All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts
- William Shakespeare "As You Like It"
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain
I have been blessed with what one could define as a philosophical disposition, though in my younger years I perceived this inherent inclination towards unmitigated ponderance to be more of a curse. I am always questioning, always seeking. Seeking what you ask? Honestly, sometimes even I am unable to answer that question. The meaning of life, I suppose. My individual purpose. Kindred spirits. Why every experience, the mundane, the uplifting, the disheartening, transpires the way it does. I am both the creator and witness of countless unrequited internal inquiries waging war upon the battlefield of my psyche. Sometimes I am terrified. But most times I bask in the glory of it all. I possess an intellect that sneers at respite. Even in sleep my dreams are so vivid that when I wake it is often as if I had never slept at all. I am not worried, however. I can sleep when I am dead. At times I become so deeply entranced in thought that the outside world all but disappears. To embrace solitude is a spiritual experience.
The diagnosis of Freudian disciples delivered when I was a young boy fingered severe anxiety and depression as the culprits. Here is a prescription for the anxiety, a prescription for the depression, and a prescription to counteract the severe headaches and diarrhea the other two prescriptions have been known to cause, they say. Unless you begin to experience suicidality or homicidal rage come back in a week. We’ll place you on a scale, make irrelevant inquiries employing language we know you have never heard before, utter the occasional “I see” and “How does that make you feel?” in an unconvincing effort to feign undivided attention, and pretend to take notes while intently watching the clock. And when the minions of Harvard and Yale are at a loss as to the root of your “anxiety” and “depression” they appeal to you for answers. Why are you disruptive in the classroom? Why did you give Johnny a black eye? Well doctor, I have an overactive imagination for which conventional academia possesses neither patience nor sufficient resources and Johnny developed this peculiar pastime where he along with his horde of sadistic friends take turns slamming me into lockers while shouting homophobic epithets they learned from their overbearing, narcissistic fathers. Unfortunately, a child seldom possesses the mental faculties or courage to speak so deliberately with eloquence and confidence. So you sit there, like a criminal defendant upon the witness stand, like a martyr for self-defense, capable of answering in a solely self-incriminating fashion. Medication is their solution for everything. It's nickel and dime.
Occasionally you will cross paths with a golden hearted over achiever who is sincerely sympathetic to your plight, who probably studied at a middle tier university and came out believing they could save humanity one lost soul at a time. I admire their fortitude for their efforts constitute an arduous uphill battle. But one must be ever vigilant. They can be equally dangerous. It is so absurdly simple to become dependent upon such a relationship or any relationship for that matter. No human being is an island but excessive dependence is an unnatural suppression, a murder of the individual spirit that feasts upon fear. In reality, there is truly nothing to fear but fear itself. We possess all that we will ever need to succeed in life. Need is simply an illusion. All that is required of us is to look within. We are the creators of our own reality. Whether or not we are conscious of this truth depends upon how aware we are of our inner monologue. How we think, how we speak to ourselves determines what we become in every moment.
When relationships fail it is not because either person lacked something the other was in need of, it is because their respective paradigms were illusions of need. To ask another to fill a supposed void in your life is an unfair and impossible task. They will certainly fail as will you if they are to demand the same. This wisdom appeared straightforward once I had attained it and I wondered why I had not been ready to receive it earlier in life. Nevertheless, it has come to me after many years of loneliness and at a great cost. I have witnessed the brightest of stars consumed by darkness because they could not see the divine within themselves. I have had to say goodbye to friends too soon because they failed to recognize that all their pain could be alleviated by one simple truth. And yet I was no different from them. I have found myself at the bottom of a bottle, swimming in a tempestuous sea of self loathing more times than I care to remember. In my mind I have dangled at the end of a rope and felt ice cold steel pressed against my temple. So I have asked myself, why me? Why do I remain? I cannot answer that. I can only strive to mold myself as a living testament to those I have loved and lost. To do anything less would be a step backwards in my continuing evolution of self. Admittedly, I stray from the path more often than I would like. This is to be expected. That is the very beauty of life, of the human condition. Around each corner there is always another obstacle to overcome, another truth to learn, another beginning and end.
Friends and family have often told me in jest that what I have always struggled with is a creative mind at work. All artists are tortured souls, they say. But I am not an artist. Not yet at least. Art demands discipline, sacrifice, and positive affirmation. And these are not shallow terms thrown carelessly to the wind. Together they form a mantra for holy, purpose driven living. A creative spirit is undeniably the very soul of art and yet without discipline, without sacrifice, without the consistent, earnest affirmation of distinct, unambiguous goals every wild notion the imagination can concoct is just another pipe dream. But by all means dream! The world needs more dreamers! For without dreams life would be utterly meaningless. Understanding of discipline, sacrifice, and positive affirmation will come with time. When you have begun to master these principles, that is when creativity, the divinity within you can truly flourish.
Seizing the Divinity Within You by Joshua Alan Blodgett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at verboseprose86.blogspot.com.