence: “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”
Along the way, take time to smell the flowers, in as many ways as you can for as long as you can.
I wrote this for a creative writing class in 2008, a couple of years after my third rehab. It’s about making new friends in a place known as The Ranch House on the grounds of the Norristown State Hospital. The guests call it what it is, a looney bin.
Peggy, the oldest, forever in her tattered robe, hopscotching down the hall when she’s not talking to herself or crying.
Adrian, the young, spoiled wannabe junkie, whining about not getting strong enough meds.
Stacy, fresh from the pizza shop, smiling and stumbling around on Seroquel.
Steve, the happy criminal, acting like he’s at summer camp.
Victor, a child in a forty year old body, slipping into schizophrenic rants about hidden cameras in the vents.
Donna, the large breasted, healthy looking nurse, explaining her addiction to Vicodin.
Sara, the stuck up prostitute, waltzing through the cafeteria like a queen.
Susan, the tough, freckled, career alcoholic trying to play bouncer.
Carl, his laces taken away, flapping down the hall all night in oversized shoes, driving everyone crazy.
Lucas, the seasoned gang member with the bitten off ear, bragging about his tragic childhood.
Tom, lanky and pale, trying to beat himself to death after a half-assed hanging attempt.
And me, a paragon of sanity, here with my friends.
“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it.
But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.” Lauren Oliver-Before I Fall
“I ask myself: Would I have been any worse off if I had stayed home or lived on a farm instead of shock treatments and medication?” Gene Tierney
“So I went to the doctor, see what he could give me. He said, son, son you’ve gone too far. ‘Cause smokin’ an trippin’ is all that you do, yeah.” Ozzy