Lightly Child, Lightly.

When I got to the part that went, I shall be telling this with a sigh, he asked, ‘Do we sigh when we think about choices we’re glad we’ve made?’ We went through the whole thing like that. ‘So what do you think the poem is really about?’ he asked me when we were done. I told him it was about how we can’t really know where our choices are going to lead us. ‘Not only that,’ he said, ‘but we’re probably going to regret those choices either way. Frost had a fundamentally tragic view of life. There is always going to be a road not taken. We only get to live once. Nothing we do is ever going to wholly satisfy us in the end.’

— Christopher Beha, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts: A Novel (Tin House Books, May 5, 2020)


Notes:

  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Portrait of Christopher Beha: The New School

Comments

  1. I think each of us has a higher-self pathway that we can learn to navigate. And with practice, (lots of it! ha)we learn to make the right decisions in life, with far less regrets or dissatisfaction. 🌈😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • And with practice, lot’s of practice. So true!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a road less travelled that’s for sure. People love to talk about their regrets. I hear them everyday! ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

        • Karen, I have decided, at one point of my life, that I wouldn’t do regrets any longer. It’s called experiences…. Once you had made your decisions, it’s usually already a bit late for regrets. Better think a bit before. But of course, you see people who come to you BECAUSE of their regrets. It’s your daily line of work. I wonder if ppl would learn to ‘love’ or at least ‘like’ themselves a bit more, less regrets were needed. Do you teach your clients that you can only give love and compassion to others if you ‘love’ yourself?! I was probably about 40 when I realised that little but important fact. How can you be good for somebody else if you dislike yourself…. you can’t. Sorry – It’s not really the place to open pandora’s box. It just happens…. and after two days of having loads of guests, far too much to eat and experiencing the love and care of so many, I am starting to catch up with ‘life B’ again.

          Like

  2. and so we just have to go for it otherwise we are frozen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the few things I learned in Economics was about ‘opportunity cost,’ and I think it relates to every choice we make. Being conscious of that helps soften regrets in the longer term.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ can bring a body down. Learning that one has to make the best decision ya can in the moment, given the information at hand, and then move forward. Otherwise, as Beth notes, ya end up paralyzed. What is it ‘they’ say? Ultimately, you regret more the things you didn’t do than the ones you did….

    Liked by 4 people

  5. It seems a littel dark but in reality which I choose to live is, there is alwasy a path no taken. I try not to reflect on the ones I possibly missed unless there is something to be learned from it. My biggest challenge now is health and not being able to make choices. My health makes them for me. Have a great day.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wandering through our wondering is part of the human paradox i think. I’m not sure though if we always hold onto an element of disappointment for what might have been. I think we are able to appreciate where we are – most of the time.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I met a wise man once who told me that there are no wrong decisions. You make a decision and then it is up to you to make it right. It changed my life. I´ve made some crazy decisions over the years, but I have always managed to make them right.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I don’t know – a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll is pretty satisfying… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The fact is, and this has been more clear that ever in the past 10 months, that we are always after a moving and shape-shifting target. We are also moving and shape-shifting. I find it scary at times. I get so afraid that I can only focus on where I do NOT want to end up, rather than where I’m going. I wish I had wings so I can fly up high and see the bigger picture.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The sigh is why we love Frost. I think (in my latter years) that maybe having too many options is (was ?) an American(-like) woe.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such a fatalistic perspective! ‘Nothing we do is ever going to wholly satisfy us in the end.’

    I have choice.

    To regret the road not taken or celebrate the ones I have and the ones I haven’t.
    Makes life much more satisfying and fulfilling because, no matter the road taken, the experiences always enrich my life — even the ones that hurt at the time of walking the path.

    And yes, I agree with Sawsan. You do have wings! We all do. Our choice — spread them wide or keep them tucked in safely by our sides… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Here’s to our wings, to freeing ourselves of judgment of whether “it” was the right or the wrong choice! I see a key to wisdom for us in the declaration that Frost had a fundamentally tragic view of life. Wow, I never connected his poem to that view! Did you know that he and Wallace Stevens (and Richard Wilbur and a few others) were close? and that once when drunk Stevens and Frost had a knock down drag out fight? in Key West? [a place I wanted to move to] Such wonderful poets, and so much pain. [Stevens’ wife became unpleasantly mentally ill] To think that they could create such wonderful poetry no matter…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. Had no idea those three Legends were close. So cool. Learned something today. Thank you Valerie.

    Like

  14. Goodness me; what a wealth of comments, thoughts and ponderings. And now I come and throw a spanner right into the warm, fuzzy feelings you all share. This short text totally flummoxed me. I don’t believe any of it. Right, of course you can’t know where your choice is leading you. But you are not to think already ahead of your decision that ‘in any case you’re going to regret it’. If you always think that your chosen path surely is going to end in regret, you lead a bloody poor and tragic life. It’s shooting in your own foot, crudely said.
    And as much as I like to read the occasional Frost, he always feels like a pretty unhappy, disappointed man to me. His writing is ‘wonderful’ but there is always a hint of dark, sad, melancholic.
    Now I need a second espresso and something lighter or else….. (and yes, during the past two days, I not only had friends and guests, good & uplifting conversations and more, but two very dear men in their 50s died both within 24h from a heart attack – life clearly is not all fun either)

    Liked by 1 person

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