Gourd Afternoon

December 5, 2009


Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him seek no other blessedness. ~Thomas Carlyle

When we have the courage to speak our minds and use our voice to send the desires of our hearts from our inner world to the world outside, we take a bold step in making them happen. ~from yesterday’s Daily OM, “Freeing Our Inner Desires: Using Our Outside Voice.”

I have spent a lovely hour or two at The Gourd Place this afternoon, the always-interesting shop of my friends Priscilla and Janice. They have indeed “found their work” and have persisted in sharing their artistic vision for many years. You can read their story in Priscilla’s wonderful book, Gourd Girls, source of the Carlyle quote above.

There is something inspiring and uplifting about visiting them and the shop, about contemplating their efforts to live authentically, to speak with their “outside voices.” Today, as usual, the shop was full of well-wishers and positive energy. Janice and Priscilla have drawn around them a community of people who admire and appreciate their integrity and their found work. May we all strive to live in such a way.


Rebirth

June 21, 2009

…human beings are not born once and for all the day their mothers give birth to them…life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves. ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I’m not sure it would be possible to count all the rebirths in my life, but I am grateful for most of them at least. There is something wonderful about new chances to move closer to what you aspire to be. I am now in the process of birthing a consulting business, which I plan to nurture slowly until retirement and bring into fuller flower (to mix the metaphor!) once I have retired. I hope this will give me the opportunity to share with others the benefit of my experience and learning over the years of my career.

In any event, I will no doubt continue to pursue learning, as it is my passion! And when we are learning, a myriad of possibilities present themselves. I hope to be reborn again and again before I have to leave this world.

Take note of the rebirths in your life. Are you moving always closer to the person you wish to be in the world?


Flowing Water

April 6, 2009

There is guidance for each of us and by lowly listening, we shall hear the right word. Certainly there is a right for you that needs no choice on your part. Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into your life. Then, without effort, you are impelled to truth and to perfect contentment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I said to Terry that I want to be flowing water. Maybe becoming flowing water is the way to be on one’s true path. (I almost said “the first step on the path”–oh, my ingrained habit of linear thought!)

I see this process of becoming flowing water as acceptance, letting go of resistance, and dwelling–as Thoreau advises–“as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.”

What does this mean in practical, day-to-day terms? I think it means deep listening, stillness (ironically), and shedding the illusion of control. We have control over very little in this life, and yet we behave as though the world cannot turn without our efforts.

This week, I want to hold an image of flowing water, to be as close as possible to the channel in which my life flows, and to notice how that feels.


Let Your Life Speak

March 29, 2009

Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent. ~Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Now I become myself.
It’s taken time, many years and places.
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces….

~May Sarton, “Now I Become Myself”

Palmer reminds us that the word vocation is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” He has come to understand vocation as a gift to be received, rather than a goal to be achieved. Watching his granddaughter during the early days of her life, he could see that she had inclinations, preferences, and her own personality from birth. He says, “We are disabused of original giftedness in the first half of our lives. Then–if we are awake, aware, and able to admit our loss–we spend the second half trying to recover and reclaim the gift we once possessed.”

And he says: As May Sarton reminds us, the pilgrimage toward true self will take ‘time, many years and places.’ The world needs people with the patience and the passion to make that pilgrimage not only for their own sake but also as a social and political act. The world still waits for the truth that will set us free–my truth, your truth, our truth–the truth that was seeded in the earth when each of us arrived here formed in the image of God. Cultivating that truth, I believe, is the authentic vocation of every human being.

And: Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.’

This small volume of essays from Palmer leads us through his choices about vocation, his depression and dark periods, and his ultimate realization that he is a teacher. He believes our shared vocation, leadership in the world of action, is an outgrowth of our inner journeys. We should support one another’s inner work by creating “communities of solitudes,” not abandoning or trying to fix each other.

More ideas from Parker J. Palmer here.


An Undivided Life

March 14, 2009

Here is the ultimate irony of the divided life: live behind a wall long enough, and the true self you tried to hide from the world disappears from your own view! ~Parker J. Palmer

I have just finished reading Parker J. Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. How can every sentence from Palmer be exactly the sentence I would write if I could think and write as clearly and beautifully as he?

