Taken at a junction on the River Walk above Flat Rock, Augusta.
"... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference."
From: 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost
When I chose this one it dawned on me that I had another ‘road’ or direction quote. Well, so be it. Life is indeed a journey along a path – our path. And that is Frost’s point, we have choices, they are our choices as to which way to go. At the heart of these lines is the call to authenticity, will we go the road well travelled – the predictable, comfortable, everybody is doing it road; or the road less travelled – the one that is going to stretch us, deepen us, cause us to question (and question ourselves), enable us to grow, the one that includes pain or discomfort, love and love lost ….?
Frost, ever the subtle poet, guides us discretely to the thought that authenticity is about being true to self and honouring that which only we can bring to the world, to community. This not new, but Frost is original and profound, giving a new angle on life through his own experience. For Frost, the authentic person can only be truly themselves if they take their own path. It is an acknowledgement that no one can carry us or do it for us, no one else can be us. Frost doesn’t preach or moralise, he simply honours his own authenticity with – “And that has made all the difference.” He rejoices in his choice to go his way, to therefore become himself, no matter what he meets along the way.
On A Mission
via Daily Prompt: Conjure
Rocky and Bulwinkle, it passed the time, and when I really should have been doing homework. Bulwinkle’s conjuring trick, which should be pure legerdemain, that polished slight of hand, becomes a comic twist, whereby the trick works, Bulwinkle conjures, he conjures all sorts of animals, in fact everything but a rabbit!
In another sense, how do we pull ourselves out of a hat? What of ourselves do we conjure? Do we pull out everything for the world to see, everything except the real me? The message of Bulwinkle is simply that he doesn’t do the trick properly, he’s half-hearted, sloppy. He doesn’t concentrate, he just rummages then pulls whatever he latches onto. He’s too busy trying to rush to impress. Life’s a bit that way too. If we want to achieve something but we’re not intentional in how we go about it then, it ends up misfiring, we don’t quite get to where we want to be. If we’re sloppy and half-hearted why should we expect our results to be any different? If Bulwinkle had wanted the rabbit he would have had to be more intentional about it. And that’s exactly what we need to do too, we need to be intentional about what it is we want for ourselves, otherwise we’ll conjure a whole lot stuff, but not the real thing. If we’re too busy trying to rush to impress, then we will always lack authenticity. Be Intentional about those aspects of yourself you wish to draw into the world for others to see.
Identity is a matrix really, Am I really Jack White when I do air guitar? As I read Emund Hilary am I really there at the top of Everest? Did i just get the chequered flag in the Moto GP? Sometimes I’m just in the shadow of life, sometimes I’m clutching onto a map for guidance, sometimes I’m just on the edge, sometimes I’m projecting someone else, sometimes I’m looking into the distance – and am in the distance, and sometimes I’m fooling around and having fun, it’s all in the mix.
When people talk about identity, I think of all sorts of angles, personality, character, experiences, vocation, passions, and also masks. The inner and outer me, who do I want you to see and know? I think of Janus too. We talk about “Showing up”, authenticity, being real. In the end, for me identity is a matrix, but at its core is the gold of integrity.
Disobey is my middle name. I wasn’t born to follow inane laws and trifling regualtions. I was born for love, passion, and creativity. I hated the institution of school, yet I really loved learning. So I bunked off, or as we say here, I wagged most of my upper school. Mental health days too were importnat in my early work life. I wasn’t keen on the institution of the church either (which is deeply ironic), but I subverted that at every turn and still do when opportunity arises to be creative with it. I couldn’t tolerate School Army Cadets, I couldn’t take it seriously and they were glad when I left. I did love Scouts, but hated the constrained process, I lasted the longest there and learned a lot, but in the end I left because I really couldn’t sing national anthems or dib, dib as we were supposed to say. My mother was always horrified that I would break rules in general ( I still do) like parking the wrong way round or worse, much worse (a tale for another time). Street racing in Perth in 70s, such fun! Life is not monochromatic, it is not cookie cutter sameness, it is not doormat living, or institutional slavery. Life is authenticity, honouring the inner being, the inner child too, and our creative bent. Just be, and if that means disobeying from time to time, then do, it’s good for the soul.