Lie back in the arms of the universe...
Updated: Jul 4
Pearl of Wisdom - In 1994 I cut an article out of the Sydney Morning. I found it again recently and have transcribed for you below. I hope you find it as inspiring today as I did all those years ago. I still do...
It took sculptor Tom Bass 68 years to make the breakthrough of his life. Now 78, the grand old man of Australian sculpture remembers: “I was in my 60’s before I realised, I regarded myself as a victim. The day I got that I was so embarrassed, I’m a raconteur (storyteller), I had this beautiful collection of finely honed anecdotes that I’s been victimised”.
Until a decade ago, Bass – who grew up in poverty during the Depression and left school at 15 – felt hard done by. “Imagine the collection of stuff I had”, he said.
Was wisdom about being optimistic and positive? The Herald asked Tom Bass, who nearly always wears white and lives in Sydney’s inner West with his “superb” 3-year-old son and wife of 10 years Dr Margo Hoekstra, 48.
No. Optimism, he said, was too naïve a word in a world where we had tragedies such as Bosnia. Rather, wisdom was about trust, about trusting that whatever happens, good or bad, it is significant.
When I was 68, I was full of incomprehension still. I was sitting at the table and I got a sudden flash of explanation. Everything that happens has meaning. There’s no question of sorting out and saying this is dreadful, God shouldn’t have allowed this to happen. As I got that thought, I got an image of a water-worn pebble which began existence as a jagged piece of stone, then had countless encounters with other objects – some could have been catastrophic – which finally shape it. And everything became the essence of the shape it is or was.
“If I have a pearl of wisdom to give you, it is to accept that change is the most important and sacred thing there is. Then you are flexible. You must lie back in the arms of the universe in an attitude of divine nonchalance, because believe me, once you begin to trust, the whole universe changes.
“You have to trust that happiness is an inevitable outcome of living in these terms. Trust the process. And there is no quick fix, so be patient… People get desperate because they are disappointed in their expectations. They’ve built up an image of where they should be, and when it doesn’t work out, they’re disappointed and they miss out on what is happening”
Tom Bass died in 2010 aged 93.
I absolutely love this article. Sometimes when I feel so caught up about how the world 'should be' I remember Tom Bass and his wisdom born of experience. Part of the reason I wrote my book on Getting to the Heart of Stress was to explore what stops people from living a glorious life.
My experiences as a therapist and teacher have shown just me how deeply people get 'locked in' to a way of believing about their lives that can be quite delusional.
Sure, these beliefs stem from a real experience at a time when the child faced stress and survival issues and had no capacity for logic but the beliefs have become so deeply hard wired that people have forgotten that they formed them as a survival strategy. It's not real people! You are lovable, acceptable, creative, wantable etc...
It's about reconnecting with your heart. When you connect with your heart, then you will know what to do. Actions that stem from the intelligence of the heart are sure and steady because the messages are usually clear.
It takes Awareness and courage to question your life and to consider changing the direction. It takes Acceptance to stop blaming everyone else and look more deeply inside yourself. And it takes a willingness to act in alignment with your heart to change your life.
My dearest wish for both myself and for you is to find your path of heart, to drop the story of where you 'should be' and to start to live in the present with gratitude and love.
Much love and gratitude to you