Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Already Perfect Invention

This post is an opportunity to purge a running conversation I've been having with myself recently. The discourse is fairly pervasive though I find it most enlightening when I have it over the course of a run. As you might know, I am training for the Boston Marathon, and since I am following a schedule, I don't think much about what I have to do or why I am running a certain distance, I just do it with a clear mind. Potentially dangerous, I suppose, but refreshing as well. I'm also using my free time to read more, which always stimulates my thinking.

Gregg Levoy's book titled Callings - Finding and Following an Authentic Life, suggests that our true calling, that which we are meant to manifest in our lives, is already and always has been present in our being. Sadly, and one hopes mistakenly, parental oversight, education, and socialization can discourage or somehow seal-over our passion and our purpose, and we simply proceed in 'the right direction.' It's sad when you think about it, but I think it happens more than we know. Levoy's premise provides much needed hope that everything we need to thrive is indeed intact.

Ani DiFranco is coming to Maine to perform her music and was featured in today's Portland Press Herald "Go Magazine." The article discusses a lot of things but the one piece that struck a chord and relates to my running conversation centers around parenting her daughter. DiFranco is a feminist and of course uses her music to communicate the struggles she experiences dealing with the awesome responsibility of parenting a girl child given her own awareness. The article reports, "Seeing her daughter in such a raw state forced DiFranco to examine her own personal demons surrounding the pressure to conform to the supermodel ideal." DiFranco says, "I needed to address my own self-loathing so she knows she perfect." Aren't we all so perfect when we are fresh on the planet? And isn't it great to hear a parent committed to nurturing that in her daughter?

I'm reminded of the delightful movie WALL-E with its promotional tag-line, "After 700 years of doing what he was built for, he'll discover what he was meant for..." Once this small trash-mashing robot in pursuit of his love interest, EVE, boards the floating Axiom, he sees that the humans who evacuated Earth for the promise of the good life, one of automated pampering, have lost so much bone mass they can no longer walk. They go about on conveyor belts or in mobilized lazy-boys. It's pretty pathetic and an extreme example of unfulfilled beings. Though that's a judgment, isn't it? Perhaps they are living their authentic lives. I just kind of doubt it.

So do you see where I'm going with this? Once we head, or are steered down a certain path (or several paths as the case may be,) without really knowing that it is indeed our destiny, I believe our submerged longings continue to rumble and gasp for breath. They don't just go away. I also think that as one tries to analyze it or understand it, it just gets more complicated and convoluted.

Today, "More" magazine arrived in my mailbox with a call on its cover to "Reinvent Yourself! 74 Smart Ideas." It seems to be a popular trend, this self-reinvention, but I'm not sure I want to buy it. Or maybe it's semantics and I just disagree. Aren't we already perfectly fine? What about touting "Recognize Yourself!" or "Be Who You Really Are, Love What You Really Love, Do What You're Really Meant For" like WALL-E?

Running the other day, pondering things and coming up with all the answers to my life's problems through my personal running conversation, I realized, "I don't want to reinvent anything. I am invented and I simply want to remember myself."

I suppose I could come up with 74 smart ideas about how to do that but I think that's a bit contradictory. I plan to quiet down in order to hear myself, and listen closely to realize just what it is that has been invented as me. And then, own it already. Own it for real.

1 comment:

Mary IronMatron said...

Oh, this is a great post, Jeanne. Thank you! First, I wrote down the book title. I'll have to read that one.
It's hard to listen and accept that what we love is what we love and that we should just embrace it and let it be. I think this is as much true of accepting WHO we are as it is accepting WHAT we want to do...(for hobbies, work etc) Does that make sense? Accepting our inner natures and nurturing them instead of criticizing and railing against them...
Anyway, I like the idea of remembering ourselves--as opposed to re-inventing. I need to keep remembering to remember that. :)