Sunday, January 21, 2007

People Like Us

"Tell your heart that fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself. And that
no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every
second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."
--Paulo Coelho

The other night, I was delighted by a visit from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Boo. Boo is a working actor, and it just so happens that his latest Broadway show breezed through town. I had the honor of receiving an orchestra seat ticket to the show, to witness, yet again, Boo's amazing talent on stage. Even when we were little kids, Boo's stage presence alone was something that gave me chills. In fact, it still does. Every time.

As I was sitting in the audience before the curtain went up, it struck me that this is what it's like to walk through life with people who are living their dream. Even when we were children, Boo and I knew that our only real choice in life was to do what we love and love what we do. We have nothing to prove at all, we just do what we do, and try, at a minimum, to give it our best. We're both so far from where we came from now, and yet we are in a state of constantly arriving where we belong. In Boo's world of stage talk, I mused that this would be known as "finding one's light".

The same feeling came over me a year ago, when I ate in my little brother's restaurant for the very first time. As the youngest executive chef in a very successful establishment, my extremely creative, and passionate Baby Bro is living his dream. Knowing first hand how much work, dedication, evolution, discipline and sacrifice it took for Bro to get where he is, I almost started crying like a proud mother during the second course. The worries over the many thousands of dollars he and I borrowed to get him through culinary school were rendered completely inconseqential.

My dear friend, Slinky, and I practice yoga together every Saturday morning. Slinky is a professional artist. As an artist, she doesn't create anything because she "should"; she creates because she MUST. During the course of our asana practice yesterday, I couldn't get over the feeling of greater connectedness I felt by having her next to me in the room. Yoga practice typically takes place in a roomful of strangers, without people beside you who intimitely know and understand the colors of your soul. Between Slinky and I, our parallel mats yesterday served as a metaphor of our parallel lives. She's such a positive force of energy that I couldn't help but feel stronger in her presence. At brunch afterwards, she said that she felt the same thing.

After the show the other night, Boo explained to me his theory about "People Like Us" or "P.L.U.", as he calls it.

"Think about it," he said. "We're the people in our generation who are doing the things that other people say they want to do, but don't have the guts to do it."

"But, really, what is it that makes us so different than anyone else?," I replied.

"I think it's because we have no fear," he said. "When we are scared, we let it fuel us to do something with it rather than keep us locked up. We're more willing to put ourselves out there and take risks, and we don't take it personally if we do get slapped down for it. If we get slapped, we get slapped. No bigs. We learn from it and move on."


I actually thought about this in yoga class yesterday. I remembered a time when Slide, one of the other crazy characters in my life said, "See, Namaste, you see it...I see it...but a lot of people? Well, they just don't see it like we see it like we see it." I considered this blog thing that I write, and how it seems that I am managing to get a readership of absolutely incredible people who more or less like to read about how I see it. Of course, my good days sometimes come with less-than-good ones. I don't profess to be a source of perfection or expert in anything, but I believe that everyone has inside of them to figure out who they are and live their dream accordingly. We just have to do it...and not be consumed by fear or apathy.

Whether or not you see it like I see it, I think it's fair to say that we all struggle at times with the seeming disconnect between our lives and our dreams. I've learned that they two don't have to be mutually exclusive. We all have something precious and extraordinary to give to this intangible world. And with this, we have absolutely nothing to lose. My only real fear in this life is to live with regret for having not followed my sense of curiosity, and closing myself off from my childlike wonder. We're here for such a short time, why not take those risks, live within the bounds of our authenticity...and make the most of the journey?


Mujer Morena said...

Thank you.

Zed said...

Moved and inspired. Thx.

Leaf said...

You are a quite fortunate person to surround yourself with such amazing people. You also happen to give them very interesting aliases on your blog. This was another great post and I am sure many others will find a lot of what is said in it to be inspiring.

Anonymous said...

I took a huge chance a few years ago and am now doing my dream job. I moved around the world and I left everything I knew and just went for it. It was the best two years of my life. Interestingly, I have now met someone who does not want that life, would not fit into it, who is not asking me to leave it, and yet without whom life is not as sweet. So for me, the question of what is a risk and what is a dream is always changing. I'm frankly not sure which is more scary: to jump off a track that seems perfect for me just for a chance with someone I love or to stay on it just because I worked so hard to get there. Which is more authentically me? Discovering that answer is something I look forward to doing on this journey.

skatecat said...

true that.

Lynne said...

Namaste, you inspire me.

Sometimes I wonder if I am following my true path or not. How can you tell I wonder?

VJ said...

You are truly fortunate to be very rich in friends. Other than that obvious observation, I've got not much to add. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

Anonymous said...

great post!
I also love the work of Paulo Coelho!!!!
Do you know that he has a newsletter Warrior of The Light?
You can also go to his blog and comment with other readers your
it's simply wonderful!

Best wishes!