Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Everything We Used To Know

It's an odd sensation to wake up and realize you haven't actually listened to anything you've heard.

We go through life, so fast, so recklessly, nodding our heads and saying 'I heard you'. But have we actually listened? I know I haven't, not always. My emotions, my life, job, family, mortgages have gotten in the way of actually paying attention. It's weird to admit that. Because I used to think I was a wonderful listener. What a rude awakening.

A couple years back, I fell in love with a song by Patrick Park called Life is A Song. Even back then, when I was deaf, blind and dumb to the world, I recognized the beauty in the music. Except, I didn't actually listen to it until a couple months ago. Baffling, I know. I remember the moment well, too. I was at the gym, jogging away on the treadmill, cursing how long a minute felt, and it started to play. I actually had to stop to listen to it again. And one more time for good measure.

One line in particular pierced me straight through the heart:

It's time to let go of everything we used to know. 

This line, in all its simpleness, struck me stupid. Rendered me speechless.

I stood there on the treadmill and knew it was truth.

A simple reality of life is: we cannot control where we came from. We are born into homes, lives, and families that we have very little control over. We don't pick our parents. We don't choose how we are raised. And we cannot undo the things done to us, the good or the bad. In so many ways, we are at the mercy of others for the first fifteen years of our lives.

As children, we are so vulnerable, unable to control who and what we are subjected to. We are impressionable. And we struggle to figure out a world that is at times cruel, merciless and riddled with people who can hurt us. As children, we fall victim to other people's actions and words. Even more, we fall victim to their ways of thinking. Our lessons are handed down by people we think are wiser, who understand the way the world works and are only trying to help us.

But sometimes our teachers are wrong. Parents included.

For a lot of people, that's hard to confront. Parents, older siblings, grandparents, schoolteachers, priests and even judges, lawyers and police officers are all in this pool of people who we think know more than us. They are untouchable to disagreement and correction. They are people we're taught to respect, not talk back too, and trust. Except, they are fallible. They are human. They make mistakes. They allow their own hopes, needs, wants and fears to trickle down to those they come in contact with.

Not too long ago, I took a step back and looked at the whole picture. I realized, the people I loved the most were wrong. Not in everything, but in a lot of things. In their anger, their pain and the way they saw the world. They guarded themselves from others. Allowed themselves to be toxic with the world, with themselves, with me.

And when I took another step back, and looked beyond the restrictions of the house I grew up in and the people I loved, I saw it was the world too. It wasn't just my family, friends, and teachers.

I watched the world spin and it worried me.

For the first time, I saw how backwards our teachings were, how off-course humanity had become. We've evolved into such materialistic creatures, acquiring things that we cannot take with us when we leave this plane. Our focus has turned from needs to wants. In doing so, we've developed this frightening 'yours vs mine' mentality. And we've de-constructed our natural herding instincts by building walls around our homes, around our hearts. We don't trust anyone. The fear is thick, suffocating evening. It's one of the first things we learn as a child when our parents instruct us not to talk to strangers and  it develops from keeping us safe to keeping everyone at arms length for fear they will hurt us.

It baffled me to see it. To notice how we embrace the hate, anger, fear, and worry and baulk at the lessons of love, understanding, compassion and empathy. And it's everywhere. In our homes on a small scale and on our televisions, movies, newspapers for the grander scale. So many of these thoughts and ideas grew from seeds planted long before we were able to choose what we wanted to become or form opinions of our own.

This is why the Patrick Park song hit such a chord. Because maybe it is time to let go of everything we used to know.

The song goes on after that, though. He says, "It's time to cut ties that won't ever free our minds from the chains and shackles that they're in." And I realized, I want to be free. Not only of the anger, pain and fear, but from the things I learned when I was younger, things that are doing me no good. I want to be free from the lessons I learned that were wrong. 

Sometimes I believe we are given the tools to happiness and it simply takes time for us to know how to use them. Just like I think sometimes it takes awhile for us to actually 'hear' the things we are supposed to and only through letting go can we get to a point where we actually 'listen'. Perhaps we need to keep to our path and journey on before certain words, songs, emails, letters and books make sense. And when we are ready, they will be there, waiting.

This time the lesson won't be wrong because the lesson will be love.

And love is truth.


Steve Katriel said...

You're such a natural writer, dear. Lovely, thoughtful piece.

Tyson said...


Thank you. ♥

Exmoorjane said...

Yes. xx

Evie said...

I tend to the view that Love is a Lie. But I think we may be talking about different things.

Tyson said...


Everything czyli wszystko said...

Er... Est... And isn't it the other way round? :o)

Everything czyli wszystko said...

