Thursday, June 22, 2017



In life there is no end game except for death.  Hmmm … I’ll rephrase:  In life there is no end game except for life itself.  (This smacks much better, yes? Allow me to continue.)

Factoid:  Death is imminent.  Death is the ultimate negative experience.  Death is dreaded, and for which prompts the living notion of existential angst and one of my favorite phrases, Existential Dread.

To the pseudo-stylistic writers and thinkers, life is a journey.  Hmmm … I hate this journey metaphor which has become so cliché.  Rather than journey, I believe that life is a constant surprise party of people coming out of closets, birthday cake and funeral candle celebrations, attachments with silly strings and silly games, pop music, soda pop, and nacho chips.  And to be the life of your very own surprise party, which is always a chore when on public display, it would be so cool if you could truly be yourself. 

But what is your true self, exactly?  Is self, as Aristotle claims, your core essence of a living being defined how you function in the world.  Or is self being the Kapellmeister of your orchestral sub-personalities?

Whatever self is, from time to time it does seem to get lost.  Sometimes the self gets overtaken by other sub-personalities that take on extreme roles.  A few examples: sometimes I am a critic; sometimes I am an athlete; sometimes I am a party animal (not really, but sometimes I would like to be).

As a child (no pun intended) I was always an artist, but only pencil portraiture.  As an adult I am an educator and therapist, a guitar and portrait busker.  The songs that I write and strum and sing on street corners, and the portraits that I sketch for the passers-by, are really the mirrored reflections of my inner world.  These busking behaviors are the person who I really always want to be, rather than how I technically behave at prescribed times on certain days.   

(To follow my true self and hit the street as a full-time busker would take a ton of courage, courage being the most important aspect of self.)

In a line ... It takes courage to be your true self.

Courage.   I used to think that courage meant something like going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.  Such an action took courage.  My imagined connotation of courage has somewhat thinned over the years.  For example, now it takes courage to come out of the closet.  Now it takes courage to speak up at a staff meeting.  Now it takes courage to paint an apartment any color other than beige.  You get the picture.

And so in keeping in mind these pictures of courageous acts, I took my pencil and sketchbook to the market on Saturday and drew some portraits.  I have such courage!

Being courageous is being curious.  Curiosity killed the cat.  Killing your inner cat will not kill you.
Rituals and habits are safe but rather boring.  Killing your inner cat, being curious and courageous enough to allow randomness in your life is an unlikely death sentence.  I walked down to the market, did some portrait busking, and survived to write about it.

A courageous sense of self prompts a strong sense of self-esteem and life satisfaction.  A search for one’s self means exploring one’s passions, and therefore finding one’s self means exercising one’s passions.  

Where you are is where it’s at, and so to become yourself, begin where you are.   Like I said … I walked down to the market, did some portrait busking, and survived to write about it.

I’d like to close with existential dread.  Ah, existential dread, of which we all suffer and yet, of which not all of us take advantage.  What finite time we do have on this planet, we really ought to strive for quality. 

Live (life) time should be quality time because ...
dead time is just a breath away. 

Those marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week: