how to live

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Day 5 – On Living Your Passion and a Quote from Mark Twain

Only 5 days into this goal of 40 days of reflection and I’m struggling to post before midnight.  It’s amazing how time flies during the day.  Today’s topic is one that I’ve been thinking about all day – living free and finding your passion.  To give credit where credit is due, NPR started the thought process on this one.
The Quote
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

~ E.E. Cummings

The Reflection
Today on public radio there was a conversation that focused around letting yourself go, and the freedom that comes from being yourself.  Initially, my thought process led me down the path of thinking about how free most artists seem to be, and how happy.  Although I haven’t been heavily involved in the artist communities, I do know enough artists and been exposed to enough of their lifestyles to know that many sacrifice a lot for their craft.  They may work a standard job so they can pay for the supplies they need, but then spend every free minute lost in their creativity.  I’ve often thought of this lifestyle in an almost envious light.  What passion some artists have.  It’s incredible.
But then it got me thinking about the gifts that these artists have which allow them to be as creative as they are.  Eventually it led me to ask – what about those people who aren’t artistically gifted?  Why is it okay for the artist to give themselves so entirely to their craft but a business-person who works the same amount of time or with the same intensity is labeled as a workaholic or worse?  For someone that’s gifted in ways more suited toward the business world, they should be free to fill their passion as well without facing ridicule. 
Passion is a gift.  A person is blessed if they have something that they’re passionate about and are able embrace that passion, whether it’s creating the next masterpiece in oil on canvas or by launching the next IPO.   Too many people these days have lost their passion altogether. 

Day 3 – Walt Whitman on Life (Preface to Leaves of Grass)

Walt Whitman's use of free verse became apprec...

Image via Wikipedia


Tonight, I’m a bit tired and because of this I’ve decided to let Walt Whitman take over Day 3.  Plus, just look at him… Wisdom flows from the tips of his crazy eyebrows.

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body… . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work.”    Walt Whitman

In one of his most noteable lines from the preface to Leaves of Grass, Whitman throws out a challenge to break the mold.  Create your own path and embrace the differences in the world, especially those who may not fit into what society considers the norm.  Don’t settle for the answers you’re given, challenge yourself to find out more.  The more you understand life, understand yourself, the more beautiful life will be.

~ The Hatter

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