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  • The individual has always had to struggle to
    keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
    To be your own man is a hard business.
    If you try it, you will be lonely often, and
    sometimes frightened. But no price is too
    high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

    Rudyard Kipling


    To ask you what you would most like to be doing at this moment is probably not a fair question. But I am curious. What comes to mind?

    Do you find yourself wanting to set out in search of the Holy Grail? Make gluten-free pancakes? Just curl up and sleep through the Revolution?

    There never used to be so many choices. You either plowed the fields around the castle, had babies, or you went to war. The ladies wore colorful silk tapestries, year in, year out. There were banquets, jousting tournaments, hunts for wild boar. Life was good.

    If you were lucky, you were a jester, and got to tell jokes for a living.

    Strange, isn't it, how we are tempted at every side to run away from the realities we all must face sooner or later.

    In poetry, of course, we can postpone reality indefinitely. At the drop of an enigma, the mind will scamper off into the underbrush and hide from itself. Think about glaciers. Think about orchids. Think about dinosaurs. And with your glaciers, and your orchids and your dinosaurs you can weave a story so seductive and sublime that it will be weeks before your realize the terrible trick your mind in all its inventiveness has played on you.

    Forget the candles. Forget the Moonlight Sonata. Forget the Jasmine incense. Forget what it was like when you walked on the Great Wall of China for the first time. Then, you will be able to locate yourself in the present and concentrate on things that matter. These will, in time, define themselves to you as feelings and intuitions. A direction may emerge, a call, a clarity.

    Do not be afraid to take long walks by the sea, and listen for the sound of your own voice. Even at this very moment the air around us is incredibly rich with possibilities for thought and action. But we drown them out, with so much electronic chatter, so much vapid egotism, so many absolutely meaningless diversions, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    I'm sure that you can hear it, your still small voice, here between my words and your heart, this no man's land inhabited only by our common language and our common dreams. The point to remember about contemporary civilization is that things are not at all as they seem.

    Our beleaguered planet, in a desperate cry for help, has developed a language of survival and is speaking to us. We look out through a stained glass window and think that we see chaos and confusion, but what we are really seeing is … Optional assignment: Fill in the blank. Your world, your imagination, your life.

    (Photograph by Alex in the Inspire Space Park in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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