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“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”
—Barry Lopez
(as Badger, in Crow and Weasel)


To be nobody but yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
- e. e. cummings



------ Over a period of several years I experienced three entirely independent mental exercises as a result of reading or listening to books, tapes, or lectures. These exercises were very similar in technique and content, but I encountered them from a fresh viewpoint. I am entirely certain that the “answer” to the questions were arrived at without prejudice. This simple fact became very significant when I answered the third question.
------The first activity called for me to take an inward inventory of how I view myself in my professional life. The exercise called for me to summarize the way I see myself in a concise yet complete statement. I came to the conclusion that I see myself as someone who is very much, as the cliché goes, “on the outside looking in.” I came to this conclusion through the realization that I rarely associate with colleagues actively, rather choosing to watch their activities from the side, a solitary and quiet observer. I saw myself as very involved, but the involvement was happening almost entirely on the inside. As a result, my successes were almost entirely unknown to others, and the general assertion among colleagues around the area would be that they recognized me, but didn’t quite know who I was or where I called home. Though my pattern of involvement was definitely an “outside looking in” conundrum, I knew that in truth I was actually on the inside looking out. A passive but passionate participant; I didn’t appear to be in the game, but I knew the game was in me.
------Years later, in an entirely unrelated event, I was encouraged to recall my earliest childhood memory. I had little difficulty recalling this event as the image had flashed in my mind on numerous occasions prior to this. The event occurred at the house where I lived my first 3 years. Though I know nothing about the circumstances surrounding the event, I can see it very clearly to this day. There are several neighborhood children in my back yard. But I am not there. I am seated on a large wooden toy box in my room, looking out the window, watching them play on my swing set.
------One thing is very evident about the three activities. Each activity became increasingly easier. I had to examine my actions objectively and come to a conclusion, to determine how I view myself in my profession. The childhood memory was very clear. The mental work necessary to complete the third task had already been done in prior years. The task was to succinctly define your own self-image, recall your earliest childhood memory, and compare the two. This was the first time I had considered the correlation between the first to activities. I was amazed to find that the two are identical.
------This reinforced in a most tangible way something that I had always known through intuition. As we go through the trials and tribulations of life; as we sing and shout in celebration through joys and triumphs; as we ride the placid plains of mundane routine; as we search for meaning; as we order chaos and make chaos out of order; there is something within us that never changes.

© 2004 - The Trill House