I'm mean... We listen to loads of things... On daily basis... Butt... Ken wii really here them...?

Tyson said...

We need to be more selective. Drown out the negative and bad. Listen to the positive and good. Perhaps.

solange noir said...

You never know what's going to wake you up :)
Well said.

Everything czyli wszystko said...

U Ken lis ten very hard, butt if your knot reddy... U want here it...

Mockingbird said...

When I was very young, before I was even double digits in age, I learned a shocking lesson. That my teachers and my mother were fallible. That they were wrong, sometimes catastrophically so. I began to look for signs of wrongness, and it was disturbing to see how their prejudices and assumptions coloured what they did and said. It was only much later in life that I saw that my prejudices and assumptions were doing a little colouring of their own. That maybe they had got it all wrong, but that I hadn't really given them a chance. I let go of what I was trying to be, and it was incredibly liberating. Hate and fear are just labels we over use, we don't really understand what we truly mean by them. You cannot hate Adolf Hitler and hate your Maths Teacher, they are two entirely different things. And face it. Hate is a destructive emotion that you cannot hold in your heart day after day. The lesson that we all miss out on which we should learn at a very early age is to embrace life. You have no clue where and when it is going to take you to, and that's the thrill, just live it. Don't try to force it into a space that it was never meant to occupy. Life just is, and you have to take both sides of the coin and learn to love them equally.

Tyson said...

Mockingbird, I agree with you. We are all human and we all make mistakes. It's important to face the world with an open heart. Hard to do that when you've been taught to close yourself down. And letting go of what we know is also letting go of our own wrong assumptions/impressions. It's all fine to say other people are wrong, but we must accept that we ourselves are wrong at times too. All I can say is, if you move with love and good intentions and compassion for all then you will be closer to the truth.

Greg Edwards said...

You write well and have struck a chord chez moi. I'm going to download and listen to that song. It 'sounds' as though it expresses so many of the feelings that I myself are coming to terms with.

Tyson said...

@ Greg - I hope you like the song. And I am pleased to have struck a chord. Unless it is a bad chord. Then: :(

Greg Edwards said...

Will have to listen to the chords before knowing exactly what kind of chord you have struck. ;-)

Anne Stormont (@writeanne) said...

A very wise post - and beautifully expressed. It took me until i was much older than you to finally 'let go'.

Anonymous said...

What's 40ft long and has eight teeth?

The front row at a Willie Nelson Concert.


Is Elvis Costello Still in Canada?

Tyson said...

I don`t think he is. How the heck are you?

Anonymous said...

Not too bad.

I've been checking out this blog on occasion, sterling work Tyson, very entertaining.

What's the one thing that money can't buy?



I could never work out how you do so much work without taking drugs.
Aren't there any stimulants involved? Or is it still a cup of cocoa when you turn in?

Never stood next to a lout at a concert, and had some of his AK 47 ganga fumes waft your way?
Not even once?

I'm wary of a clean liver, give me a dirty liver any day.

Tyson said...

Ah, Zax, you know, I have been to a few concerts, but never felt the effects of second hand smokery.

You can be wary of my liver. And if you need a piece one day, let me know. :D It's re-genitive. Should be fine.

Have you done anything interesting of late?

And tea, not cocoa. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've been searching for inspiration.
In my case this means lying on my back and staring at the ceiling a lot.
Been teaching my kid to swim too. And I'm finishing up editing my book of travel stories.

Thanks for the offer of the partial liver transplant, I've spent a lifetime knocking my own into shape, lately its been kicking back.

Tyson said...

Well, if you find inspiration, let me know where it is located. I could use some of my own.

How's the swimming going? And your girl must be at least another year older. :)

Travel Stories...How did Extremadura do? You put it out there, didn't you?

Anonymous said...

I did indeed put it out.
Changed the title, and even my own name.

When I first used David Zax, I was the only David Zax out there, but since then some guy, a Proffessor David Zax (Cornell University) has become a prominent author. I began to get mistaken for him far too often.

The books doing well, 340 downloads in four months.

On Amazon UK, I'm charging a dollar for it, there are some cheap bastards in England, sales are poor.

You'd loathe it of course.

Tyson said...

I don't remember loathing what I read on authonomy. Though I got the impression the MC didn't like women much. That said, good for you! I mean, that's a fair bit of downloads. So, better than nothing. :)

Anonymous said...

The reason I haven't given you details of my book is simple.

When I told you I was uploading it, one of your regular readers posted a comment.

He wrote: he was going to throw a spanner in the works.

This read like a threat to me. A very cowardly threat.

I hope you understand.

Tyson said...

I don't remember a threat. But if that's how you felt, it's your decision.

Anonymous said...