It costs something to be what you are.
What is the price tag on identity? Nothing is as complex as a human being. To attempt to understand oneself is a formidable task. To succeed in understanding oneself is an amazing achievement of cosmic proportions. It's a truism to say we are all capable of more than we do. But if you turn that sage observation over on the other side it says no one in a lifetime can accomplish all he is capable of. Sacrifices must be made and those are the costs.
Everyone must sacrifice his life to something. Freedom is being able to choose what that is. Most people want to simplify things, to lead a simple, uncomplicated life, simplicity of thought and feeling, without hardships, trouble or heavy burdens. That's a noble desire. And the closer one gets to the awakening sense of one's real character and nature the more the things that confuse drop away and the simpler life becomes. So what are those things?
MONEY We were told to get a good education so you could get a good job so you could make good money so you could live in a good home raise a good family and have a good retirement. When it first became clear to me I was an actor and that was what my life was going to be about, and that I was a character actor, I knew from the outset I was not going to be rich. There are very few character actors who get rich. In an early Hollywood film John Wayne played a Swedish sailor with a perfect accent. But as his movie persona developed he gave up being a character actor for the John Wayne we are familiar with. My career as an actor has been a source of satisfaction and fulfillment to me.
PEOPLE Those who know you, approve of you and praise you for what you do are good folks to have around. Those who minimize what you do, suggest that you should be doing something else or even coax you to grow into some area that doesn't interest you or fit with you desires and visions of yourself, in other words those who underestimate or overestimate you, may be friends and good people but it is best to stay away from their influence. A former friend once looked at the price of the paints I was buying and said "This is an expensive hobby." I didn't reply to him but he should have known that for an artist art is not a hobby.
POSSESSION Things, stuff, belongings, the gewgaws, the bagatelles, the jetsam, the important do-dads that we carry and collect can sometimes decidedly get in the way of facing the joy of discovering ourselves. When I went out of town or on the road to do a show I carried only two books with me, whatever book I was reading at the time and my complete Shakespeare, a source of endless inspiration with which I will not part. Whether it's forward or up, travel light and fast.
OPINIONS They say, whoever "they" are, you can't change horses in mid stream. Well you certainly can if it's a better horse. An open mind is an angel's workshop. There are always newer, fresher ideas out there waiting to be grasped and cuddled by a sturdy seeker. The world is fond of pasting the labels of undependability, inconsistency, "flip flopping" on those who change their minds, particularly those who are outspoken about it. But when a new and improved model of behavior becomes apparent only a fool would hide behind the barn and stick to old ways of doing things because they were always done that way and any change might upset a habit maven.
FREEDOM Whatever one does with one's life there are thousands of other things one might have done. The freedom to chose how you live your life implies the necessity of letting go of things you might have done and might have been. You can do more than one thing with your life but you can't do the few hundred that you might be right for. Even the concept of the Renaissance Man, the Jack of All Trades, has its limitations. There may be no limits to your life if you don't muddle it up with a lot of unnecessary activities that don't relate to it. To give up freedom to gain freedom is not a sin. Ernie said "Work defines you life." And I say "Do the work you love." If you do the work you love you will never do a day's work in your life, some wise person said.
OTHER THINGS There may be many things that must be left behind on the joyful road to self discovery and only you will know what they are. Some may be hardly noticeable and some may be heartbreaking. But if it is necessary to pay the cost and let them go, then do it and don't look back. Look forward.
To discover one's true identity and have the freedom to live it is an everyday blessing, which is ours, if we are willing to pay the price.
DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?
8 responses so far.