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Li Gonglin: The Classic of Filial Piety (circa 1085)
" … had we been as prescient as the venerable I Ching or a decent Tarot reading, but we weren't."

Earlier in my careers, I was forever trying to foresee what was coming next. I consulted The I Ching and various forms of Tarot, each of which use language unique to them. The I Ching, for instance, was forever speaking of GreatGoodFortune when indicators suggested a likely positive result. Eventually, though, foreseeing came to feel like taking a blood pressure reading in that it doesn't work if taken too frequently and might be accurate only to the degree that it's rarely taken. One can live in the future and miss the present just like one can lose their present in their past. In times of peril or uncertainty, I'm still not above or beyond trying to sneak a peek through the veil, but I most days proceed forward without attempting to peer around upcoming corners.

All that said, I'm presently experiencing a prolonged period of extremely GreatGoodFortune, one ingredient never ascribable to talent or skill.
It's a happy accident, or a long series of them, most influential in the unfolding successes of our massive refurbishing effort. We have, through no capability we knew we possessed (we doubt that anybody possesses such an ability), managed to assemble precisely the proper people to address the challenges we've been uncovering. More importantly, the challenges we've been uncovering have so far turned out to be modest in nature. Removing ancient wall-to-wall carpeting could reveal a surface unsuitable for resurfacing and require actual acts of God to resolve. We found level, solid linoleum and vinyl flooring, perfectly suited for what we intended to do next, with very little additional preparation required. Similar GreatGoodFortune has been accompanying us since we started. The dread I'd carried about opening up this old place for improvement—a really bad case of The Can Of Worms Concern—has largely proven unfounded and unnecessary. We've been lucky.

I wasn't precisely bred for expecting GreatGoodFortune. My folks, like many who experienced The Great Depression, learned to keep one foot in the ditch just in case and to avoid getting too big for their britches. They passed that perspective on to their kids. They were cautious, perhaps overly cautious, but one can't really criticize strategies that work. They experienced their share of GreatGoodFortune in spite of their foreboding. Short of reliable soothsaying, nothing seems capable of diverting GreatGoodFortune insistent upon visiting. It requires no faith in it and demands no worthiness test. It's just something that happens to each of us. Our attitudes don't attract it to us though I suppose that a seriously bad attitude might blind me from seeing it when it happens, but that wouldn't chase it away, just forfeit experiencing its presence. Humble acceptance seems most appropriate. It's unseemly to take credit for GreatGoodFortune. Its presence says nothing about how clever you are, but about how blessed. Blessed isn't about talent or worthiness or better or worse. Blessed just seems the opposite of cursed.

I admit that I've been opening up to the likelihood that GreatGoodFortune will continue stalking me. I'm working to imagine how my life might be if I didn't feel so afraid of new experiences, if I didn't expect cans of worms. It's early days, not quite six months since The Muse and I reclaimed The Villa Vatta Schmaltz and restarted living life with a vat overflowing with Schmaltz, or GreatGoodFortune. Our greatest problems have been in finding people able to help, or might have been since the people we've needed have tended to show up at better times than we first expected. Slower starts have translated into better preparedness as whatever magic governs this place tends to show us better than we'd planned. Accidental convergences cannot be successfully second guessed and never warrant later reworking. We seem to be precisely in the place we would have wished ourselves to be had we been as prescient as the venerable I Ching or a decent Tarot reading, but we weren't. We had GreatGoodFortune on our side, instead.


This Friday closes a loop on a terribly convoluted writing week, one of those which seemed anything but Consequent coming out but fared much better in retrospect. This effect reminded me of the importance of these little weekly retrospectives. Had I not slowed down to look back, I would have most likely carried the weight of my initial impression on my back forever. This is how one works himself out of his gifts. One has to crack open the packages to discover whatever's inside.

I began my writing week at ease, working my fool butt off but
Easy. "I'm not working myself to death here, but working myself to life."

I next produced a sort of lament where I noticed that I'd become an elder and wondered what that role might entail in
Eldering. "I sense that mending doors might teach me all I need to know about Eldering."

I then noticed that for all the changes The Muse and I have visited upon our beloved Villa Vatta Schmaltz, it's not very different from when we first moved in with
Changing. "I'm learning after decades of distracted practice that I'm best if I'm focused upon Changing something superficial."

I let a sort of secret slip out next, a form of personal magic I've long secretly practiced. I decided to share this secret in
Sublimating. "If I can cast myself as the hero of my adventure, it seems to me that anyone could cast themselves as the hero of theirs."

Near the middle of this writing week, I started feeling desperate that I was losing my ability to write. I prefaced these intimations in
BackOrdered. "A time will come when genius melts, when brilliance dulls, when whatever it was will be no longer. Thieves in the night make more ruckus. Sunrises and sunsets leave bigger footprints."

I started digging myself out of my midweek funk by remembering that I have a say in whatever I'm doing, if not necessarily in what I'm assigned in
MannerOfWorking. "What approach am I deploying as if it was essential? These are the steps most likely to becoming transformationally optional."

I ended this consequential writing week with a piece entitled
Consequent, wherein I tried to explain what happens when a project really gets going. It could steal you blind of everything or remind you to hold one special thing close. "We could retain responsibility for having the time of our lives. Let light hearts prevail!"

I have been working full days as a day laborer in my own personal sweat shop, dragging my heels and also lifting myself up. I'm concluding that these are very special times and my continuing GreatGoodFortune seems to confirm my conviction. No smarter than I ever was, I'm just lucky right now, I guess. Thank you for following along. I understand that if you rub my head just so, my GreatGoodFortune might rub off on you! You're welcome!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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