I have always wanted my life to be epic! Imagine yourself standing on a mountain top. The view is clear and the sun is bright. You can see for miles. Your feet are planted firmly beneath you. There is nothing, not even the wind at your back, that can rock you. And the wind is strong but you are stronger. You are solid. You have purpose and the wind in your hair and in your clothes is but a soft caress urging you on and upwards to follow the grand design of which you are a part of. It is Destiny! Adventure! Meaning! You are the living embodiment of those poems and such stories that grab the imagination and build within it a firmament of grandness and skies full of stars. Epic!
Sound familiar? Sure it does. Only a couple more days until the Hobbit Part 2 opens in theaters. Am I excited? Yes. Will this post be about Hobbits? No, so let’s move on.
Not too long ago, I believe it was close to midnight, I sat down and feeling depressed wrote the following few lines:
“Life! They say it is a gift..to cherish and to live..life! Nobody ever asked me if I wanted a life….nobody ever held this thing called life out to me and said “Look here, I have this thing called life….would you like it? Take it, live!” I tell you, they never told me about what this thing called life really is”.
Yes, that was me. Doesn’t sound too epic, right? I agree. Consider this, though. How easy is it to build a life? Have you ever tried to build a life? Of course you have, but how does one begin and who writes the instructions and can one even read them? Should you?
In contrast, how easy is it to dismantle a life? It is easy. Set it afire, blow it into oblivion..take the dive, disappear. Destroying is so much easier than to build..to build what? I know how to take it apart..a singular purpose with no rules or structure…..but build? A much harder concept.
We are constantly surrounded by images, messages and are moved this way and that way. Media, politicians, friends, family and society, they all speak to us and all have different ideas of how to build a life.
They tell you many things. Every single day, your entire life they tell you to do this, do that, go here, feel this, avoid, cherish, strive for this, be so and so. You should go running today, they say, because its healthy; don’t eat meat, buy a banana….you should call your friends…they are your friends…go meet them, do something together..or you will lose them….you should go to school…learn this..don’t drink, go to church, remember to vote..volunteering builds character…one day you should have a career and a house and a wife and a white picket fence —– what is this nonsense!
In your head there exists chaos. Too many voices are all speaking at once and all you hear is an incessant drone. Try taking the next step. Osho, the Indian philosopher, will tell you to clear your mind, meditate and find yourself. Find your inner you, your voice and follow it. Open your eyes, don’t be blind – to life. Yes, Osho, I am trying.
Rainer Maria Rilke, the German poet, will tell you to live everything – the confusion, the pain, the fear, the laughter – live all your moments and be present. One day even you will arrive at an answer.
Joseph Campbell will tell you that you yourself are the answer. There is no meaning beyond that which you create. He believes that deep down we are not really seeking meaning but more importantly the experience – the rapture – of feeling alive.
Our inner suffering for answers is, as Jean Vanier will tell you, a fundamental part of the human condition because nothing in existence can completely satisfy the needs of the human heart.
What am I really trying to say here? Read books! No, but reading is great. Imagine. Millions of people have lived before us and I can guarantee that some of them probably felt the same anguish over life’s choices as we do, as I do. Sometimes we are lucky and they even wrote their experiences and their lessons learned down on paper so that from distant pasts we may hear voices telling us that ‘Wisdom begins in wonder’ ~ Socrates or that ‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it’ ~ Rumi. Great stuff!
If not reading, then what? I don’t really know. I am journeying myself. Forward, backward, in circles, up and sometimes down. I have not figured out where I stand on meaning or purpose or such lofty matters.
What I do know, however, is that I want to be open to life. I want to be kind to life and treasure it. I want to consider everything and to own my feelings. They are mine and even the sad and the depressing – I want them.
I want to build a life with whatever tools I may find, even if it fails inspection and comes crashing down. They say that from ashes there arises a phoenix and takes flight. Epic! Some say we need guiding myths in life, of grand ideals and fabulous possibilities. I agree and so I return to the mountain top. It is here that I see, perhaps most clearly, that before me there are stretched out many more mountain tops and between them valleys. None is alike and all are connected. Up and down, up and down.