This book covers virtually all the themes I have explored in this blog–integrity, the open heart, connection, woundedness, respect, attention, letting go, and many others–in the investigation of an undivided life. Bringing inner and outer worlds together is a process Palmer refers to as the joining of soul and role. Rejoining, really, because in his view we were all undivided at birth. But he cautions that this process is much more than “embracing the inner child,” since “we carry burdens and challenges children do not have.”

Solitude Palmer defines as not necessarily living apart from others, but apart from ourselves. And community he says is not necessarily living with others, but rather “never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other…being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.”

We cocreate each other in encounter, Palmer says, and he gives a specific method for establishing “circles of trust,” safe “communities of solitudes” where people can listen to their own hearts, discern their own truth, without being invaded or evaded by others. He likens the soul to a wild animal, shy and self-protective, and says we must not go crashing through the woods (arguing, preaching, proclaiming, advising, trying to be helpful). We must sit in silent attentiveness and hopeful expectancy if we want the soul to appear.

I already knew a little of Palmer, a Quaker, from the many times my minister/friend Marti spoke about him from the UU pulpit. But (as with most books), I have no idea by what route I got to this one. I am just grateful to have discovered it.


Painting Myself

February 28, 2009

Painting myself for others, I have painted my inward self with colors clearer than my original ones. I have no more made my book than my book has made me. ~Montaigne

One of my friends often cautions me about maintaining more privacy. She is amazed that I bare my soul as much as I do in this blog, and I know she believes I will end up hurt as a result. But I am finding this experiment in personal revelation both clarifying and strengthening. I believe that vulnerability is, as David Whyte has said, “the door through which we walk into self-understanding and compassion for others.”

The quest is for personal truth. I have just read the introduction to Phillip Lopate’s anthology, The Art of the Personal Essay. He tells us the essayist is fascinated by the changeableness of human personality, understands that we all start from self-deception, and uses the additive strategy: “offering incomplete shards, one mask or persona after another…If we must ‘remove the mask,’ it is only to substitute another mask. The hope is that in the end…all these personae will add up to a genuine unmasking.”

And so this blog serves as a collection of fragments describing my journey–with movement, changing personae, and contradiction. Lopate writes, “The harvesting of self-contradiction is an intrinsic part of the personal essay form…the personal essayist is not necessarily out to win the audience’s unqualified love but to present the complex portrait of a human being.”

Writing this blog is making me, even as I am making it.


The Inner Voice

December 20, 2008

The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. Only he who listens can speak. ~Dag Hammarskjold

Success has always come relatively easy for me. I was a good student, never had difficulty finding a good job, have generally gotten along well with others, had some lucky breaks, and accomplished some things of which I am proud. But for the last couple of years, I seem to have gotten in my own way. I have found myself less effective in the outer world, and I think it is in part because my inner world was demanding to be heard.

In a more nurturing society, at least the beginnings of this process might have taken place early in my life and been my “vision quest” or “walkabout.” In our culture, I believe this process is often postponed by our focus on external success, and I think many never get there. So while I sometimes feel developmentally delayed, I also feel fortunate to be called by this inner voice now.

None of this is to say that I have not always tried to act from integrity, to better understand and define my values, to be guided by inner wisdom. But the voice is now more insistent, and is becoming clearer, for which I am grateful. Time shifts our stories. Not only is it not possible to step in the same river twice, but we cannot put the same toe in the river twice. Life is a spiral.

Has your inner voice ever had to shout for your attention?


Conformity

June 2, 2008

We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves, in order to be like other people.  ~Arthur Schopenhauer

My mother used to tell a story she found amusing. It was about coming to fetch me from school in the first grade. I was standing in front of the class when she arrived, pretending not to know my colors. I don’t remember this event, but this is one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard.

For I had been happily reading at least since age 5, had known my colors for far longer, and was academically way ahead of most of my first-grade class when I began school. But I had been admonished so strongly not to “show off,” to be like others so I would be liked, that I had hidden my abilities in the quest for acceptance.

