My Third Novel's Conclusion, My Heartbreak

My heart begins to break when I think about completing this particular book -- because this narrative has sustained me like no other story I've known. It's both more personal and more universal than my other works. But beyond memory and archetype, it's a cri-de-coeur about needing to become the person one is destined to be. And in the writing, I have met my own life's work, my own fated journey -- having the sense all the while that the pages are suffused with a resonance, an energy, an electrified field that defies explanation. Writers hope and pray to be overtaken by a work in this way -- to be conscripted into passionate service of a profound story. To experience it even once in a lifetime seems a great privilege. I still have perhaps six months before this novel is complete, and this constitutes my reprieve. Because I'm not ready for the beauty to end.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Infinity Pool

"To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness." -- Confucius

I'm spending the weekend with friends at Post Ranch in Big Sur -- and the setting is otherworldly.  In the infinity pool at right, you feel as though you're flying above the Pacific, which sings in its rhythmic cadence hundreds of feet below.  This is a paradise for those who love to meditate -- and I count myself among them.  So, I'm contemplating Confucius and his thoughts on perfect virtue.  Assuming gravity does not preclude an abiding sense of humor, my friends tell me I do quite well with this list.  Evidently, I have chosen wisely, because my friends possess all these qualities in abundance. (In addition, they're witty, adventuresome, brilliant, loyal, passionate, erudite . . . I could go on.)

My favorite virtue is generosity of soul -- such an inexplicable and necessary thing in leading a joyful life.  Just as the infinity pool overflows its brim, so too does my love for this world pour past its edges.

Can we maintain the five virtues under all circumstances, as Confucius specifies?  Can we be generous in the face of dishonesty, or kind in response to an action that is intentionally misleading? These represent complex spiritual challenges even for the most evolved among us -- and the answers require more than a weekend of enlightenment.

In the meantime, here in Big Sur, we've met new friends from Paris, London, Chicago and Los Angeles -- a fascinating array of corporate tycoons, innovative artists and groundbreaking entrepreneurs among them.  Life is a bountiful adventure, in all its natural wonders, with all its opportunities for artistic and spiritual growth.  My cup runneth over.

12 comments:

  1. I’ve heard that Post Ranch is one of the most spectacular hotels on earth.

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  2. is it even appropriate to be “kind in response to an action that is intentionally damaging?!”

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    1. I think of kindness as a reflection of one's own character -- in line with Confucius' views. But inherently kind people can have a great deal of fortitude as well.

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  3. What is the difference between sincerity and earnestness? Aren't they the same thing?

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    1. Perhaps sincerity applies to our interactions with others and earnestness pertains to all else -- professional labors, etc.? I wonder about this as well.

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  4. Did you get to go to the second infinity pool?

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    1. I did, and it was even more hypnotic than the first!

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  5. I have always wanted to go to the Post Ranch. I'll have to save up my pennies for a few years before I can afford it.

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  6. I ask this in the most respectful way possible, ...Do you accept marriage proposals online?!

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    1. Sadly, I cannot discuss marriage proposals online, Marcus. Truthfully, I'm flummoxed by discussing them in person as well. But thank you for being respectful in your inquiry.

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