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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

Blursed


I admit this word is new to me—and maybe to you as well. It is a contraction of blessed and cursed, and on reflection I find that it describes quite well what I have often observed about life experiences. Namely that things I once found cursed on occasion lead to unexpected blessings. With rather less frequency the opposite has been true, but in all cases, what changed is the question? How is it possible that something I regarded as among the worst of experiences can become among the best?

There isn’t a great mystery to unpack, I am the common denominator. It is also obvious that my disposition toward certain life experiences leads me to consider them from a particular emotional vantage. I might have said, certain experiences made me feel this way or that, but experiences don’t make us feel, we make us feel one way or another. That is, we are disposed to feeling a particular way, sad, happy, angry or so on and those feelings derive from a number of wellsprings within us. Our beliefs and prior experiences are two of the more powerful ways in which we become conditioned. And more often than not, our conditioned response is what determines in the moment how we feel. It isn’t at all objective or reasoned, it is all too often instinctual and immediate.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me add that I am not for the moment addressing occasions of great happiness or sadness, such as a birth, or the loss of a loved one. The emotions accompanying such events arise from a source so indwelling and universal that they fall well outside the banality of blessing and curse. Let’s take it down a notch and talk about missing a flight connection, having a tire blow out on a rainy night, or perhaps getting turned down for a promotion, or even losing a job. These are the kind of events that typically elicit the cursed refrain. They are discomfiting, upsetting to our equilibrium and perhaps cause for worry. Their counterparts might be of a similar nature; getting a new job, finding something you valued that you thought lost, or discovering a new talent or skill. These are the kinds of experiences I think of as worthy of this new word, blursed.

We can all agree that not every cloud is what it appears to be—a missed flight may be annoying but some enforced waiting is clearly not the worst thing that will ever happen to us. Promotion to a new job that suddenly requires more time and commitment putting strain on our social life or friendships is another example of a blursed experience; good on one level not so on another. I quite like this way of thinking about things and applying it to those experiences that I might otherwise reflexively label as good or bad. It isn’t about looking for the good in what I might otherwise see as vexing, or about finding the worm in the apple, as it is refraining from the need to categorize experiences before allowing them time in which to play out.

I’ve been experimenting with it for a few days-deliberately countering the habit of responding to experiences with any judgement at all—allowing them to sit in the half-lit world of the blursed, sharing equal qualities. I find that this suspension of judgement results in a very positive outcome. I feel no compunction to resolve events, they are what they are, neither positive nor negative and I am happy to leave them there for as long as I wish. Even if the scales should tip more decisively in one direction or another, experience tells me that conditions of the moment can change so I am free to reserve any final dispensation. It may only be a word, and a made up one at that, but I think I will stick with this approach for now. In fact, I am thinking about how this might apply to weightier issues as well.

Now I realize I am having a little fun here; events do affect us and we find ourselves sorrowful or joyful as a result. I don’t want to diminish that but wonder and not in jest whether the emotional energy expended on life’s blursings doesn’t rob us of more profound feelings. You know the experiences I mean, those we call transcendent because they exceed anything we humans normally feel. Those experiences connect us with something ineffable—the experience of being one with something greater than ourselves—mysterious and awesome all at once.


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