Thursday, October 09, 2008

What Are We Called To Be?

When I drove to work this morning I was in a fog....literally. As I drove along the Interstate through downtown I could barely see the silhouette of my building. I like deep fog, heavy snow, and heavy rain, especially when I am at home. It creates a natural barrier of solitude. What I don't like is when my mind is in a fog as it is some days.

Most people at some point in their lives have goals. These goals usually represent our desires and what we hope to accomplish or to experience in life. Sometimes these goals are not meant to be achieved. Sometimes these goals are not in sync with who we are. Too often we think about what we want to do or what we want to be and we do not spend enough time trying to understanding who we are. Should we be driven by the goals of what we want to be or what we want to do or should we listen more closely to our inner voice that may be calling us to something different? Have you ever, in a quiet moment, asked yourself, "What is it that life is calling me to be or to do"? More often than not, I think our "calling" is something different than our desires. We sometimes choose careers or lifestyles because we think that's what's expected of us. I think most of us would not like to admit how many of our personal choices have been influenced by other's expectations more than a deeply felt personal calling. Too often we are more concerned with achievement rather than self-actualization. Too often we are more concerned with recognition than being who we are. Many people achieve great worldly success or recognition and have no idea who they are looking at in a mirror. They have no idea who they are. The "success" may even feel empty. They are strangers to themselves. Certainly there is nothing wrong with success or recognition but is it in line with who and what you are called to be? Are you being who you are? If your life doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. In my life it seems the older I get, the more I become myself. I am without great worldly achievement but I am very comfortable in my own skin, I recognize the man in the mirror, and in quiet ways I believe I am becoming what I was called to be. I believe my calling is not so much to a profession as it is a calling to a way of being. I think my calling is to be a contemplative person and to share that experience with others. I write about what I hear and see and experience and I try to enlighten others to their own spiritual potential while trying to point the way to a more "awakened" approach to living. If I can influence others to see life a different way, with grateful hearts and a sense of wonder, than I have achieved something in my life.

I've never been shy about my love of music and rock and roll in particular. Few think that rock and roll is as sophisticated as Mozart or Bach but I love it anyway. It has been the soundtrack of my life. To be fair, this soundtrack would also include some blues, jazz, classical, folk, Indian sitar music, monastic chant and silence. Music gives me joy, relaxation, and great entertainment, especially when I am able to attend a live show. I think one of the reasons I like rock and roll so much is the energy. I have a very laid back and passive personality. I have never been a high energy person. Rock and roll provides the energy that I don't have within me naturally. Rock and roll is only now starting to get some respect. The truth is that many of the great poets of my generation are musicians. Bob Dylan and Neil Young come to mind. The Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter, is an accomplished poet in his own right. The songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney will still be played in a hundred years and beyond. All generations love their music. Mine is no different. It keeps you young. When I am sixty five years old, and I hear "Jumpin Jack Flash" on the radio, I will crank it up! Even now, at age 57, my wife sometimes yells at me for playing music too loud. She goes, "Are you deaf"? I look her way and reply, "What"? I know it's only rock and roll but I love it. I will concede that age has caught up with me a little and I do have a greater appreciation now for quieter and more subdued music. I also prefer to see live music in small, more intimate venues instead of the huge mega events in stadiums. In our advancing years my friends and I also need proper lumbar support. Sitting crossed legged on the ground for hours is no longer an option. We need our lawn chairs. The rock band Jethro Tull has a song called "Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die". I would challenge the lyricist on this. My title would be, "Never Too Old to Rock and as long as I schedule a vacation day the next day"!

I have never been lost. I will admit to being confused once for a few weeks.
-Daniel Boone

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