Friday, December 08, 2006

Listen!

Sometimes I just sits, Garden Pond, Amherst, NH, July 2006, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/250 sec @ f4.6, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]
My Aunt Maria asked me to read the life of Dr. Chalmers,
which, however, I did not promise to do.

Yesterday, Sunday, she was heard through the partition
shouting to my Aunt Jane, who is deaf, "Think of it!
He stood half an hour today to hear the frogs croak,
and he wouldn't read the life of Chalmers."


-- from Thoreau's Journal (March 28, 1853)
I laughed out loud when I read this quote. It is a rare person who can stand and face the familial expectations, cultural norms, and (especially in today's age) the media's pitch. But there is no other way to find your authentic self. And very few others really have that as a goal for you. They want conformity. They have roles to be filled. They need cogs to be well greased.

Do you hear or feel or sense that inner voice? It doesn't care about what others expect. It wants you to want to begin the journey. To search for the woodland trail blazed years ago, but now overgrown by the intertwined vines of rules and expectations, and the thorny brambles of indoctrination and conformity.

And if you think you might see it -- notice some signposts from a deeply covered trail -- then resolve yourself to clear the path. First and foremost for yourself, and then as a service to others that may wish to follow.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

-- Thoreau, from the "Conclusion" to Walden

6 comments:

Pat said...

You said: It wants you to want to begin the journey. That's all it really takes…wanting to begin.

Steven Crisp said...

Yes indeed. But how many really listen? And for those that hear, how many will make the effort?

Here's to helping us all want to begin. Thanks for the visit Pat, and for your continuing encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Well Steve, since we discussed this in detail over IM, many of these sentiments are sort of a rehash. But I agree, so few people are willing to look ... they are in such a rush ... to go where might I ask?

A few days ago I went running in Forrest Park. It's a 5000 Acre Park (yes there are three zeros) inside the city limits of Portland, my home. It's the largest city park in the world. I have to stop and think about that every time I say it. In any case when I turned around at the half way point there was a sign with a plack on it. It had a quotation from HDT which went something to the effect of: "What's amazing is that we do not find these trees more amazing." And so I returned home to find your post. A coincidence? As Deepak said "There are no coincicences" (or something to that effect).

So a week ago I was envisioning the perfect computer table for my loft. I priced them out at between $100 and $200 dollars apiece, plus time to assemble. I looked on Craig's but could not find one, although I did find my bureau ($10 plus $10 delivery) and my bookcase ($25).

So I was feeling sick today and sort of made a meditation practice out of unpacking the rest of my boxes, slowly and methodically. As I threw away the last of the cardboard, there, sitting next to the dumpster, was my computer table, in new condition. No exaggeration: exactly as I had envisioned it.

Someone high flyer from my building needed something better. Someone was willing to work (sacrifice) another day of their life to earn a new one, and simply throw that one into the landfill. I am quite sure that person is in their cube hands glued to their oar right now. Willing to just toss it. Willing to pollute the landfill just one more time because they are too busy. Too busy to just STOP: and see the beauty.

I needed pants pressed for a function and the dry cleaner was closed the other day. So I went into Banana Republic. 100 USD for a pair of pants! I walked out in disgust. I wear clothes from the Salvation Army and get complements all the time. I'll be damned if I will work another day under the fluorescent tubes to look chic at a "Christmas" Party. (Let's not get into what "Christmas" has really come to mean)

Most people look at my life and roll their eyes: "surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game." John Lennon had it down as well as HDT. My journey began almost a year ago when I walked out the door from my 9 to 5. Perhaps I've helped clear a few intertwined vines of my own with this comment, and at other points along the way.

Namaste, my friend

Grasshopper

Steven Crisp said...

Yes, Grasshopper, I gain through you vicarious adventures, and I love that you are having such fun and gaining such insights.

But let's not be too hard on that soul still pulling at the oar. At least he placed your computer desk *next* to the dumpster, hoping no doubt, that someone would have a use for it, and indeed keep it *out* of the landfill.

Not only did someone have a use for it, but they helped to illustrate the potential that exists for all of us, but just stopping to listen to that voice. I too hope your comment, and your actions, and your deeds, help so many more of us to stop and listen.

As always, thanks for the visit, and thanks for sharing your story. You are indeed clearing out the underbrush. I can see the trail more clearly now for sure. And I'm thinking about getting in there and helping you. After all, what twin wouldn't help his brother ;-)

Namaste.

Honeybee said...

Wow! You did not post for so long and I come back to visit and see tons of entries...I have a lot of catching up to do! 8)

I like dancing to my inner drummer, it leads me to wonderful experiences and opens my eyes to all around me.

Steven Crisp said...

Honeybee,

Please consider my recent posts as so many flowers for you to visit as you help polinate the ideas with your comments. I look forward to the dialog. Like some tribal gathering, with drums being beaten all over the place ;-)