We pick up, put down, pass on (in the sense of "I'll pass on that," and not in the sense of what we leave behind), pass by. I pass on a lot of things, and pass by unseeing too many things, and I've put down most of the things I've picked up. But I'm still picking up, putting down, passing on and passing by. It's the template for life. And it is a true reflection of what matters most to us-- and that says who we are better than words could do it. A quick inventory of the things you have picked up, put down, passed on and passed by, that is a snapshot of what you are leaving behind. Our legacy is what we picked up, put down, passed on and passed by. We can fool ourselves in a lot of ways, but that list is the truth that cannot be denied. We are what we pick up, put down, pass on and pass by.
It’s best, I think, to make no global evaluations, either of ourselves, personally, or of the world/life in general. No assessments allowed! Should be a rule. It will only depress you. The best we could do as a species is easily dismissed by the worst we could do. I’m ashamed to be a part of something that can’t do any better than we have done over the 10 million years, or so of our existence. Jesus and the Buddha spend eternity throwing up. So, we focus on the things that ground us, restore us, enliven us-- and ignore to the best of our ability, all the things that would send us running to the wailing wall. Despair is real and a valid response to the truth of what we have done and are doing— to the truth of what our choices are. Where do we have good-enough choices? We get to choose from among unchooseable choices! So we take it one day at a time, and try not to think about the things we aren’t thinking about when we distract ourselves with art/music, beauty and nature (the natural world itself is as vicious as we are if we look closer and see everything). Refusing to let it get us down, or even slow us down, in pursuing the good as we perceive it, and are able to embrace and to do, is the best I’ve come up with. We live “anyway, nevertheless, even so,” as though what we do matters, the way actors who are true to their art play their part in movies that don't have a script, or a director, capable of Oscar consideration. We play our roles as they need to be played, as they must be played, doing what needs to be done with the gifts we have to offer, as best we can, and let that be that, given the nature of our circumstances, and the quality of our prospects, saying, “If somebody can do it better, I hope they do! But this is the best I’m capable of doing,” and being right about it. So press on! Press on! We are all Sisyphus rolling his rock through eternity. Our attitude about what we are doing is the main thing we do, and is truly precious about us-- where the radiance and wonder shine through. Roll on! Roll on! It’s what we do!