Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bits And Pieces

Be open to your dreams, people. Embrace that distant shore.

David Assael
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When I woke this morning I looked around my apartment and said "What a mess!" The vacuum cleaner is still in the middle of the floor, there are papers on my desk I've forgotten about, checks have to be written, the kitchen range needs cleaning, there's laundry on the floor, an unfinished painting, an unfinished story. I managed to take the trash out yesterday (GOOD!) except for the small bag I forgot about. As I have often said and written "Life is unfinished business."

Pitifully, some people never roll up their mental sleeves and take on the task of understanding themselves. It's the most difficult of all obligations we have, and when shirked empties one's life of all inherent possibilities for happiness.

So why do I live in chaos? Because the accumulated bits and pieces of the unfinished business are all pointing in the same direction. But there doesn't seem to be a single path for getting there. The more complicated life becomes the more difficult it is to define the simple overall goal of it. I have said that the main purpose of life is to stay alive. But that poses a big question. Why?

I would admire to be so free of life's duties that I had nothing else to do but to figure myself out, if that's possible to do. But I have to focus my admiration on a man like Johann Sebastian Bach. He was the most prolific composer who ever lived. And yet he had a regular job, he lived in a home with no electricity, no central heating, no indoor plumbing, a quill pen and a house full of kids. How did he do it?

I suppose it would be great if we all had some sort of exuberant genius like that. Maybe we do in our own simple ways but just haven't found it. Bach evidently walked, ate, breathed, slept and dreamt music. Music came out of him like an exhalation. He came from a musical background and left behind some sons who were also excellent composers. It seems there was no doubt or chaos about it.

But why does it seem to take a lifetime for some of us to figure ourselves out? One could say that in spite of his primitive early 18th Century life style, he had lots of advantages and that's probably true. But it's also true that he made the most of them. He must have enjoyed composing music so much that he did it non-stop in spite of the obvious difficulties and interruptions. He probably never asked himself why.

There is a "why" attached to every bit of unfinished business in my life. I often wish I had come upon some early understanding of myself that would have led me into my life's destiny and my life's work which I would have pursued without looking back. To some extent I did that in the entertainment business. But now, retired, I am looking back. But more than that I'm looking forward, to what the possibilities are, to what my future is, to what I can become, to who I really am. I am trying to embrace that distant shore. I ask myself over again "What was it I really wanted way back then?" Every now and then I think I know. But then I'm not sure, and so there is unfinished business.

I didn't start out today to write an essay about Bach or an essay about me. It just turned out that way. I sometimes hold up my own experience as a metaphor for other people's lives and to help me grasp my own.. That makes me read self-centered and self-important. I don't mean it that way.

There is a dream. It's still alive. I am grateful for the time and opportunity to lead myself to the open door of that dream.

May you find your own dream and pursue it, non-stop, to that distant shore.

DB
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4 comments:

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

If we do not have dreams, and goals, and work toward them, then life is boring.

pacifica62 said...

I almost don't care anymore about trying to figure myself out. I will never understand myself so why bother. I can spend a lot of time trying to figure out who I am, or I can just be who I am and be happy. I do not think you read self centered or self important at all. You are the most important person in your life and your world is allowed to revolve around you. Get yourself a nice little kayak and a paddle and you will soon be at your distant shore.

DB said...

Good advice Pacifica. There is a story about an Inuit who kayaked from Greenland to Scotland many years ago. I might research that and write about him one dsy.

I'm thinking of making the Summer Question about the most important people.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

If only I am young DB, I would very much take your advice:

May you find your own dream and pursue it, non-stop, to that distant shore.

On the other hand, my place may not be looking chaotic as you described yours but my mind is at the moment.

Because like you I live alone, so who really cares? haha