The Beauty of The Eccentric Self

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Robin Wolstenholm

“What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There’s nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way, you will find, live, and become a realization of your own personal myth.” ~ Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss

“We keep thinking of deity as a kind of fact, somewhere; God as a fact. God is simply our own notion of something that is symbolic of transcendence and mystery. The mystery is what’s important.” ~ Joseph Campbell


Fragment of a poem by Oscar Houck

A wise friend once told me,
most things mean nothing,
but some things
mean everything.

Have you loved?

How well?
How strong?

It’s not too late.
That’s what I think.

Every human carries an interior collection of beings, some evolved and wise and some atavistic and stunted. We are built on a template, but we are also unique and eccentric. Our energies animate and ride our physical beings for a brief time for specific purposes.

But it’s not unusual to lose touch with what kind of being we are and what our built-in purpose is.

We are directed away from our true nature by “education,” by instructions given by society and circumstances. If we don’t insist on being ourselves and pursuing our mission, we have failed to fulfill our nature.

Eccentric people who don’t care what others think about them are probably best equipped to live their reason for living. Let others laugh and point if they want, they are too preoccupied with creating out of their own sense of what has meaning in life.

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Finding your purpose in living is a lifelong epiphany, an unfolding revelation of a mystery that has an undying fascination and beauty. To be prevented from following your own path is a misfortune, a tragedy. Beauty can only be created out of passion, out of touching that personal reason for living.

As Campbell says, it’s not an ego trip to pursue your personal unfolding, because that’s your only real gift to the world. It’s your responsibility to find and give it. Your work in the world is to give your essential vision to the world, which means you have to uncover it.

Few people find it easy to resist the temptations and wrong paths offered by circumstances. We can easily be trapped by our own youthful ignorance and unforgiving situations. It takes some people, me for example, a long time before they are mature enough to not make stupid life-petrifying decisions. I was guessing wrong and making knee jerk decisions that could have trapped me had I not had a Houdini-esque talent for extricating myself from the maze.

I didn’t accept the rules of the game if it meant I lost because I believed in the conventions.

As I review my unlikely voyage, I can only bow and thank the gods for how things have turned out. I can’t take credit. I can only appreciate that I kept trying. Now, at this late age, the decks have been cleared. Lessons have been learned, love seems easy, creative work comes smoothly and life is simple and no longer fraught with complications. It’s amazing, I have to admit.

Young people who sense the soul of a poet in themselves will need to examine their surroundings and take care to refuse that which “insults their souls,” as Whitman said.

We don’t live in a society that values sensitivity to eternal values. Our materialistic mindset excludes such things.

Part of our job on earth is to stick to beauty. That’s a pretty good job description, I think.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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