Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside ev’ry darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate
To break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today
Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long
I heard a wonderful speech by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray Love Author) over the weekend. I like her, enjoyed the book, loved Signature of All Things that she recently wrote, however, I do think she’s a bit crazy at times. Perhaps that’s the burden of a creative being. In any case, her speech really struck home and now I am firmly in Camp Liz. Note: This is going to be deep, so get ready.
Elizabeth spoke about The Quest. Yes, it deserves capitalization. The Quest is our journey through that occurrence called life. She had a great quote by Meister Eckhart, “He who would be what he ought to be, must stop being what he is.” Wow. Good stuff.
Then she went on to talk about the work of Joseph Campbell. I was not familiar with Mr. Campbell, so I did a little research and this is one deep guy. He ran around with John Steinbeck and Sinclair Lewis, later becoming a professor and writer on philosophy. Mr. C. was attributed with the “follow your bliss” philosophy. He has an interesting quote which ties into Sinclair Lewis’ novel, Babbitt. Mr. C says, “Remember the last line? ‘I have never done a thing that I wanted to do in all my life.’ That is a man who never followed his bliss.” That quote struck a chord with me and definitely has added fuel to my midlife crisis bonfire.
So let’s get back to my gal, Liz’s speech; she was talking about another major part of Mr. C’s work: the Universal Story, which is the hero’s story, which describes the essence of simply who we are – the roadmap of our life. It has several standard chapters: a young boy who is summoned to leave all that is familiar to him to venture out into the unknown. He receives a calling and once he leaves, he crosses a threshold where there is no return. Along this journey he faces a series of trials and meets a cast of characters (some good, some bad) that will build his team and his experiences. At some point he will face his lowest moment which is when he will call upon divine assistance which gives him the strength to tackle and win the big battle. Winning the big battle saves his community and he is forever changed for the experience. When I was reading about Mr. C., one of the examples they gave for this Universal Story is Star Wars – Luke Skywalker. The original movie fits this perfectly.
During Liz’s speech, she had this quote (and sorrowfully I don’t know who to attribute it to because it’s a good one): “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than live somebody else’s destiny perfectly.”
This all has struck a chord with me. Over the years, I have been living other people’s destiny. I wanted to think it was mine, but perhaps it wasn’t. I went to college (OK, that was mine), got married young, had children, lived the classic upper middle class suburban life thinking that was my destiny. Lately, since my divorce, I have been thinking if that is truly my destiny or is there another one in store for me. I study a lot of motivational writers. One of my favorites is Napoleon Hill who talks about having a burning desire. He wrote that this burning desire is what will drive you to success. I was surprised, as I recently studied Mr. Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich, that I couldn’t readily identify a burning desire.
Then I realized that I had already accomplished a major one – getting out of my marriage. I recognized that I needed to reset and come up with a new one. I have been searching for my burning desire for over a year. First, I tried a monetary burning desire – nope, no fire. Then a personal one (losing weight), mild flame. Now, as I think about this crazy Quest of Romantic Love, I feel a hot flame of fire. Perhaps this is my next burning desire and this blog is the journal of my quest.
Then we have another great quote from Mr. C., “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”
I told you this was a deep post. This ties into some thoughts I had over the weekend. It was profound enough that I pulled out pen and paper in between my facial and my massage to jot down the following notes. Unbeknownst to my conscious self, I have been embarking on a quest of my own. I am on a quest for true, romantic love. Looking back, I’ve never truly been in love with a man. Lust, like, escape perhaps but not a true, deep, enduring love.
That is what is missing from my life. My health, thankfully is fine. My family – another blessing. Friends, work, finances – all good. But love – deep, crazy, romantic love – is missing. Each guy I have chosen in my past was about escape, security or lust – not deep abiding love. That is now my quest, my next adventure. Will I achieve that and spend my golden years with my true love? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I will be following Mr. C’s outline of a quest. I have already stepped over the threshold of not being able to turn back by divorcing my husband and setting up my own life. My cast of characters continues to gather as well as my trials and tribulations.
Thanks, Liz. Great speech and you have given me some deep shit to think about.