(Bautista, personal photograph taken 03-06-2015)

“Do you know anything about Chinese bamboo? It apparently spends five years as a little shoot, using that time to develop its root system. And then, from one moment to the next, it puts on a spurt and grows up to twenty-five meters high. …I think I’m like that Chinese bamboo plant and that my fifth year has just arrived. It’s time for me to start growing again.”  From The Aleph (2011) by Paulo Coelho

From Buddha: “Whatever you do, you do to yourself. To judge others only compounds your own faults”.  

From Rumi: “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

I’m at that time of year when I reflect on the last 365 days and give thanks for another birthday.  For some, the idea of aging is traumatic for lack of a better word.  And you can really sense this when you look beyond one’s facade and into someone’s soul because in actuality, that is where self-doubt begins, deep in one’s soul.

I’m 43.  

I don’t think I’ve felt this comfortable with life since I was 13.  I reveled  in my lone steps when I was that age – exploring, trekking, learning from experience, not taking people nor myself seriously, creating, drawing, art as divine inspiration, amongst friends who understood and acknowledged my quirks, my enigmatic traits and my solitude as positive attributes  – – – 

At this time of life, I implement the philosophy of “Can I live with that?”.  Whether its a monetary transaction, a life situation or critical decision, an unexpected charge on my bill, a judgmental glance, an insult whispered under someone’s breath, an indirect comment, a GPS error, a disrespectful student and so on, I find that after assessing the situation, and responding in awareness and with kindness, this philosophy saves my soul.  

By asking myself this question, I alleviate the need to seek out revenge or to let rage manifest within because of moments beyond my control.

I can live with that because I can live with who I am right now.

And like the bamboo, I know I can incubate myself until it is time to flourish once more.