What if we choose not to do the things we are supposed to do? The principal gain is a sense of an authentic act – and an authentic life. It may be a short one, but it is an authentic one, and that's a lot better than those short lives full of boredom. The principal loss is security. Another is respect from the community. But you gain the respect of another community, the one that is worth having the respect of.
- Joseph Campbell, Myth & The Body
There are songlines in a thousand tongues all singing the same melody. It is how you get through. You just have to be quiet enough to listen and then you join in.
It is how any of us get through.
* * *
The fucked life does exactly as it is told. It compromises itself in order to receive a promised reward for its cooperation and compliance: work, sex, religion. It is a big tent and it welcomes everyone. Your life is given meaning, order and is, above all, secure. There are no sharp edges. All is well. All that can be done has been done. Hush now, sleep. You're among friends.
But the question is never asked: do I want these friends?
Your first friends are the kids you knew in your neighborhood. You didn't choose them, just as you didn't choose the family you were born into. Such happenstance accumulations become habit, thoughtless, simply the low hanging fruit of circumstance. Who you work with, who you work for, the work you do - are these conscious choices or default circumstances? How much have you actually chosen here? Don't read this wrong. I am all for work and love and friendship and paying bills, but I ask you: how much have of that is aligned with your essential, on-fire self and how much is mere opportunity?
What if we choose to do things we're not supposed to do?
* * *
Most of what keeps us from venturing the game is fear, fear we won't be successful, fear we won't be loved, fear we won't know what to do, fear that we cannot trust ourselves to figure it out. We stay where it is safe and warm, where others have created order and meaning and for most it is Cinderella's slipper. Except it doesn't work for everyone and we blame ourselves instead of questioning the rubric, the matrix, the system, the plans others have for us. The idea of struggling to fit in is somehow better than daring to leave it behind.
But what will you be leaving behind? Unhappiness, doubt, the sense of being a stranger in your own skin? Seems worth leaving behind.
Now think about what is gained.
Think about it.
Pretty, cool, eh?
You lose a home that was never yours and find the place you can be exactly who and what you are.
You lose friends who really just want to commiserate in their own sorrows and find souls who have come alive and can't help but share that sense of belonging to the moment.
You lose security and instead find adventure, the thrill of being alive, of a mind and a body working together to see what can be done with this spit of time and a spine that won't cave.
You lose the fucked life and gain your life. Your voice is added to the Dreaming and so you navigate these landscapes and leave a song for the next one to listen for, to listen for and find their own way across the expanse of their time.
* * *
Our genius lies in our choices, our commitments, our willingness to risk security in exchange for the experience of being fully alive.
You are a genius, my friend. It's time to share it out.
* * *