Life is about letting go, starting over, and grief on the way to the grave. In between those monumental stations of human being, we endeavor to find contentment, discover joy, and save friendships from perishing. Here is how Vincent van Gogh drew to know sorrow in 1882.

Some — in the Us of Us — become so consumed by misery, that they become suspended in the melodrama of it all, and remain calcified in their sorrow; and we can understand that obsession, because sorrow is the most fascinating, most brittle, and most majestic of all the derelictions and dedications.

While there is comfort in the inner contemplation of grief, and in the ongoing stasis of a life unlived — what happens to the mind, and soul, of one who is compressed by sorrow? What happens when the sorrow is so overwhelming, that the being inside becomes staid and calcified? That’s how all human life begins and ends, in the breath and along the gasp — and everything in between is the function of the burden of being.

We can long to fight the calcifying sorrow by blending joy against the hard expectation of reality, and in that divinity, we find the soft place of ourselves that deserve, and earn, mercy — but never grace. Grace is a gift. Mercy is in the giving.

We must also be wary of the calcifiers around us. They live to harden good things. They live to strike down light into darkness. They live to cage us, than allow us to roam free, and glorious, in the wind and rain. Those calcifiers condemn us through kindness, and via purposeful misunderstanding, and it is our duty to resist them, to defeat them, and to place them back into the depths of the hotted earth from whence they came.

We must also be aware of the indelibility of being. We can make our mark on the world, in good, and righteous, ways that cannot be denied or besmirched — or we can go along to get along, and fade away like chalk images chafing away from a slate blackboard, lost to the dust of time, and wafting into the distance of the miserable.

If we find ourselves calcifying in a sorrow that cannot be wept away, we need to relocate the self in space. Find a familiar marker, and use that pathway to discover others who can rescue you with attention and love. If you have no signposts, if you are totally encased, they you must take drastic action, and break away from the sordid bonds that have enraptured you — and you do that through the willpower to survive. You must start to breathe free again. You must start to stand tall again. You must start to reclaim everything lost in the transformation by denying your current fate, and by falling back into the waves of truth that first brought you hard, and fast, into the world.

Never underestimate the value of putting good energy back into the world without being asked, for there is tremendous strength in doing the right thing, and in doing for others without the expectation of getting anything back.

We may feel adrift in the world, without pardon, or port, or part of a friendly shoulder to cry upon — and that’s okay, that’s life, that’s how we resist the rusting compression of a converging sorrow.

We cannot expect a worry-free world. There will always be demons. There will always be hassles. Just remember that life is about one thing, and one thing only: problem solving. The more problems you have, the better your life is, because you are involved, and active, and then everything else falls naturally, and willfully, into place. In that conflict between the problem, and the solution, you find yourself, and you earn your merit, and you belay your gumption; the decisions are all yours to find success in the breath.

To not have problems is to be dead. When you realize, and accept, that the ongoing task of your life is to get things done, to overcome obstacles, to solve matters that beguile you — then you also begin to know, in the kindness, that causing problems for other people is not something you would ever want to do; and you will come to understand that solving your own problems, without creating problems for others, is the true mark of a magnificent life. A life to be lived! A life to be enjoyed! A life to be conquered — one problem at at time!

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