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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Bach’

Thanks BlackLullaby & Polka Dots for the tag. I’ve opted to use a term from Richard Bach when he wrote a letter to his younger self in The Bridge Across Forever because it is essentially things I really wish I knew then, which I’ve learned now.

Future__Present__Past_by_JusT_ShanT

Dear sandwich of 17,

You turn 30 this year and it’s been a long journey. Most of what you’ve done is pretty darn good between where you are and where I am now. Here’s just a few things to look out for along the way :

You’re going to skip an A/L exam. It will make for a pretty neat story to tell when you’re older, but it will also prevent you from getting the aggregate you need to go to Uni. You’ll regret it but you ought to know that you do pretty good for yourself career wise until you wake up one morning close to 30 and realize that you’ve been selling soap for a living, albeit in much prettier terms.

Your save-the-world complex never really goes away. It converts itself into a mother hen variant though. You are a nurturer through and through so don’t you ever doubt it when your own mother says you can’t even take care of yourself. There’s plenty of evidence out there to the contrary.

Don’t be such a prude about sex. 23 is way too late in the day to give it away. Trust me, when you finally find someone you can completely open up with sexually, you’ll be able to unlock doors within you that you never knew existed. In my case it was fairly late in the day that I discovered that. Go out there, get laid, enjoy it. You don’t have to worry about becoming promiscuous; we just aren’t built that way 🙂

Your mum was right though. You don’t really take care of yourself. Especially your heart. As a result it will lead you to making the worst relationship decisions of your life until you turn 29 and finally discover otherwise. It will also result in the terrible friendships with people who walk all over you. But you finally learn to stand up for yourself at 29 too. You get married way too early and it takes you away from the person you are now at 17. But rest assured, 29 will come with you rediscovering your former self and your former passions like never before. You’ll have someone perfectly unorthodox to thank for it. I’m not telling you who though. It’s someone you need to discover for yourself. And trust me, the surprise will be startlingly pleasant. The friends I have today and the people I love in this very moment, I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.

You look for the poetry and romance in everything. You’ll watch a masterpiece called 2001:A Space Odyssey and feel all warm and fuzzy inside when Dr. Floyd video conferences his little daughter & feel like crying when HAL 9000 is disconnected. You’ll watch AI and curl up in a ball and cry because the robot is abandoned. Don’t ever regret your ability to feel so intensely even if the fact that no one gets that about you will bring you down. You will hurt a lot. But you will also love a lot. Don’t ever deny the intensity and the capacity of your heart. You feel everything. It’s rare. Treasure it.

I know you’re in a rush to grow up, but I have some bad news for you on that front. You never do. Live with it. Your child-like optimism will get you through some pretty dark days and trust me; the decade ahead will be the darkest of your life. But you will come through it and learn to live and love again.

Irrespective of what anyone tries to tell you, you’re a good girl Nat and that’s important to know. I’ve watched you for years, seen how you’ve handled things that would have turned most others stark raving mad or the epitome of bitchiness, to say the least. You’ve just stood there with so much grace and smiled through it all, opting to hurt alone. No matter how hurt you are, you try your hardest to keep things peaceful for anyone else involved, both victim & villain. You have a fierce sense of loyalty that seems unparalleled sometimes and woe unto anyone who hurts someone you love.

Your strengths are your weaknesses and what hurts you most is the lack of reciprocation of feelings. But it’s all-good. You’re going to get through it all. People think you’re superwoman because of how strong you come across but you’re a bloody softy on the inside. I repeat : You’re a good girl. Don’t you dare forget it.

I won’t promise you a storybook ending, but you’re going to have the kinds of adventures others only dream of, every step of the way. Now go out there and live it!

Love,

Me, now aged 29 years, 10 months and 16 days.

P.s. Stop looking for the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Doug Adams already did that. The answer is 42. Go figure.

I hereby tag Hissyfits/Drama Queen/ The mad cat woman etc & the lovely ladies over at Aappa Thachchiya

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tbaf

Remember the book I was looking for since I was 17 which I found a few months ago? I started reading it and even quoted a part of it for you here. Since then I haven’t quite been able to read it until my many journeys to Unawatuna came about. I took the book along with me and realized that it was the perfect setting to read it. Usually I read a book a week and this one took me months to get through and as a result I haven’t been able to pick up another book. I’m finally ready to read again.

I finished The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach a few days ago. The book that I wanted to read as an optimistic teenager and finally read, albeit grudgingly as a cynical adult. A book about soulmates, written by a man who divorced his. I expected to find a bunch of bullshit in it considering that he and Leslie Parish said adieu to there so called discovery. But in the process I remembered one thing I held true through the years… who said soulmates were supposed to end up together anyway? Or even if they found eachother, who said they were supposed to stay together forever? In that sense the title is completely useless to me now and so is his explanation as to why the book was this titled.

