clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world

The razor’s edge between folly and wisdom


Somewhere along the years between being a young adult and the middle-aged person I have become, I learned the old prayer about wisdom. Many of you probably know this prayer: God grant me the the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Some of us have heard this prayer so often that it has fallen into the ‘trite’ category, relegated to those catchy little books one might see in the checkout aisle of a book or gift shop, or its online equivalent. Right now I am pondering what it is to be Wise, to possess wisdom, and this prayer comes to remind me of something essential. Courage, serenity and wisdom: three traits that seem more important than ever to acquire and use in daily life.

What makes a person wise? Think over the people you have known in your lifetime, which ones were fortunate enough to possess true wisdom? For some help, I have consulted my Oxford English dictionary. The word ‘wise’ has several connotations, of course. The ones I am thinking of are as follows: ‘sagacious; prudent, sensible, discreet, judicious, insightful, clear-sighted, discerning, astute, perspicacious.’ Ah, that last one was one of my father’s favorite obscure words. Perspicacious means, ‘easily understood; clearly expressed.’ And for those who aren’t too familiar with sagacious, another great word, it means,’mentally penetrating, gifted with discernment, having practical wisdom.’ There you go.

It seems woefully obvious to me that Wisdom is a quality which many in our collective humanity are currently lacking. You might be thinking that I am being very judgemental by saying this so plainly. But if you look again of what qualities a wise human possesses, and then consider all of the people you know personally, as well as stories of ones you don’t know, you might begin to agree that very few walking the planet today can really be said to be wise.

For many years, I only considered less than a handful of the people I knew to be wise and sagacious. My father was (and still is, in my memory) at the top of my list. All his life he embodied those qualities of prudence, clear-sightedness, sensibility, astuteness, as well as showing me grace and kindness in a thousand small and large ways. Others have also shown me wisdom, most notably some of the teachers I have had throughout my life. In more recent years, I have been blessed to receive the benefits of certain friends’ grace and wisdom.

Maybe one of the blessings of getting older is to be able to see one’s own foolishness more clearly. There is a lot to be said for foolishness, or folly, in building a human being’s character. I have often played the fool in life, done things and made decisions impulsively and without a huge amount of forethought. Some could see this quality in my soul, and referred to me as ‘clownish.’ For many years I struggled with this aspect of my soul, and even now I have to fight my own hurt feelings if someone refers to me in this way. Because there is also something very beautiful about clowns, jesters, mimes; ones who are willing to play the Fool for the others.

In a very real sense, I feel as if I am holding my breath and waiting to see what will happen in our world in the coming days and months. The best advice I have received just now tells me to be as calm and still inwardly as possible, and to find what brings me joy and then practice doing those things. Funny thing is, right now I am not exactly sure what does bring me joy. One blogger wrote about having a feeling similar to when it is getting near to Christmas, and the kind of anticipation and joy that she feels as she gathers gifts for her loved ones and lovingly prepares for the festivities.

One thing is for sure; joy cannot be faked, nor can it be created by intent alone. I cannot ‘make’ myself feel joyful, just as I cannot make myself be wise or guided by grace. These are all things which happen naturally when one walks through life with a kind of openness and non-defensiveness which then allows the presence of joy, wisdom and grace to come forth.

My inscrutably faced sculpture continues to keep me company here as I write these musings tonight, dear Readers. When the time is ripe, he will open his eyes, change his expression, magically get wings and fly away, or else whisper some wise words into my ear to help me understand. Until then, though, the two of us remain with the questions, pondering the changes, and doing our best to hold the light and our love strongly for the world. Just glad to know the rest of you are out there doing the same, giving your best to the world in all the ways you know how. You all give me so much courage and comfort, and smiles and encouragement. I feel the light and the love within you, and I deeply honor it.


Author: SingingBones

When we sing over the bones, we are calling the wild nature, the instinctive soul back, singing it alive again. To live with our wildness intact, is the greatest gift a woman can give herself. "It is the holy poetry and singing we are after." C.P. Estes

7 thoughts on “The razor’s edge between folly and wisdom

  1. Good one SB…..Funny thing about joy….What is it? The closest I can come to an explanation is that it is when you loose all track of time because you love what you are doing and there is no resistance of any kind…Joy to me is when everything is balanced! Blessings to you….VK


    • I agree, Vk, being in the flow and feeling the creative stream without thought of anything else is truly joyful. Rare for me just now, but I know it will come around again to a new time of joyful creative flow. Thanks for your encouragement, blessings today…. SB


  2. Yes, my dearest friend…that is all that we can do…hold the light, stay centered in the truth and love life……the passing show will continue to change…..


  3. Thank you SB, for honesty and courage to speak from your kind heart. If kindness is the better side of wisdom than knowing, and courage is fear prayed, then these aspects of you shine with words that appear more like lyrics adorned with Peace that comes from deep compassion. Here is a a few lyrics for our shared song herein:


    Chanting in Gods library, realized my origin

    Lovely words of children are we in quiet pose

    Songs of innocence are prayers said twice

    Authentic expressions come from listening well


    Home is goose bumps tingling with tears of one

    Forgiven mind vibration become words sung

    Please and thank you merge to sweet nectar

    I am the muse of twice the mystery in lyrics


  4. You write: “I cannot ‘make’ myself feel joyful, just as I cannot make myself be wise or guided by grace.” The beginning of wisdom is right there! So many people feel that there is some way to fix themselves or others, so control feelings, to make themselves or others happy.
    here, you recognize that joy and contentment come from inside of us, as do anxiety and fear. But it is so much easier to blame some ‘other’ or to thank some ‘other’ for the way we feel.


    • Thank you for your insightful comment, Ann. I would say this is an ongoing practice and challenge, as the meditators do, to simply be in and with whatever is going on inside of us while learning that great art of detachment. To me that is the real beginning of true wisdom, this art of being in it and yet not of it at the same time… thanks as always for reading.


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