You’ve got to know when to fight and when to seek peace.
This phrase from the end of a show called Longmire (1st season, 3rd episode) is currently etched in my brain. It makes me recall the many occasions I have almost died. I have written before about my feeling that I have shifted. A Shift is a feeling that our lives have changed, shifted into something else. I can recall my most recent shift of almost two years ago.
Tonight, I am thinking of many other shifts that I have experienced, some of which I had forgotten or had forgotten the feeling of shifting.
One of the first ones I recall happened when I was about 7 years old. Two teen agers were shooting a 75lb bow with razor tipped arrows at my brother and I as we ran back and forth in front of them. It was a cruel and coercive experience.
At 10 a nickel plated .357 magnum with an 8 inch barrel discharged. It was pointed right at my head. A very thin wall and a used microwave were the only things between my head and the bullet. The microwave still worked afterwards, but always had a large hole in one corner.
Another occurred later in life. I might have been 11 or 12. I was digging into the side of a hill that had years earlier washed away in a mud slide. I was not alone and joined with several friends. While lying in the cave we dug by hand, lying on my belly digging more. A section of the top of the cave collapsed on me, knocking the wind out of me. It was the heaviest weight I had experienced on top of me up until that time, maybe ever.
At 14 I awoke in the middle of the night being driven down a mountain at about 107 mph. I do not recall much of that event.
At 16 one night I almost died about 6 times. It was a remarkable night and one that left me feeling elated as if I could conquer the world, after all I had conquered death multiple times in one night.
At 19 I almost died in a motorcycle accident flying all the way across an intersection and landing on my head and dive rolling at the last minute, partially out of reflex and partly because that is what happens when a crash test dummy flies several dozens of feet through the air to crash on the other side.
When I was about 35, I had a different experience. It didn’t almost kill me, although death threats were prevalent. Still a piece of me shifted, maybe even died inside, and life was not the same for me again.
Then a couple years ago when I was 42, a drunk driver came around a corner in a truck on two wheels, bouncing down at the last moment and swerving to miss my daughter an I.
Looking back, I experienced major life changes around all of these events.
As I ponder the nature of shifts lately, I sometimes wonder if I simply shifted into a different universe. Maybe in the original or previous universe, my personal timeline stopped and I moved to join and merge in a different timeline where it continued.
In this timeline, I did not die by a razor tipped arrow, nor a .357 bullet nor a crashing semi nor a drunk driver nor a motorcycle accident nor the hands of an organized crime group nor even a series of events as a teen during a spectacular night out.
I just lived.
But to what?
The show I was watching this evening, it made me realize that lately, maybe for a while. I only have two speeds.
Fight or Seek Peace.
I can do both really well.
It feels like I mostly seek peace these days and it feels the most natural, although at times it doesn’t always feel like living.
The question posed or the challenge made is the ‘Knowing When’ to do either of those things.
I am not sure I have the wisdom to know when to do either. I just do one or the other.
Peace feels like the best path most of the time, but even throughout the day it is not always the answer. Or at least not the answer that I choose.
I fight to save myself. I fight to rebuild. I fight to heal. I fight to go on.
I do not feel morbid nor depressed. I feel introspective. I feel optimistic, which might be ironic. In fact, given how many times I have either survived death or been shifted to a new universe, it is not the least bit surprising that I am optimistic!
Who could be pessimistic after surviving so many events?
I’m sure I am only scratching the surface.
In fact, I did not mention the time when I was 15 when I was going to fast on my motorcycle, jumped a hill and flew 40 feet (on the bike that time) straight at a tree wider than myself and the bike, then miraculously squeezed to the right of the large tree and another smaller tree of only 6 inches of diameter landing and thudding and stopping 15 feet past both on the ground. When I later went back to inspect the trees the handle bars of my motorcycle were to wide to fit between the two trees, yet I had done it. I had survived again.
Nor did I mention the time when I was 5 and I fell through the ice of a lake and missed the bus.
Nor the time in Basic Training when I almost took out myself and a drill sergeant fumbling a grenade.
So maybe it is easy for me to be optimistic, I have lots of survival experiences.
There is a concept in tech startup world, it is the idea of ‘failing faster’. Knowing that most startups will fail, people go into startups not expecting to fail but aware of the likelihood and quick to pull the plug on the thing and very aware that there will be important lessons to be learned during the failed business.
Maybe all my near death experiences or my shifts, are just me failing faster as a person, a human a conscious being moving from one universe to the next.
Between these events, I have found more ease in some periods than between others.
Currently, I am growing and changing quite a bit. I would not call this an ‘easy’ time to be. However, it has been a long time since I have changed as much nor as quickly nor grown as much as I have since my last shift.
As I watched the end of the episode of Longmire tonight, tears streamed down my face with sadness and relief too. The line was spoken to a horse fighting to live. The lines were spoken to let the horse know that it didn’t have to fight anymore, that it was OK to seek peace.
It has been 30 years since I rode or owned a horse. I haven’t broken a horse since then either. I probably don’t even have the skill or ability to do that any longer. But I sure felt that scene with the horse (actor) and it made me think of my own horse from way back then.
It made me think of myself as well.
I don’t have to fight to keep living. That is not a death wish.
I can seek peace and live in peace instead. Maybe that’s a different type of living than fighting for every inch of every bit of progress that I get. I have done that before year in and year out.
What did it bring me? Inches of progress and lots of near death experiences too.
It brought me wisdom from failing faster and finally I am starting to realize that fighting for it, might not be the best path forward for me any longer.
I simply need to live and seek peace. This is what feels right to me and has for months now. I am torn in some of my past lessons, as not fighting for it, doesn’t feel like I am pushing or trying enough.
But pushing and trying and fighting, they just aren’t working for me the way they used to work.
I need to let that guilt go. There are a lot of things that used to work for me that don’t work for me any more too. Glasses don’t work for me. Hard rock doesn’t work for me anymore. Driving ridiculously fast has not worked for me in a long time. Working 100 hour work weeks does not work for me. (although I could sure use the money if I had a job that could give me that many hours)
I haven’t lost my sense of humor.
I’m simply finding a new path forward and learning to know when to fight and when to seek peace.
I’m at a stage in life where seeking peace is my current answer.