What is actual is actual only for one time. And only for one place.
T. S. Eliot
Wandering around the evening streets in China always brings something of interest to see.  This man in engaging in a traditional activity – water calligraphy. The intensity of his expression and the care he used for his work caught my attention.  Calligraphy takes many years to learn and many, many hours to perfect.  Here he was, out in the public arena, demonstrating something he knew well and loved.  But in this demonstration, he also knew that within a few minutes, his work would disappear.  The water would dry and we would see nothing of where he had been and what he had created.
This empherality was accepted, planned for and seen as an absolute given.  He could have used paper or carved his work into stone, but instead, he chose to acknowledge that we cannot control the elements, we cannot change the way the natural processes occur.  He chose to work with these processes.  In doing so, he created a momentary beauty for all of us watching and he perhaps gained a few coins for his skill as well.
It is hard for us to accept that there are so many things we cannot control.  Our ego demands that we have the world circle around us and that things change to fit our needs or our wants.  For me, this is perhaps the darkest side of our dark side. We push and manipulate others to give ourselves that sense of control. Our dark side, the deepest unconscious somehow tends to believe that the world and the people there exist only to fulfill our needs, remove our insecurities and make us feel powerful.
How do we learn the lesson that control is not the real need?  That we are only what we are and no more? That  acceptance and tolerance of the world around us, and for the people within it are more important?  Sometimes we need others to push back – each time we try to control them, to take away their rights of action, speech and independence we have to have them say or demonstrate NO!  For those trying to meet their needs by attempting to control us, we need to be able to say clearly NO!
This is not easy for many people.  The fear of upsetting others, of being unpopular or unwanted prevents many people from clearly saying or demonstrating their ‘NO’.  But by not using our voice or by allowing others to close us down, we become lesser people ourselves.  We lose the chance to strengthen ourselves and we lose the chance to give the manipulator the understanding that s/he cannot meet needs through controlling others.
If we do not want the sharpness and the hurt of others abruptly stopping us to teach us our limits, we need to take our own journey into our psyche and look for the insecurities that make us want to control others.  Making the journey into that dark side is not easy, because it means that we have to face our own ephemerality.  We are not the centre of creation; the world will move and survive well (or better) without us, and worst of all, that the people within our sphere are not ours to manipulate or control  We need to find other ways of becoming secure and of feeling real.
In this image, I have been able to preserve this moment in time.  But I know that I can never recreate it exactly as it was. The artist has written and moved on, happy with his art, accepting that he cannot control the drying air.
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