In a recent issue of THE WORD, my newsletter for writers and word-lovers, I linked to Krista Tippett's interview with Elizabeth Gilbert on her radio show On Being. And then I read an interview with her on The Great Discontent, discussing her new book Becoming Wise, and found I identified so much with the things she spoke of there too, especially this:
...to become wise, is the work of a lifetime
She's right of course, but it's pretty frustrating.
On one hand it's amazing to know that as time ticks on you'll inevitably learn and discover and conquer new things each day, week, month, year of your life, becoming wiser the older you get. Perhaps things like:
How to buy and sell a house, how to deal with awkward social situations, how to articulate how you feel, what you want, what makes you tick, and how to mix a martini (and whether you prefer it shaken not stirred)
And that's all fabulous.
But it's also sad in a way because it means that by the time you've finally nailed it, finally learnt everything you need to know in life, all the tips, tricks, short-cuts and truths - who you even are - that's when it's kind of over. Not to be maudlin, but it's true.
When asked what the recurring themes and qualities of lives full of 'beauty and wisdom', Krista response is:
The basic elements of our lives are the raw materials of wisdom
I like that; like life is about finding the things you will use to 'build your wisdom'. Except it all takes so damn long.
She goes on to say: "spiritual life is as much about how we inhabit our bodies as it is about ideas... Our bodies are messy and they get us in trouble."
Yes. So true. I think our spirituality is very much about how we inhabit our bodies, how we present ourselves to the world and each other, how we interact.
"We need to tune into the truths of our bodies. There’s no such thing as an emotion that’s not physical or a physical symptom that doesn’t have emotional input—this is something we’re learning and science has proven it."
I like the link she makes between the emotional and physical, and it's something I want to learn more about.
Emotions play a big part in my life and I know that if my emotions are out of balance, then I can't be productive in my day-to-day. Even small tasks feel insurmountable because what's going on in my head disrupts the flow of communication in my body. I'm more clumsy, sluggish even. I feel the impact in my limbs.
Krista knows it. I know it. And we all feel it.
I also love that Krista's 'grand vision of chapters' eventually led her to what she describes as the 'five elements of living we all experience', and the first one she chose was 'words' (the others are: our bodies, faith, hope, and love).
If anyone has 'become wise', it's Krista, and I'm adding her book to my reading list.
Go and read/listen to Krista's wise words, and I'll end with this perfect quote:
I love words. They’re a huge piece of who I am. I think we can excavate the word love.
(And there's a big emotional/physical word right there!)
Do you feel you've 'become wise', or is there still a long way to go? I find the more I learn, the more I discover I need to learn. And so it goes on.
Sign up to THE WORD, a fortnightly newsletter for writers and word-lovers.