Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Aman Iman - Water Is Life: Teach Us Endurance

"Your only obligation is to live and be happy." - Camus

Part ll: Further Explorations on the Trail

Here in the North Country at end of winter, endurance is the quality needed most of all. The snow, cold, and months of overcast skies and darkness conspire together, challenging us to rise again as we wait one more day for the spell to be broken by Spring.

Frankly, folks are depressed here in greater numbers; 'checking out' in one variation or another; flirting with the darkness, vulnerable and susceptible to its sway. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about when I say our endurance is tested daily. Camus' "only obligation - to live and be happy" is tested, also.

So, as I often do, I turn to my favorite text - the dictionary, and ask the oracle to define 'endurance' for me.


1) to carry on through despite hardships

2) to bear with tolerance

3) to continue in existence; to remain; to last.

Not an easy task, but a simple one: to carry; to bear; to continue.... Regardless, if you're looking at a long life ahead or have been told by some NOT-omnipotent human that you "have six months left to live," -- today's ability to endure, to remain, is a successful day.

Our obligation to be happy? First, one has to endure and from that ground we stand strong [or as strong as we are able] and aim our daily arrows at what might bring us some happiness - whatever it is our hearts find precious. What is your precious? Strengthen your bow arm, take aim and let your arrows fly....

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you this clip. It may seem long at almost eighteen minutes, but would I steer you wrong?! If at any point this past winter you've spent ANY time reflecting on "my life is soooo hard"; if you've spent one second questioning if all the hard work of facing one more day is within your capacity; if you've spent one dark moment thinking of alternatives to being 'here' - then this 18 minutes will be well-invested. Trust me.

I've watched this myself many times over the recent days since discovering it [thanks, Luis Alberto Urrea, www.luisurrea.com]. I'll let it speak for itself and just tell you that at 14 min. the screen will go black for a few seconds, but then continues and is well worth your last few minutes of attention. All I will say, is that from here on, whenever I think that my life is too hard, too challenging, when I question my ability to endure longer, I will remember the Touareg people of northern Africa, a tribe who unquestionably KNOW the definition of Endurance; and this group of musicians, Tinariwen, who have used music and the guitar as some of their arrows aimed "to live and be happy" beyond difficult circumstance.


Sandi said...

I am moved. Thank you so much for this.

tarzan said...

In different ways our minds seem to be running together today.....And we are where we need to be at this point on the compass....

Shark said...

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor."

-- Henry David Thoreau

el poquito said...

"Elevate life by conscious endeavor." -- I like that Henry David. Thanks, Shark.

Nice to 'see' friends who know well that word - endure, in all its dimensions. Together, y'all really know the depths of that word and help to fortify my own.

thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

edwaar.. am passing this blog site on to a friend in hopes that you'll help him in a struggle with dis -ease. xoxoxoxox gert

Mickey said...

Wow! Miigwetch, Poquito, for passing this on! It is very hopeful and beautiful.
I have just returned from visiting a friend in Alaska who recently lost her husband to pancreatic cancer...a different kind of desert there. But she is enduring...that noble and oh so human activity...
Peace to you and all,

el poquito said...

I'm so sorry to hear that, Mickey; my condolences. Your friends are very lucky to have you as a friend, a midwife who can usher both ways over the threshold. Peace to all, especially your friend and her husband.

Before him peace,
Behind him peace,
Above him peace,
Below him peace,
All around him peace.