Friday, April 15, 2011

It Takes Courage

It takes courage to do what you want. Other people have a lot of plans for you. Nobody wants you to do what you want to do. They want you to go on their trip, but you can do what you want. I did. I went into the woods and read for five years.

- Joseph Campbell

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Sacrifice is the hallmark of love. When we place another - our children, our spouses, our lovers - ahead of ourselves we are sacrificing time and energy so they might be cared for, might know our love. For the fucked this becomes a ritual not of sacrifice, not a willing gift, but rather a self-reflexive act that neither sacrifices anything nor comforts anyone. In order to sacrifice, in order to love there must be something to give. When you spend your days as a mere plaything of chance, forever put upon by the outward circumstances of your life you are on someone else's trip, completely removed from your own true self. Do this, live like this and time will only bring you an empty cup.

You have to fill the well before you can give it away.

The fucked would rather be martyrs to their own cause than acknowledge this. Somehow we've set in opposition the need to care for ourselves and our desire to love others. It isn't either/or. It is both. Goddamn, it is both.

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I have lived on the lip of madness, a knife's edge between what I know and what others do. I have allowed the acts of others to throw doubt into my bucket. This is madness, this is the knife's edge: doubting yourself because of the acts of others. Campbell further on writes:

Actually, there were times with I almost thought - ALMOST thought- "Jeez, I wish someone would tell me what I had to do," that sort of thing. Freedom involves making decisions, and each decision is a destiny decision. It's very difficult to find in the outside world something that matches what the system inside you is yearning for.

What are you yearning for? That is all. That is all. The outside cannot ever determine what is inside you. Of course we allow it to happen all the time. That's what makes us fucked. But listen, you can unfuck it, but only you can do it. Remember, things like this blog and the books I use and the books you'll read are all still part of what is outside. It only gets unfucked from within. You want to love someone, then unfuck yourself. You want to care for someone, offer them your time and energy, then unfuck yourself. Think of what you are giving if you are a fucked fucker. Snap out of it.

It takes courage to do what you want. It takes courage to resist the ennui of others' bad acts. It takes courage to know yourself so that you can know another. It takes courage to do almost anything in this world. Not because the world is inherently bad. It is neither good nor bad, but is populated with people who make it so by their thoughts, words and deeds.

I have lived on the lip of madness, the madness of others. I have allowed it to stain my thoughts, and yet because of this obligation to be here, to write, to continually push at what I know that blot is erased every day. It is up to me keep it so. Like Prometheus' liver, it grows back over night and I have to start again. But what of it? This is what life is for - having the courage to be exactly who you are.

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Long may you run.



  1. Wow! I needed to hear this! I'v been stuck thinking I was sacrificing myself for my kids bcaz od the divorce, but ur right! Its become a ritual. No wonder I no longer feel my time & energy are worth my giving. Thank u so much for helping me redirect my life!

  2. Want to, but it feels wrong, I'm suspicious I'll fall into a trap if I do what I want, can you help me with this?

  3. No, man, I can't help. This is up to you.You worry about falling into a trap, but that, too, is a trap that keeps you forever on the side of the river and never feeling what it is like to be in the flow of your life. That's why it takes courage, but know this: you are not alone. Men and women down through the ages have struggled to find their way. They left clues. Search them out. This blog is a trail of breadcrumbs, too. You are not alone, but you are on your own. And that is the great gift of being alive. Good luck.