As wine connoisseurship evolves, I look toward developing ways to express the aspects of wine I love the most. I recognize that wine is a product of nature and science; my goal is as natural as can be: to help make the connection between joy of taste and the bountiful pleasures of life.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

never get swell headed

A lyric that has over the years become a mantra like backbone for the Rastafarian community and culture …this double edged sword of modesty and righteousness drives the spirit of maximum awareness and self preservation though preparedness for whatever injustice comes and for whatever opportunity there may lie ahead.

This morning, on my passage to west midtown, through the bustle of the sudden cold snap, the fragility of life was underscored again. Noticing all the trees that have already shed their leaves for the winter months, as I drove through an atypically picturesque corner on the edge of my neighborhood, a tall Ginkgo with its bows outstretched across the left side of the road was dropping its leaves in what appeared to be an almost rhythmic predetermined sequential order. As one of the last remaining colors in the canopy, its nearly iridescent brightness stands out against the saturated blue sky and reminded me of similar mornings in the mountains of Colorado where the Aspen with their blonde bark, erect posture and deeply hued yellow leaves show the amazing splendour of nature and mark the contrast of the season ahead.

The single event that drove these leaves to fall was without question on of those things that we all talk about but don’t really have any impact on. 45 degrees on Monday night then a sudden unannounced unpredicted change just 24 hours later as the skies clear and the temp falls well below freezing- this was all it took for the connective tissue or tree glue or what ever its called to thin, or otherwise relax enough to release its grasp and allow the leaves to fall. The last standing, full of pride and glory but without choice and without option. To ride against the current of the universal flow,…to accept, to adapt and then to release all that is inevitable is a lesson featured by nature and one that I feel strongly should be a part of our lives both professionally and personally. A favourite poet once said “Now I realize that the trees blossom in Spring and bear fruit in Summer without seeking praise, and they drop their leaves in Autumn and become naked in winter without fearing shame”

Contrary to the doctrines of today, I don't believe that absolute acceptance of ourselves and others is the key to happiness and peace. I believe acceptance is absolutely a significant piece of the process, but it is too simplistic to assume it is the only piece. It is also a bit too passive for my way of being. I believe more in acceptance with accountability. Accepting and understanding where each of us is right now without judgment and having the courage to ask for what we need and want and being willing to find a middle ground when that inevitably doesn't match up with what others need and want. It is this process that I believe builds trust and intimacy and depth in our relationships. When we are willing to influence and be influenced by those around us. When we believe in the power of love and our innate ability to change and grow. Of course, some people, for whatever reasons, simply cannot meet us at this level. Then we have many more choices to make, and many more levels of acceptance and asking to navigate.

To suggest that true enlightenment comes from letting go of expectations and simply accepting others and our world exactly as it is just doesn’t ring true for me. It implies a sense of not needing or wanting anything from others. It implies that all is well and exactly as it should be in the universe. I disagree. I think that in order to co-exist we absolutely need others and need from others. That many things in our world are not at all the way they could be. And that it is each of our responsibility to step up and speak up about the changes that we desire. I think being truly enlightened means being willing to be vulnerable and ask for what we need and want, and then being willing to wade through the plethora of feelings that that process of engaging and negotiating with others brings. It is not a neat and tidy process. It is often not a peaceful process either. It is damn hard work.

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