Today is a wonderful day to start fresh upon this page. To begin a new journey of sharing and exploring. It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a holiday I have always struggled with. Even as a young person, I thought it strange we celebrated a day hallmarking gratitude for the Native American helping the white settler to survive, only to then massacre and destroy their way of life. Hmmm…, just one of those historical things I have pondered.
Over the years as I have asked people why do we teach history, I always get the rote reply, “We teach history, so we will not repeat our mistakes.”. I actually have to laugh at this response, for look around, read the paper (does anyone do this anymore?) or watch the news (I must admit, I do not and have not watched the news for at least 20 years) – we repeat history ALL the time. Year after year, century after century, civilization after civilization. This new journey on my blog is going to be a reflective exploration of “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, an autobiographical story that poignantly exposes the repetition of history and the games we play.
So let’s start at the very beginning – “A very good place to start…” as Julie Andrews so graciously shares in her song “Do, Re, Me…” from “Sound of Music” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp0opnxQ4rY). In the opening chapter, “Economy” Thoreau introduces himself and the book. He states, “In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the fist person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience.”
Why do I choose such a simplistic, “unimportant” point to begin this narrative journey? My why, zeroes in on the serious sincere truth that the only person we can truly “talk about” is the “I”. We do not tread in any other persons moccasins, so why do we pretend to know, make assumptions, waste time in gossip and hyperbole about anyone? Everything around us barrages us from a perspective that we “KNOW” another, that our way is better, that there is a “right or wrong” way to live. It is my experience that we pretend to know and understand another culture and people without ever going there, without ever being able to embody their way of life. So.., think about the beautiful pure simplicity of this statement from Thoreau – “I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else home I knew as well.”
What would the world be like if we stayed true to this? If we spoke and lived from the “I”? Never assuming or putting onto another our beliefs, expectations, or attachments? What might unfold if we stopped judging without knowing? If we stopped assuming and pretending we know without asking?
This blog is about ME, about my reflective exploration of the world through my eyes. I cannot begin to imagine, nor understand your world, for I do not journey within your beating heart, warm breath, or synopsizing brain. I can only inquire, open the door to learning and hearing about another’s experience and perspective. I know in my heart and soul that all I wish for in this glorious world is for each being to find the immense joy, peace, and love that resides within. How? Well that is an individual odyssey.
I shall conclude today’s little pondering with a challenge for you, one that I give myself over and over and over again, for it bashes up against our human domesticated nature, live today from the “I”.
- Communicate with others from your “I” place. (Example – “I feel sad when there is no time to be together. I hear that you do not wish to go with me, when you say you are busy. Etc…) This is a journey in owning your “feelings” without blame and victimhood.
- Listen from your “I” place, free of judgment, expectation, attachment, or assumption. This will take awareness and practice.
- If you do not understand something, brave the opportunity to inquire, to ask, to desire to see from another perspective.
- As you observe outside of yourself, can you step away from your place of judgment to view and experience without attachment?
Have fun with this, it just might change your experience of yourself and others. I would love to hear how your experience with “I” goes.