Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Is this my PATH or my PATHOLOGY?
Over the past few months, I have been consciously striving towards living authentically. Per my last blog post, I’ve been striving to break free from the “shoulds” that are the norms of society either imposed by society itself, or just me in my own mind. I’ve been taking steps like listening to what I really feel and acting upon that rather than how I think I am supposed to act, opening up to friends and family with whatever bucket of crap is swirling within me (don’t get me wrong, sometimes the swirling crap is a real good thing), and feeling comfortable with who and what I am - especially as my mind and body age (hoo wee, ain’t that a big o’ piece of humble pie). Living is a social paradigm shift toward and I am definitely reaping the benefits of it. My relationships with those close to me (including my wife, friends, family and coworkers) are richer because the interactions have greater substance than ever before; not just small talk and the typical “bro-versation trifecta” of 1) sports 2) career and 3) kids. I can feel these relationships grow just by opening myself up and sharing what I think and feel without self-censorship (c’mon, you know damn well you do it too). I consciously welcome intimacy with both male and female friends as well as with my wife.
This has been my new mantra. I am proud of it. I am happier for it. However, this is the question that came to me:
Is this drive to discover authentic living my path or my pathology?
That is, is this journey my yellow-brick road or am I creating an itch I can’t scratch by searching for a utopia that cannot be fully attained in the “real world”?
Then comes all of the sub-bullets:
· Does this new approach to life have a limit where it interferes with life itself? Where it challenges social relationships rather than builds them?
· Do I need to scale back my new found idealistic point of view to be able to live peacefully in what most of us call “real world”?
· Can I find satisfaction that I am living authentically and continue to live on “Wisteria Lane”, work in high-tech corporate America, and send my kids to school in plaid uniforms everyday?
· What is the breaking point where this covenant with myself goes too far?
· Will I be able to find that balance between idealism and realism?
Most definitely, there is a line where it goes too far. There is balance to maintain between living true and living in suburban America. Even something as valuable and as enriching as living authentically has a point of going too far. Buddha found his highest level of consciousness by taking authenticity to unfathomable levels, but Buddha was a social recluse and certainly didn’t have to pick up the kids at 2:30 or have a Monday morning 8:00 AM deliverable. He found his utopia, but it was at the cost of all other relationships, passions and joys. Booley for him that he found his enlightenment, however it carries a price tag that I am not willing to cover.
As with all components of life, there is a need to find harmony and balance. Nearly all things deemed “bad” can be tolerated in moderation while nearly all things deemed “good” can be detrimental if overdone. In as much value as I find in my epiphanies and the changes I am making pervasively to my approach to living, I hold equal value to honing in on that sweet spot where these changes bring maximum enrichment without sacrificing other blessings and values.
This path is a journey and I am still hacking blindly through it with a machete, so I recognize that I am not yet near the critical point where I have tipped the authenticity scale to injury and therefore I feel comfortable continuing to hack away at this path until the field becomes clearer and I determine where that tipping point is. But knowing that the tipping point most likely exists will make me aware of the need to seek balance… and as my friend in the military says “ knowing is half the battle”.