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A Moral Act

By on Apr 4, 2015 in Authenticity

Therefore, a moral act is not an act in obedience to an external law, human or divine. It is the inner law of our true being, of our essential or created nature, which demands that we actualize what follows from it. And an antimoral act is not the transgression of one or several precisely circumscribed commands, but an act that contradicts the self-realization of the person as a person and drives toward disintegration. It disrupts the centeredness of the person by giving predominance to partial trends, passions, desires, fears, and anxieties. The central control is weakened, often almost removed. And when this happens, and other partial trends also aspire to predominance, the self is split, and the conflicting trends make it their battlefield. The ‘will,’ in the sense of a self that acts from the centered totality of its being, is enslaved. Freedom is replaced by compulsion. Deliberation and decision, the hallmarks of freedom, become mere facades for overwhelming drives that predetermine the decision. The voice of man’s essential being is silenced, step by step; and his disintegrating self, his depersonalization, shows the nature of the antimoral act and, by contrast, the nature of the moral act.

Paul Tillich, Morality and Beyond

Stay the Course

By on Feb 20, 2015 in art, Authenticity

My only regret is that I wish I’d had more confidence in art and in my abilities, so that I wouldn’t have wasted so much time being scared that I couldn’t make a living, or that I couldn’t write or paint. I wasted too much time working at jobs just for money, and I wish I had been more creative in living. I spent much of my time being depressed, thinking that this is just the way life is – you have to get a useless job. I guess I’m talking about times when I felt lost in my art and I didn’t know that I could do what I really love, and the money and all that takes care of itself. I wasted time heading in the opposite direction from where I really wanted to go. The joyful thing would have been to do my writing, my painting, to spend time with what I really loved. That’s what we need to do instead of thinking what we ought to do, which is, ‘I ought to make a living,’ or ‘I ought to have a sensible job.’ I didn’t need to do that. I could have gotten right to it, right to doing what I truly love. That has to do with self-knowledge; we must discover what we love and what work we are meant to do. And we need to find out as early as possible, before the world is successful at confusing us with expectations about what our roles are, and what our jobs and duties should be.

Maxine Hong Kingston, interviewed in On Women Turning Forty by Cathleen Rountree

Her True Life

By on Feb 18, 2015 in art, Authenticity

A few weeks ago I gave an artist talk to a small troupe of boy scouts. They were between the ages of 9 and 11 and of various ethnic backgrounds. I learned the boy scout handshake and I cited the pledge of allegiance – surprised that I actually still remembered it! (But good thing we didn’t need to sing the national anthem, because then I might have been in trouble.) I was in awe of these boys and how inquisitive they were of the artistic process. I showed them some examples of my work and explained how I arrived at the collage through two avenues: photography and poetry. At some point we were talking about how I got started in art and why I did specifically what I was doing. One boy asked me why I chose poetry. This question blew my mind. I was thinking about these young people and hoping to encourage them in some small way to listen to this true thing inside them, that can...

A Trip to the Lagoon

By on Feb 28, 2014 in Authenticity, callings, Flow, frugal, los angeles, poetry

Recently I went with my friend and her daughter to a nearby lagoon. Who knew Long Beach had a lagoon? I’d actually driven by it plenty of times but I did not know it was a lagoon. I thought a lagoon was where the black creatures lived, or a beautiful blue place where young people got de-virginized. Anyway. It was foggy. The light was lovely. We walked around the lagoon and came across a tree full of bright orange blooms, which I wasn’t able to capture effectively with my tiny digital camera. But I got a shot of its lost petals adorning the grass beneath it. Still on a mission to find beauty where I am (and nearby where I am). I am very excited about a slow shift in my thinking towards simple living. (Partial definition, as seen on Google: “Voluntary simplicity, or simple living, is a way of life that rejects the high-consumption, materialistic lifestyles of consumer...

The First Step

By on Feb 25, 2014 in Authenticity, callings, spirituality

The first step, detachment or withdrawal, consists in a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal world, macro- to microcosm, a retreat from the desperations of the waste land to the peace of the everlasting realm that is within.

Joseph Campbell, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion

The Call

By on Feb 21, 2014 in Authenticity, callings

The call is to leave a certain social situation, move into your own loneliness and find the jewel, the center that’s impossible to find when you’re socially engaged. You are thrown off center, and when you feel off-center, it’s time to go. This is the departure when the hero feels something has been lost and goes to find it. You are to cross the threshold into a new life. It’s a dangerous adventure, because you are moving out of the sphere of the knowledge of you and  your community.

Joseph Campbell, Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion

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