It was many years before I was aware of my conditioning, and many more before I could move beyond it. Even still, I find myself thinking, “How will this look to others?” when I decide on a course of action. This is actually a skill that has served me well in career and political situations, but I have had to come to an understanding about the limits on its value. And I have suffered from applying it in situations where it is not needed.

I think this explains why authenticity is so very important to me now. I cannot bear to pretend any longer that I am something I am not. I actually think age is helpful in this regard, as we who are in public service approach retirement and can be whoever we are. How do you deal with this dilemma, in a political world?


The Soul at Work

May 26, 2008

Tell a wise person or else keep silent.  ~Goethe

Our deeper struggles are in effect our greatest spiritual and creative assets and the doors to whatever creativity we might possess. It seems to be a learned wisdom to share them with others only when they have the possibility of meeting them with some maturity.  ~David Whyte, inThe Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

This post began as a follow-up to the previous post, a balancing admonition about trusting others to understand our truths. It was prompted by my rereading one of my favorite books, from which these quotes are taken. I originally read The Heart Aroused in its first edition (published in 1994), and when I decided to buy a copy, I was delighted to find that it was revised in 2002. Exploration and revelation of our most authentic selves is certainly risky in the traditional workplace. But in the end, this post is less about the risks of disclosure and more about the broader subject of the soul at work.

Whyte helps us reconcile the world of work, or doing, with the soul, or being. He characterizes this divide as “a veritable San Andreas Fault in the American psyche: the personality’s wish to have power over experience, to control all events and consequences, and the soul’s wish to have power through experience, no matter what that may be.” Whyte cautions that “with little understanding of the essential link between the soul life and the creative gifts of their employees, hardheaded businesses listening so carefully to their hardheaded consultants may go the way of the incredibly hardheaded dinosaurs.” I believe this book should be required reading for all managers and students of business management.

Thankfully, there are environments that encourage the messy soul work that employees long to do. I came from (and helped create) one of those places, imperfect as it was, and I have since grieved for the belonging I experienced there. Whyte holds that when we do not feel belonging, “no attempt to coerce enthusiasm or imagination from us can be sustained for long.”

Whyte takes his title from the famous William Carlos Williams poem “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower,” which poignantly reminds us that “It is difficult/to get the news from poems/yet men die miserably every day/for lack/of what is found there.” Using poetry, psychology and myth, Whyte encourages us to face our fears and claim our authentic soul power in the world of work.


Faults-Image

May 18, 2008

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more. ~Mark Twain

While most believe it is desirable to present one’s best self to the world, I have always held that authenticity is more important than image. This has resulted in increasing discomfort for me over the years, working as I do (as most of us do) in a political environment. It seems that we have become a nation of image-makers, and that we have learned to value image above truth.

What has happened to the climate in which one could acknowledge (indeed, would be encouraged to acknowledge) faults, be forgiven for being human, and be allowed to model self-respecting honesty? Now we want to throw her (or him) off the island. This is hardly developmental progress!

Do you experience this tension between vulnerability and truth-telling? How do you handle it?


Life is Now

May 9, 2008

Forget about your life situation for a while and pay attention to your life.  ~Eckhart Tolle

I am rereading The Power of Now. I realized this time that while I agree with almost everything Tolle says, I am reluctant to experience it. His story of losing everything on the physical plane (relationships, home, job, socially defined identity) terrifies me, even though he reports being in a state of indescribable bliss at the time. How many of us can afford to go there, and would eventually come out on the other side as a famous spiritual teacher?

This resistance is identification with my mind, Tolle might say, which comes between me and myself, between me and others, between me and nature, between me and God. I can’t use thinking to experience Being. Tolle suggests focusing attention on the inner energy field of the body, that is, feeling the body from within. That, he says, puts us in touch with our emotions, which is a good place to start.

May I put aside past and future when they are not useful in the present moment. May I feel the body from within, be in touch with my emotions, and let go of my mind-identification. May I focus more on my life and not my life situation, which is illusory and exists in time, whereas my life is now and real. May I trust that the universe will hold me up as I find my true path.


