March 25, 2015

What Do You Know?

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.  - Isaac Asimov

Gertrude Glace, a woman dear to me, who lived to see 100 years used to say, “If you live long enough you’re going to get old!” I’m finding out she knew of which she spoke.

I’m also finding out that if we live long enough, we will pass through and survive enough that we too will come to “know” a few things. That’s certainly been the case for me. 

I thought l share a few of the things I’ve come to know in hope of inspiring you to take an inventory of your own “knowings.” The great thing about knowings is they’re the mistakes we don’t need to keep making over and over - we’ve finally messed up enough to have figured them out once and for all! So in no particular order here are mine:

I know that no amount schooling, formal or informal, will ever give you wisdom.

It will give you knowledge to be sure. Wisdom however, comes from experience. It comes from trying and succeeding and even more from trying and failing. It comes from “seeing for yourself” and that takes time. You can’t buy, sell, or borrow experience. Experience is how we internalize knowledge in a way that makes it meaningful and gives it relevance. 

It also does no good to try to impart wisdom on someone else. It’s like that awkward moment at the end of a story where your audience gives you a forced chuckle and smiles nervously while saying “I guess you had to be there.” That’s just it!  We all have to “be there” to really get it. There have been some experiences in my life that I hope no one will ever understand - because it would require them  to “have been there”  

There are other things - joy, conviction, and communion with wisdom outside myself, that I’d love to share but can’t. It remains locked inside a life lived and moments experienced and belongs, for better or worse, only to me. 

I know that the walls we build around our hearts, end up hurting us more than they protect us. 

Walls aren’t selective. They can block out hurt, but they also block out love and joy. Love can be painful. Sometimes the people we love break our hearts into tiny shards - and then we recover. We share an imperfect world with imperfect people, while being imperfect. Those are the rules like it or not. 

Sometimes pain is inflicted on us. At other times we inflict pain - sometimes intentionally and at others without intending to. Something as simple as personal preferences can cause another to feel hurt. There are some things that just hurt - there’s no way around it, but there is no heartache that hurts more or lasts longer than the aching heart, hungering for the love it refuses to let in.

I know that I don’t know everything.

(Please do share this with my parents. I had them convinced otherwise at 16.) I know that if I live to be 200, I still won’t know everything. How exciting is that?? 

Every day there is something wonderful to discover and others to observe as they’re making discoveries of their own. I’ve even given up pretending I know everything (despite what my husband may say to the contrary!) How would it be if everyone did?

I know that people are more alike than they are different. 

We all need love, respect, to feel valued and validated. If we lead with these assumptions, we may get disappointed from time to time. I’m willing to take that risk. Love first, ask questions later. I’ve made that my personal policy because I like myself better that way.

I know it's a really bad idea to open a tube of crazy glue with your mouth. 

It's amazing what a tight bond it creates between your upper teeth and your top lip! Enough said.

I know that cat's jumping off mantles do not want to be caught. 

I have proof and for a quarter you can see the scars.

Each life is a treasure chest filled with nuggets of wisdom. Open yours. Sort through it. Share what you can and sacredly savor the rest. Each nugget is priceless. Gathering them is why we’re here. Live your life in a way that allows you time to notice them sprinkled along your path.

I'd love for you to hear about the nuggets you've gathered! Caring is sharing! 

Photo Credit: Viktoriya Chrusena


  1. Hi Anita! Another fantastic post!
    I've learned something really huge this year: I know I don't need anyone's approval. Most of my life, it's what I sought and I made many choices and decisions based on that.
    Again, it's something I always knew, while at the same time not really knowing deep down in my bones because I never acted on the knowledge. I was too afraid to.
    But not anymore. :)

    1. "I know I don't need anyone's approval."
      That's a HUGE know! I'm not sure why it takes us so long to get there but what a wonderful free way to be. I'm so glad for you - and me too. The quest to find my own voice wasn't an easy or short one but it was one of the most important things I've done for myself - and living bravely is an important thing to do for others. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my, Anita. I just made a note to myself the other day "today's world - more facts, less wisdom". I think you can read my mind!
    Great post!

    1. Yes, it's a little trick I picked up while traveling with the circus. :)
      It would be a great trend to reverse! Let it begin with us!

  3. I'm cracking up at the Crazy Glue. Ouch!

    Love this: "Live your life in a way that allows you time to notice them sprinkled along your path." Beautiful words.

    For the past two years, I've been art journaling. It is sacred, soul-nurturing time for me when I am being creative. The last two New Year's Eves, I've dedicated a page to listing the life lessons I learned for the year. Actually, the whole art journal is pretty much all of my lessons in forgiveness, compassion, authenticity, imperfection, courage, faith, self-love, letting go of the past, and living life with an open heart They are my little nuggets of wisdom that I hope to someday pass on to my children.

    1. Yes, Jackie the crazy glue is something I can't recommend trying!

      What a beautiful legacy you're creating for your children - not only your nuggets but you're modeling living a life that lets you notice them sprinkled along your path.

      You're giving them a fish AND teaching them to fish! Bravo!

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. A wonderful post. Thank you, Linda. And thanks for contact on Twitter.

    I know when I feel angry or irritated, I am responsible for my own reactions. They are mine, not the other persons, and I'm the only one I can change.

    I know I should never act in anger. No emails or letters (unless they're written but not sent), no telephone messages, no popping off in haste. Even if my action is the right one, anger spoils it. So I wait.

    There are many things I still want from others even though I'm the only one who can give these gifts to myself: affirmation, approval, self acceptance.... Still practicing.

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    1. Elaine,

      Those are great things to know. It took time for me to let the wave of anger wash back out to sea and really look at what's left on the sand before reacting. Often what causes me an instant emotion is coming from an echo from a past experience instead of the present one. It's easy to punish the innocent for the actions of the guilty when we don't leave space between a feeling and a reaction. We can't take back unkind words without leaving an imprint from where the landed on someones heart.

      I hope we never get the point of not wanting those things from others. We just need to reach the point of knowing we're OK either way. Then when they come they're a bonus!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Elaine!