But I didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water and found a few precious gems that even the somewhat cynical bitch I’ve turned into can like. Jotting a few of them down for you here…

  • We think, sometimes, there’s not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile. What a pleasure to be wrong. Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure …not only are they here-and-now, they’re all that ever lived on earth! Our century, they’ve changed clothes, of course. Dragons wear government-costumes, today, and failure-suits and disaster-outfits. Society’s demons screech, whirl down on us should we lift our eyes from the ground, dare we turn right at corners we’ve been told to turn left. So crafty have appearances become that princesses and knights can be hidden from each other, can be hidden from themselves.
  • The opposite of loneliness, it’s not togetherness. It is intimacy.
  • There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.
  • The only thing that shatters dreams is compromise.
  • That’s what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.
  • Boredom between two people, doesn’t come from being together, physically. It comes from being apart, mentally and spiritually.
  • Why my weakness for, my joy in the singular turn of this one mind, in the singular curve of this face & breast in the singular merry light in her eyes when she laughs? Because those unique curves & sparkles, Richard, we carry them with us, lifetime to lifetime, they’re our trademarks, stamped deep in what each of us believes, and without knowing, we remember them! When we meet again!

There’s a lot more, some more significant than the ones I have quoted here even, but I don’t think I’ll be turning the pages of that book for a while. My thirst of 12 years is finally quenched in a way. So I suggest you get the book and read it yourself now.

I would have liked to say that the book returned all my psycho-babble, childish notions about love & soulmates and there being only one person for you out there in the big bad universe…but I can’t. What it did do was probably lower my armor for a little while and I sincerely hope it’s for the best.

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Thus titled, is a letter Richard Bach writes to his younger self in chapter 2 of The Bridge Across Forever. It reminded me of how we constantly tell ourselves that we wish we knew then what we know now. We’d always be able to handle younger situations better with our older wisdom neh? But I guess that’s just the point. We’d never learn the lesson if things happened that way. Someone asks Richard how he is going to send a letter to 20 years ago? He replies that we all know that at some point time travel will be invented, and when it happens, we’ll have nothing ready to send back in time. So he was concentrating right now on the package and will worry about the delivery later. Amusing.

Anyways that’s not the point of my post. The book I’m reading right now is. Once I had read Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I was 17, I was hooked. A Bach addict, so to say. I’ve read Illusions, the One, the Messiah’s Handbook and many more. But the one book my 17 year old self was really looking for was the one I managed to find this week, purely by chance at Barefoot, 12 years after my search began. Bach believed in soulmates. And he was on a quest to find his. The Bridge Across Forever is the semi-autobiographical tale of how he meets and marries her. Can you imagine with what vigour the my 17 year old self searched every bookstore in Colombo for it? Now its my slightly jaded self whose reading the book, but since I finally managed to find it, I thought, what the heck. I’ve only managed to get through 9 chapters of its 49, but I must admit that it isn’t as cheesy as I thought it would be. 

But I need to add to this story. In 1997, when I first came to know of the existence of this book. Richard Bach and his soulamte, Leslie Parish had been married for 20 years. I was amazed. You know, you hear these stories as a little girl about how some people rarely ever get to meet their soul mates and even if they do it only lasts a fleeting moment, or something as god-awfully corny like that. A few years later, as a working girl, I was online and was reading up on the Bachs and was punched really hard in the gut. They had divorced. So now a doubly jaded I, am reading The Bridge Across Forever. The dash of scepticism as I turn each page increases, I smirk a bit, but I still can’t shake the fact that what I’m reading, I find interesting. Even amusing. A few reluctant laughs escape my throat now and again. Hmmm.

You see, the whole concept of soulmates, even in my jaded kinda view is limited to a piece of fiction now. It’s a classic called Wuthering Heights. You may have heard of it. 😉 The only reason that still holds true for me is probably because it IS fiction. So its an image that has been preserved with no one being able to tarnish it. In the real world, everything’s a tad tarnished, is it not?

Anyway. I’ve only read 9 chapters, like I said. Let me get to the end of my 12 year search and I’ll tell you if I’ve changed my mind.

In the meanwhile, let me leave you with a tiny excerpt from Chapter 1 that caught my attention :

Why should it be that the most advanced of people, whose teachings, twisted into religions, last for centuries, why should it be that they have always been alone?

Why never do we see radiant wives or husbands or miraculous equals with whom they share their adventures and their love? They are surrounded by their disciples and their curious, these few we so admire, they are pressed by those who come to them for healing and light. But how often do we find their soulmates, glorious and powerful beloveds right close by? Sometimes? Once in a while?

I swallowed, throat suddenly dry.

Never. 

The most advanced people, I thought, they’re the ones most alone! 

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