Submission

April 29, 2008

Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.  ~Cyril Connolly

It has been many years since I have sent off a poem, but I have just submitted three poems to Kennesaw State University’s 2008 Poetry of the Golden Generation, a juried competition for southern poets 50 years of age and older. I hope this is an indication that I am paying more attention to the poet part of myself, as I believe it is the closest to my authentic nature, egolessness, the part of me that flows with all that is. Here are the poems:

Easter

The dogwood shines in the early light,
practiced from a night of bright moon.
The yellow-breasted chat is back,
repeating its repertoire.
To the east a pale orange glow
lies across the hills like a promise.

While some make last-minute trips for eggs,
you will think of “the old man,” twenty-six,
flying over Poland that Easter, 1944,
the day that twisted his future into a new shape,
that made him the father you knew:
wounded, sober, uncomplaining.

He is falling, unconscious, thousands of feet
to a Danish beach,
ribs and ankle broken, and waking
to the mercy of strangers,
the offer of boxed chocolates
to make up for his missing arm.

Somehow he rises through all that dark
to find the stone rolled away,
an ordinary life awaiting.
Patient and peaceful, he abides
until his soul is freed, a calling shrike,
circling in the blue sky.

White Pine Cabin

The wind is never far away
from this mountain cabin.
A breeze is sometimes just around the bend
even when the pines are stone-still.
In these days, a hammock hung
between before and after,
I sing to the mountain laurel
growing in thickets on the knoll.
I gather pine cones, memories,
resolutions for the life ahead.
I unfold my failures like old clothes,
Hug them to me, then let go,
watch them sail away on the wind.

Redbud

Spring afternoons at home,
I like to sit in the glider on the deck,
drink a beer under the wide blue sky
and watch the dogwood open,
my heart drunk with love
for the way you can’t wait
to show me the buzzing redbud
shimmering with bees and skippers.

You lead me to the top of the hill.
The black cat slinks nearby,
feigning interest in the moving grass.
Amazed, I suddenly want to contain that tree,
to feel the hum in every blossom
of my being, every pore electric,
to be lifted over the field
by thousands of tiny wings
beating to the rhythm of my heart.


Community

April 19, 2008

Once we become relatively independent, our challenge is to become effectively interdependent with others. ~Stephen Covey

Woke to gentle rain
Mist obscures the distant hills
Funeral today

We have lost something in our movement away from communal living. A lone city dweller might argue that the extended family brings too much closeness, calls for too much conformity, but (paradoxically), through it we may actually learn to be more tolerant of differences. Take the “crazy aunt” or that “funny cousin”–yes, they were labeled and talked about, but were still accepted as part of the family, and could count on the support of the group in times of crisis. Robert Frost said it well: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

I have had a love-hate relationship with community and family all my life. Because I felt like the “different one” in my immediate family, and because we had no extended family in our town, I have always had a certain craving to live anonymously, to be left alone, or at least not discouraged in becoming who I was to be. It is probably a big reason I didn’t have children of my own.

I am grateful, though, for my socialization, my ability to “look like” part of a group, to fit in where I can without self-betrayal. And I am so very thankful for my husband and close friends, who serve as my chosen community/family. May I continue to nurture my close relationships, and also be more open to the larger community around me.


Clarity

April 10, 2008

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.  ~Rollo May

Note that May talks about expressing and also listening. How do I know my own original ideas without listening to my own being? My new word is clarity. Years ago it was acceptance, but now I need to know what my original ideas are. I need to sit and listen to the voice inside. There are things/ideas/yearnings that I return to again and again. I want to notice those things, but with stillness and openness, and without feeling an urgency to act.

I spent the first few decades of my life betraying myself; I don’t want to do it ever again. To live authentically requires clarity. I am on an edge, a cusp, the dawn of a new period of life, so grateful to have survived until now. Silvia says we won’t die until we have finished our work here. What is my work? What is this next phase supposed to be about?


Lasting

January 27, 2008

To be somebody you must last.  ~Ruth Gordon

I got this quote out of the little book of Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much. The daily meditation that accompanies it is about perseverance, but I prefer to think that Ruth Gordon was talking about living a long life. It is only recently that I have had the thought that I want to live a long time. I think because it is only recently that I have really learned how to live.

