I was listening to Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now” tonight, actually listened a few times, peaceful, reminded me of some things; also began to think about it a bit. I like looking at clouds, interesting and liberating. I began to wonder about the line “it’s life’s illusions I recall”. Does life really have illusions or are “life’s illusions” really our own expectations which fail to be realized?

When considering the question it is easy to simply say that with all its twists and turns that life does have illusions.  When young we’re told, among other things, that “the sky’s the limit”.  The implication is that we can do anything we want without regard to who or what we are.  Thinking about it, Joni’s use of “Clouds” may actually be a subliminal reference to the latter.  We see in the clouds that which we wish to obtain, define it and give it some sense of structure.   Anyhow, typically in the wake of such declarations we begin a pursuit of all we believe, but which may or may not be what we really want.  We set goals, define objectives and begin our pursuit of them.   In setting our goals is it not what we envision, not what providence may have in store for us or has providence sublimely led us down the path we believe is our choice by shaping the clouds in a certain manner at that time when we choose our path?

I’d like to think that we fully control where we go in life, but in my reality I think that is not the case.  Sure we have certain abilities to control how we move forward – we can choose whether we study for the test and thereby affect our grade, we can choose whether we watch television or go to work and so forth.  However, much like the farmer who can enhance the chances of a successful crop by planting early with all the right components but whom, in the end, is at the mercy of the weather – can he really predict a drought?

Back to illusions, we often hear the saying “things are not what they seem to be” and perhaps this is an inevitable truth.  Do we always know what is in the photograph, the stresses a person may have had prior to our encountering them or the many other similar things?  I would submit that it is our paradigm, our experiences in life to that point which defines how we see something.  It is life that offers the play in which we participate, but in the end, I believe illusions are of our own making, that when presented with individual scenes, we interpret them in our own way, irrespective of the reality.

As always, feel free to comment or you may email me at lifeabstractions@gmail.com



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