Living in the Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon

Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.

“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”

I am not done with my changes.

~Stanley Kunitz from “The Layers”

…we become whole by having the courage to revisit and embrace all the layers of our lives, denying none of them, so that we’re finally able to say, “Yes, all of this is me, and all of this has helped make me who I am.”

When we get to that point, amazingly, we can look at all the layers together and see the beauty of the whole.
~Parker Palmer from “Embracing All the Layers of Your Life” in On Being

photo by Joel deWaard

My favorite scenes are ones where there are several “layers” to study, whether it is a still life of petals or a deep landscape with a foreground, middle and backdrop. The challenge is to decide where to look first, what to draw into sharp focus, or whether to absorb it all as a whole. In fact, if I only see one aspect, I miss the entire point of the composition. It is wonderfully multi-faceted and multi-layered because that is how life is – complex with subtle nuance and shadings.

If I try to suppress some darker part of my own life I wish to forget and blur out, I ignore the beauty of the contrast with the light that illuminates the rest.

The layers reflect who I was created to be as an image-bearer – complex, nuanced, illuminated in the presence of dark.

Beautifully composed.

4 thoughts on “Living in the Layers

  1. Wow, how I love all of this!! We are in the same season of life and I relate to what you choose to put on your blog, as well as what you write, so eloquently and precisely. There is so much comfort and peace in being able to embrace one’s whole life, as you said, and realize that all the twists and turns, planned and otherwise, shaped you….and liking what you find. To get your email, open it up and see the red barn is a joy every morning. And we are “neighbors”, lol, we live in Vancouver, WA. 🙂 Thank you again!! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Spectacular photos, honest, soul-piercing poetry and comments by all who contributed. This introspection is a necessary inner journey that each of us should attempt to make before we leave our temporary earthly life. I think that it goes a long way in our human search for fulfillment, beginning first with a question to ourselves about how we define that word ‘fulfillment.’ Each person’ answer will differ, of course, but it needs to be asked at a certain point..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Like the rock layers in nature so too are the past layers of experience and decisions, whether vice or virtue in ours. Each is the foundation and support for where we are today. Remove a layer from the earth and there will be a collapse to a depressed level. Remove a layer from our past because we find it embarrassing or sorrowful and we cease to be who we are. The good layers, like good traditions, are meant to remain a part or the present good person and the vices must be recalled to show that if learned from no longer exist in the amended person.

    Liked by 1 person

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