When I was young, I assumed I would die young–I’m sure it was part of my overly dramatized depressive persona. Later, I just feared I would die young. Now I want to be a feisty, or at least spirited, old woman who says exactly what she thinks, does what she pleases (which will certainly involve learning), and laughs a lot.

Michelle Shocked sings, “When I grow up I wanna be an old woman,” and that seems about right. Meanwhile, I’ll keep in mind what Ruth Gordon says and try to last.


Flying

January 26, 2008

Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.  ~Toni Morrison

Birds and flying figured in all the poems I wrote for several years. I used to dream about plane crashes regularly. And I carried excess weight in my body, even though I am not a naturally heavy person. Perhaps these things are related.

Now I feel lighter, literally and figuratively. What are the things I have let go? The over-reliance on the opinions of others; unnecessary striving when waiting would do; and struggling to live each day without the understanding that the day will be what it is, with or without that struggling.

What is the shit that weighs you down? What could you jettison that would allow you to fly?


Expectations

January 25, 2008

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance and in inverse proportion to my expectations.  ~Michael J. Fox

I have missed blogging the past few days! It has become a habit, a practice, that helps ground me. In one 48-hour period this week, I drove 600 miles, or about 9 hours, for a 7-hour meeting. That just seems crazier than ever to me. Not to  mention the impact on the environment of that kind of living. I want to work toward a quieter, simpler life. I don’t mean to fight with the life I have, but as I said to David this week, I’m learning to completely let go of attachment to the outcome (expectations), while moving in what I think is a good and right direction.

I don’t think much about expectations these days. I am much more focused on day-to-day intention, action, reflection on what is (acceptance). And that is radical and wonderful. More and more of being here now, and less and less of dwelling on past mistakes or future possibilities, is liberating and exhilirating. What can I do in this moment to express my values, tune in to the rhythms of nature, be one with all, and honor the gift that is my “one wild and precious life”?*

Who am I really in this moment? It doesn’t matter who I have been, who I will be, who others think I am. What matters is living authentically now. And beginning again (and again, and again…). So…your turn: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”*

*from Mary Oliver’s extraordinary poem, “The Summer Day.”


Judgment

January 1, 2008

Positive judgment hurts less acutely than criticism, but it is judgment all the same and we are harmed by it in far more subtle ways. To seek approval is to have no resting place, no sanctuary.  ~Rachel Naomi Remen, from Kitchen Table Wisdom 

The only way to escape the personal corruption of praise is to go on working.  ~Einstein

Remen begins her essay on this topic by asserting that “the life in us is diminished by judgment far more frequently than disease. Our own self-judgment or the judgment of other people can stifle our life force, its spontaneity and natural expression.” Amen! But she goes on to remind us that approval can make us just as uncertain of our true worth as criticism. How have I “performed” for approval, either from others or from myself? From the time I was barely reading and was prompted to recite selections from Cautionary Verses* for company, to my career accomplishments, I have to admit there have been many such times.

As Remen also points out, one of the joys of aging is the recognition that we are whole people, with the full range of human characteristics: “fear and courage, generosity and selfishness, vulnerability and strength.” What we consider our shortcomings sometimes turn out to be strengths, and vice versa. And I love these concluding lines of her chapter: “Things that I have hidden from others for years turn out to be the anchor and enrichment of my middle age. What a blessing it is to outlive your self-judgments and harvest  your failures.”

It seems to me there is little else to be said about the absolutely perfect antidote Einstein supplies. How has judgment affected your life? What have you learned from your pursuit of approval?

*Cautionary Verses, by Hilaire Belloc, is a collection of droll, satirical moralisms with titles such as “Matilda, who told lies and was burned to death” and “Jim, who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion.” These are two I can still recite, along with “Henry King, who chewed bits of string and was early cut off in dreadful agonies.” One of my favorite stories about Belloc is his chosen epitaph: “When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.”


