Friday, September 6, 2013

To Live Unashamed

I've never been one of those people who lamented getting older. In fact, with each year that passes I realize I could never go back to what I was or who I have been - and I don't want to either. It's been quite the journey so far, and with each passing year I become more and more of who I am. If I have a  regret, it is that it has taken me this long to know myself. To embrace who I am without apology.

I've been reading Ayn Rand. I'm not sure how I've never read her before this, but at the urging of a friend I decided to pick up her classic The Fountainhead. From page one of the introduction, I have been dumbstruck by this woman's ability to express with such depth those truths that cut straight to the core of who we are as human beings.

This is not to say that I agree with Rand's entire philosophy, but I can certainly eat the meat and spit out the bones, as it were...

There's an ancient proverb that says "When the student is ready, the teacher will come", and this has been true in my life. Countless experiences where just the right person, book or piece of music enters my life and my heart at just the right time to affect a change in me. The Fountainhead, it seems, is just such a book for just such a time.

I am challenged by Rand's use of metaphor, in awe of the lyrical depth of her prose. She didn't believe in giving up on man. I don't believe in giving up. Period.

My passion has always been freedom. That expression of self that, rather than throwing off all moral and ethical restraint, finds it's true self set free from cultural norms and societal expectations to discover an even deeper truth. Rand writes about some dialogue she assigned to the heroine in a play she wrote titled Ideal, and states that this character speaks her heart when she says:

"I want to see, real, living, and in the hours of my own days, that glory that I create as an illusion. I want it real. I want to know that there is someone, somewhere, who wants it too. Or else what is the use of seeing it, and working, and burning oneself for an impossible vision? A spirit too, needs fuel. It can run dry."

A spirit does need fuel. We can't always be givers. We have to receive sometimes too. Dry ground is thirsty. When our hearts become dry ground it takes an awful lot of water to make it soft again. We give best out of the overflow of our hearts. You have to let it pour in if you want to pour it out. So my encouragement to you today is this:

Go where the life is.

Make sure that you're doing at least one thing each day that pours into you. Something you love. Something you're passionate about. Something that gives you life rather than draining it away drop by drop. Don't burn yourself for an impossible vision.

Live now. Today. And don't ever give up on your dreams.

Live unashamed...