Søren Kierkegaard and weather conditions

I suspect I am one of many who looks for and sometimes finds clarity and support and assurance that the path I’m on is  life as it should be. Poorly phrased, this. Best I can do at the moment.

Lately I’ve read some of Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s work. A couple of  salient lines reflect some tenets in my state of mind, all to the fore now given my current life experience (going back on stage): “Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own,” and, “Be that self which one truly is.”

Both guidances underscore the fierce allegiance one must have to honesty. Honesty with self. Honesty about one’s being. The unflinching or flinching capacity to accept the reality you’re in. Flinching is okay as long as you reach acceptance. Trust me; I’m a flincher from way back.

We are each our own “weather condition,” never still, always moving, always changing. Our planet, our armature, is our being. Any quest to move through our “weather conditions”absent pain, sadness, fear, confusion and so on, is doomed. It’s simply not possible. Those “weather conditions” along with delicious ones like love, joy, laughter, wonder, ecstasy, and so on are all part of  life – and that’s okay. It’s as it should be. The sooner one recognizes one’s very being is (unless one seeks confirmation of one’s worth in the “weather conditions” of others) is the fountain of self, the freer we are to live, to be. And was not Oscar Wilde right when he said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken?”

Far too many of us, me too for a time, rely on the  “weather conditions” of others for our sense of value and worth. That’s like leaning on smoke and hoping not to fall.

Don’t fall. Be.

Søren Kierkegaard and weather conditions

I suspect I am one of many who looks for and sometimes finds clarity and support and assurance that the path I’m on is  life as it should be. Poorly phrased, this. Best I can do at the moment.

Lately I’ve read some of Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s work. A couple of  salient lines reflect some tenets in my state of mind, all to the fore now given my current life experience (going back on stage): “Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own,” and, “Be that self which one truly is.”

Both guidances underscore the fierce allegiance one must have to honesty. Honesty with self. Honesty about one’s being. The unflinching or flinching capacity to accept the reality you’re in. Flinching is okay as long as you reach acceptance. Trust me; I’m a flincher from way back.

We are each our own “weather condition,” never still, always moving, always changing. Our planet, our armature, is our being. Any quest to move through our “weather conditions”absent pain, sadness, fear, confusion and so on, is doomed. It’s simply not possible. Those “weather conditions” along with delicious ones like love, joy, laughter, wonder, ecstasy, and so on are all part of  life – and that’s okay. It’s as it should be. The sooner one recognizes one’s very being is (unless one seeks confirmation of one’s worth in the “weather conditions” of others) is the fountain of self, the freer we are to live, to be. And was not Oscar Wilde right when he said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken?”

Far too many of us, me too for a time, rely on the  “weather conditions” of others for our sense of value and worth. That’s like leaning on smoke and hoping not to fall.

Don’t fall. Be.

Thanking Messrs. Wilde & Thoreau

I love and cherish various phrases that, for me, put reality in a clear light, and, in some cases, inspire.  I like phrases that right-size some or all of life’s ingredients. Lately, I’ve been spending time with Oscar Wilde’s, “Be yourself’; everyone else is already taken.” While there appears to be a nearly endless string of speculations as to why we exist in the first place, I think it safe to conclude that part of the answer – no matter the speculation – is, to be yourself.

(Note: I will not be surprised if a reader writes in informing me that one or more meaning-of-life speculations does not include, to be yourself. More than okay. In the event I am so informed, I have my response fully polished and ready to go: I don’t agree.)

So many of us get the message or messages that there is something wrong with who we are. That somehow, were we to give ourselves permission to, as Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined,” we would be mucking up the works. Not true! Giving ourselves permission to live the life we’ve imagined will undoubtedly result in a happier life. In the first place, living the life you’ve imagined likely means you will be engaged in things you enjoy. Whether you meet every single solitary goal is, when it comes down to it, not the sole point of things. The joy and wonder is the journey itself. Conversely, denying yourself permission to live the life you’ve imagined or, more precisely, denying yourself your right  to be you, will undoubtedly result in a less fulfilling and, as a result, less happy life.

There is another gift that comes with being yourself. You will find yourself among those of similar interests, a reality that makes for solid and healthy friendships (or more) because you don’t have to abbreviate or surrender parts of yourself in order to connect with the others.

Yes, it is quite true that no two people are alike which means any two people will have their differences. There will be, in any meaningful connection between people, the need to compromise. But, and listen closely, healthy compromise and giving up who you are are worlds apart. Healthy compromise is a way of adapting to your environment which, of course, includes the people in your life. Compromise, adaptation, is how species continue to exist and, if they are lucky, flourish.

Compromise promotes one’s growth. Giving up who you are stifles growth, fuels resentment, and leads to a story that never ends with the words, And (he, she or they) lived happily ever after.

So, this writer would urge you to heed Messrs. Wilde and Thoreau: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken, and, Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.

Lastly, consider this. Had Messrs. Wilde and Thoreau not given themselves permission to be who they were, we would not have these two wonderful quotes to guide and empower us.

Two Slices of Bread

Today a very early morning walk downstairs to the kitchen wondering what I have left to eat to absorb the day’s first cup of coffee, though, as always, there are several bags of frozen vegetables to cook-up. Funny how when things get tight the diet gets healthier.

Walking now through the living room I smile, comforted by the sight of books stacked on the side table next to my reading chair:  “The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge” by David McCullough,  the complete collection of Bernard Malamud’s short stories along with his “The Assistant” and “Dubin’s Lives.” And then there is “Steinbeck: A Centennial Tribute” by Stephen K. George and last and anything but least, a remarkable biography of Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellman. I am not alone!

In the kitchen now I hit the button on the coffee machine. I nearly always prepare it the night before and that magical morning push of the button is one of my favorite moments of the day. I open the refrigerator knowing there is not much in there now at the end of the month but you never know. Seconds after seeing two tomatoes which will do the trick I spot a crumbled package containing two slices of bread. I toast up both slices, slather them with strawberry preserves, and now I’m in early morning heaven, made all the more so by pouring my first cup of coffee and quietly sipping it as I watch two Canadian geese at the edge of the pond, both still, enjoying the morning just like me.

After a few minutes of drinking in this delicious moment I head back upstairs to my writing room, making a mental note as I climb the stairs to buy extra bread after my disability check comes in so I can share some with the geese.