Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Most Potent

“The most potent way to tell a story is first, to have lived it. And if you’ve lived it then you’re speaking the truth. And when you speak the truth, a listener will feel that it’s true. Therefore, your story will be more contagious.”

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I could not write this without having lived this. I could not presume to offer a single thing here without having walked this road. Otherwise, there would be no "here" here. The challenge is not looking for something to say, but to always check and make sure I have the authority to say it.

I promise you this: Everything here is born out of experience and that experience has lead me to search out others who have walked this road and when I find an echo or rhyme to the struggles we all encounter I offer it up so that you can find it quicker than I did, learn sooner than I did and so live an unfucked life before too much time has slipped away.

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The question before each of is: how am I to live?
The answer is: authentically.

You are the author of your time, of your time in the body you move in, the mind you wonder in. You alone are responsible for the answers to the questions, tasks and challenges laid before you. You alone must do the things that can be done with this spit of time, this wondrous and finite presence. But you are not alone. The despair of being fucked is born out of believing you're alone, that everyone else has it figured out and is leaving you behind, has already left you. This is the sinister aspect of our fuckeditude - and it is a lie.

Getting lost is what happens when you venture the game. Getting hurt is what happens when you love another because you have made yourself vulnerable, open, trusting. Do not read that as a call to shut down, to not love, to not risk anything. Quite the opposite. This is exactly the moment you must find within yourself the ability to love it more.

We fuck ourselves believing that only goodness, fairness, light and love are our due. That the difficulty of loss, failure, even betrayal, has no place in our lives. But no matter how high you build your walls such things still leak in, plow in and we are rudderless to respond. This is why you feel alone. This is the insidious nature of isolation and trying to protect, a priori, against unseen threats to our peace. If your peace is only made of defenses, then you have no peace. You are fucked before the fall. Carving out only the best of it, saying I will only manage the good and sweet is a betrayal of the life in your veins. Here's why: life is joyful and it is sorrowful at the same time. It breathes in and out. It begins and it ends. To be fully alive, fully capable of answering the question How am I to live? means knowing how to live joyfully among the sorrows, means affirming the life in your veins in the face of the certainty of your death, means saying yes to it all.

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Religion, faith, philosophy, science are ways of organizing the various answers we've come up with to the question about how to live. No one or the other is absolute. No one or the other is definitive. They attempt to answer the unanswerable - the mystery of our existence - and because it is unanswerable our minds break it down into knowable parts. The Hindu is as certain as the Catholic is as certain as the atheist is as certain as Hasid is as certain as... These fractions of a whole we cannot imagine become the manner in which we engage the world: our expectations, desires and limits. And if this is how you know the world then you will find evidence of your belief. The Stoics, Epictetus, Aurelius and Frankl, became my way of unfucking my life and I find evidence of their wisdom everywhere I turn. But that is just how it worked out for me. To live an authentic life you must decide for yourself what works and what does not, what you will pour your faith into, what you will believe is possible and what is not. And any of it is good. Any of it will work with this one caveat: what you believe and do must not, in any way, limit or degrade another.

What I lay out here is for you to consider, to play with, to mull over. I learned to unfuck my life when I realized I had something to give to others who'd found themselves stuck, disconnected from the life they knew was in them. Anything I write is provisional, not absolute. It is here for you to test out, to try on, to see where it might lead you.

I am a failed man who wrested authorship of my life back into my hands. I do this so that you might be emboldened to do the same in your own way.

And I have more to do.

I am deep in the middle of a large project that I will roll out for you soon. This blog will always be here and I will continue to serve its needs. It is just there is more I can do and that more is on its way.

Stay tuned.

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  1. Glad to hear that Mark,considering the quality of your blog's content and the usual signature ending I'm surprised you haven't heard from the Alfred Nobel literature committee :)