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Reply To: Missteps as a Redemptive Path to Destiny,” with futurist Kristina Dryža”


Hello Stephen!

How wonderful to be here with you all again for Conversations of a Higher Order. And thank you for sharing your story, where I nodded my head to every single sentence in a gesture of deep knowing.

Now, in answer to your question, how much time do we have??? I suffer frequently from rumination and obsessive thinking and running ‘would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’ scenarios in my head, which I know can’t change the past. And yet still I valiantly try!!! I have good days and bad days. And like many, I often feel like an outsider aimlessly wandering in the forest picking up the pieces of my ‘mistakes’ and ‘lost opportunities.’ Before I speak to the question, I really relate to this scene in  Season 2 Episode 4 of ‘The Witcher.’

Jaskier: What happened to you?

Yennefer: Chaos appears to be done with me.

Jaskier: You’ve lost your magic? Is that even possible?

Yennefer: Go on. Get your gloating in. Time’s limited.

Jaskier: Once upon a time, I would have used this opportunity to call you an empty, lonely, power hungry she-demon, but I’m an artist, Yennefer. It’s my job to put myself in other people’s shoes. Even if they are, in your case, large, clunky, and, I don’t know, probably full of snakes or something. I’m scared too. I’m scared that one day, the muses will stop speaking to me. Because who are we … when we can no longer do the one thing we were put on this Continent to do? 

Yennefer: We find a new purpose. A better one. Hopefully. 

Jaskier: Hmm. Chaos could never be done with the likes of you, Yennefer of Vengerberg. Of that much, I am certain.

I’m currently going through a situation where it feels that chaos appears to be done with me. And it has reawakened life’s regrets and disillusionments. It’s made me think back to times of past trials and tribulations, wondering how they could’ve been different if I were 100% present. If I was actually ‘there’ and in my body. It’s intensely painful to look back on those moments of yourself at your absolute worst! As Campbell wrote, “Every failure to cope with a life situation must be laid, in the end, to a restriction of consciousness. Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are illuminations come too late.”

How do we live ‘with’ the past, never ‘in’ it? It can accompany us as an echoing, lingering memory, but we ought never to stay in it, though I do seem to have this ferocious loyalty to stewing in regret. Why? A mentor more than once has suggested that I was meant to go and get this far lost off the beaten path. I needed the Parzival experience to develop the courage to seek redemption and to question what’s beyond this temporal existence. To feel that which always is. And always will be.

He reminds me that there’s no other way the situation could’ve been, nor any other way it will be. Every left turn was meant to have me turning left, no matter how much my hindsight bias tells me that I should’ve turned right. I feel that I’ve made so many bad choices. Mistakes that keep tripping me up. A faux pas for every hour of the day it feels. I ache to go back … to revisit … to redo a past that no longer exists.

But I must trust that if I could’ve done it differently, I would have. We are where we’re meant to be. And really, in all honesty, could I have met the situation in any other way? How could I have turned right instead of left when I wasn’t present enough, or sufficiently grounded within my own body, nor adequately empowered to choose differently? Let alone aware that I actually had a range of choices available to me. Maturity can’t be forced. It’s impossible to fill up with life experiences at a greater speed than our nervous system allows. Or through sheer force of will.

So currently I am in the dark forest. I have not found myself back at the Grail Castle. Yet. Nor has chaos gifted me with a new purpose. Yet. But I trust the myth.

Looking forward to being in dialogue with you this week – Kristina.