“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
My son and I watched “Dead Poets Society” the other night, for him it was the first time, for me, it had been years and I had forgotten so much of it. This quote was mentioned a few times in the movie, it is one I have contemplated for years now. There are many Thoreau quotes I enjoy, for while they are old, they are poignantly applicable.
Desperation is an intense word. Defined as – des•per•a•tion
1. the state of being desperate or of having the recklessness of despair.
Despair hangs like an empty noose with no hope. Defined as – de·spair
the complete loss or absence of hope.“driven to despair, he throws himself under a train”
lose or be without hope.
As you look around your world, how many people do you observe living a life of quiet desperation? How many do you see walking a life of passion, purpose, contentment, love? Where do sit on this pendulum, the bar graph of life. Within this quote I see the opportunity to explore deeper the “meaning of life”. What is the space of happiness, contentment, joy, peace, love, gratitude. Where does it all sprout from? Why do the majority seem to choose and beckon a life of quiet discontent, sinking into despair.
Taking a peek at the movie I mention above, I think about Robin Williams the main character and wonder why? Why did he take his life. He was a man who seemed to have everything, who brought immense joy to so many, why? When did his life sink into quiet desperation? Things outside of us do not lift us up, it is that which resides from within that lifts us, carries us, and guides us.
As we step into our third day of the New Year, it is a great time to explore. What shall you encourage to expand and become? What do you desire to nurture and care for? How do you want to walk within that which is, for only you can make that decision? Will this be a year of quiet desperation or joyful love or? Will it be a dance or crawl, a combination of all, as you navigate the terrain?
As you go forth today, it is my hope that your day shall be full of quiet curiosity, inquisitive reflection, and probing questioning.