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“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.”
— John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

“ In responding to the call we join the lineage of those who are burning with an inner fire; not simply fired up with the heat of ambition, but awakened to a dream and flame that flickers in one’s heart of hearts. A genuine calling further ignites the eternal spark originally carried into life by the soul and nothing can soothe that inner flame except that we fully respond and follow it through the world.” — Michael Meade, “Fate and Destiny”

Nobody wants to reach the end of the line and realize they took the wrong train. I don’t. I want to know I lived my real life, not the imitation life I was advised to live when I was still casting about as a confused youngster. The possibility exists to have a real life, but finding it in today’s world can be difficult.

There are levels and facets and hidden currents in every person. Most of us live on the surface of ourselves, but some of us have our art, which could be anything from gardening to cooking to writing. At least we have that. Some of us even have real religion. I can only try to imagine what that is like.

My practice is the creation of art, which I know reaches into deeper inner connections in myself. That is a joyful way of touching the beauty of things. The creative process involves a strange mix of seriousness and joyful play. Touching these undercurrents of meaningful linkages introduces you to a deeper sense of living.

We long for depth, for a life of meaning. We long for real passion, for overwhelming beauty. We know it’s possible, but it usually escapes us.

We don’t really enjoy living a superficial life, after all. We express our angst by trying to distract ourselves with possessions, toys, details, clutter. Of course that doesn’t work. At least for me it doesn’t. I’ve tried it.

How do we find real life then? I think we only have a chance of finding it when we stop suffocating it under the ten thousand things, including success in the world, whatever that is to you.

A good number of us are faced with the need to create a religion of our own. I have cobbled together a gathering of things that for whatever reasons possess deep meaning for me, from art to writings to places and cultures, to people, languages and music. That’s an incomplete list of course. I reserve the right to expand it.

My self-constructed religion will never achieve the grandeur of Saint Peter’s in Rome, I know that. But nowhere is there any dogma or punishment or apostasy. There is only inspiration, reverence, wonder.

I don’t recommend letting yourself be herded along like children into any belief system. I think we have to create our own lives from the ground up. It helps to get a sense of what we’re up against in terms of society’s pressures, and then resist where we have to.

It’s a lifelong project, but if we marshall our deepest forces we have a good chance of creating a real life.

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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