Stephen Victor


A couple years ago I discovered YouTube’s Britain’s Got Talent. When I have time I watch and listen while making breakfast or coffee. In sharing their talent, those auditioning reveal their beauty and at times, I cry. The poet John O’Donohue said the human heart cannot live without beauty.

Before YouTube, I read Nobel Laureate acceptance speeches looking for beauty. I also read things like the inaugural speech of the Czech Republic’s first president, Vaclav Havel. His honesty revealed his beauty. Though I sometimes grouse about the stupid things people do, I know of and see humanity’s staggering beauty. I always find it. For me, it’s important to direct my attention to beauty as doing so makes it easier to maintain clarity and resourcefulness—particularly in difficult times.

For the past two or three years I’ve been reading interviews of writers and writers writing about writing. The Fragrance of Guava: Conversations with Gabriel Garcia Marquez is lovely. Garcia Marquez said “I know my wife so well that I don’t know her at all.” In seeing his wife, he saw the Mystery in her. Now that’s beauty!

Not knowing how to love is what prevents us from seeing one another. What was it Thich Nhat Hahn said? “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.” This has been my experience—from both sides—the one ostensibly being loved and the one ostensibly doing the loving.

Its taken me so long to learn to love. So long to leave a child’s way of loving. I could lament this but don’t. Rather, I’m gratefully and utterly gobsmacked with my new capacity and experience of loving in a mature way, of experiencing the heart-touching and arresting force, or whatever it is, in and beyond my wife—that ever present ineffable something that I’d been oblivious to, yet, so desperately seeking. Phew!

This ineffable force is, of course, its own thing—yet, too, it infuses everything. To know this now is beyond my ability to express. Though books and film opened me, it is through another that the Mystery bequeathed me this boon.

Even so, I yet have impediments to the freedom that will ensue from loving myself more fully—from uttering my unequivocal “Yes” to the Mystery. It seems that I’ve had aspects bent on defining myself by others’ and my own ill-fitting invectives…

…rather than by the best of me. Hmm?

As for tears in my appreciation of others’ creative expression… Well, yes, there is an honesty in those tears; yet, too, my story and tears have also been a ruse. One that fooled me a long time. Recently, my story shattered: I now see that my tears were me feeling sorry for myself—for not yet having creatively expressed what I long to.

I either get my, now-shattered, limiting story… or I can do what it takes to do the things I say I want to do…

I bow to beauty of the forces rendering impermanence to my story…

The Much that Calls for More

There are moments when The Mystery, through circumstance, opens the ledgers of our life revealing its accounts—the credits and debits of experience and expression—our daily

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