What Others Think

December 28, 2007

Enslavement to the opinions of others is the source of a great deal of duplicity in modern society. How often we discover our action to be prompted, not by the divine Center, but by what others may say or think. Sadly, we must confess that our experience is all too frequently characterized by endless attempts to justify what we do or fail to do.  ~Richard J. Foster

You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.  ~Olin Miller

How many of us were taught to consider first the appearance to others of our actions, rather than the rightness to ourselves? I have spent half a lifetime and a lot of therapy dollars unlearning that lesson, and still I catch myself sometimes justifying to others what I do or fail to do. Just look at my “About” page if you doubt me.

How liberating, though, to realize that I am my best counsel! Remaining open to the opinions and ideas of others, I strive to ultimately listen to my own voice, “divine Center” or conscience. There is a dearth of real courage in our society (as opposed to machismo/violence/aggression passed off for courage). I believe real courage requires us to be still, silent, reflective, and receptive–and these states are increasingly discouraged by modern lifestyles.

How do the opinions of others (real or imagined) shape your behavior, your thought, your deeds? What would change if you listened to your own wisdom?


INFJ, Again

November 6, 2007

This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, Sc. 3

An assignment in the leadership institute I am in this week was to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator — in my case, for the third, fourth, maybe fifth time.  Each time the result of my score has been INFJ–Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging–the rarest combination. 

There were a couple of changes this time, however. Always before I have had close scores on the Introverted-Extroverted dichotomy; this time I showed a clear preference for Introversion.  Before I have shown a clear preference for Judging over Perceiving; this time my scores were much closer. What does that mean? I’m in a job that requires less extroverted behavior than my previous one, and I do feel myself getting more solitary as I age. I hope the move toward Perceiving indicates a greater openness to change and less need for control. 

I want to think and write about surrender soon. I have always resisted, struggled with, protested any attempt to control my behavior, including self-control in many cases.  This is no doubt a result of being overly controlled in my youth. But I am beginning to realize the foolishness of that stance and recognize the many ways it has prevented my growth. Can you give up control? Some say “let go and let God.” Creatives talk about ceasing to think about or sleeping on a problem and “receiving” a solution. I want to learn surrender.


Integrity of the Person

September 26, 2007

The image shaped by the beat writers is partial, but without it any sense of life in these post-atom bomb years is incomplete. The solution is not, as is often absurdly suggested, to add Bohemia to suburbia and divide by two, thus achieving a golden mean or a shabby compromise. The solution is to be where you are, what you are, with such persistence and courage as can be called to life. The best of the beat writers exemplify precisely that state of secular grace. In this world of shifting conflicts, the integrity of the person might not be enough, but without it, all else is lost.  ~from A Casebook on the Beat, ed. by Thomas Parkinson, 1961

Does anyone read the beat writers anymore? Are we so far from the “post-atom bomb years” that we have forgotten the context in which this paragraph makes sense? Of course I believe it all holds just as true today, and that without “the integrity of the person…all else is lost.”

Do you know any truly courageous people who are able to persist in being who they are and where they are? I want to hang on to those people for dear life! (not to mention be one of them as best I can)


Doing Right

August 18, 2007

Always do right; this will gratify some people and astonish the rest. ~Mark Twain

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust. ~Samuel Johnson

Would that the simple maxim, that honesty is the best policy, might be laid to heart; that a sense of the true aim of life might elevate the tone of politics and trade till public and private honor become identical. ~Margaret Fuller

Lately I seem to find myself in the position of being the “conscience” in the group–uncomfortable to say the least, (especially for others), but dang it, I am going to be authentic and as ethical and honest as I can possibly be regardless of the culture in which I find myself.  While it doesn’t make friends and influence people, it’s the right thing to do.  Hence, my distaste for politics, where appearance and rhetoric are the important things, and honesty and authenticity are secondary at best.  In a political world, how do people balance personal integrity with political effectiveness? Is it possible?


Authenticity

August 16, 2007

Music is your own experience, your thoughts and wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn. ~Charlie Parker

I love this quote. And I don’t think it’s just about music. Any creative act (and everyone performs them) is only as good as the naturalness, the inevitability, of its expression. The next line in a poem MUST be a particular line in light of what the poet has lived, and tuning in to find out what that next line will be is the trick!