Friday, July 3, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True

    There's no escaping Hamlet. I wish someone else wrote Hamlet so I could feel secure in my distaste for Shakespeare.
    'To thine own self be true'...Polonius' words to his son. Polonius, the awful wind-bag and royal toady. Maybe Shakespeare wrote himself into Hamlet in the character of Polonius. To Thine Own Self Be True. 6 words. As profound as you can get. Nothing heavier in the English language. 
   Be yourself. This requires that you know who you are. How many of us can say we know ourselves? How many of us have the courage to out-stare that face in the Mirror? I can't. I find myself circling myself, looking for a way in, but afraid to get too close.
I tried analysis years ago. Lasted about 6 months and quit. We were getting too close to something I couldn't/didn't want to know. Myself. 
   I am the product of my DNA and my environment. My parents, relatives, friends, strangers. If any of these people were disturbed or did something detrimental to my growth it becomes my problem. So, the Self is a complex product...most of which is way beyond our control. Nobody gets to pick his/her Self. The idea, however, is to understand your Self and be True to it. Damn.
   To Thine Own Self Be True. Know yourself and be yourself. All around us powerful forces are constantly telling us what to look like, how to speak, what to drink/eat/smoke/wear. God protect the adventurous soul who decides to try to be himself. You end up tied to a wire fence and stoned to death by your friends or you become a very bright Nelson Mandela or MK Ghandi or Keith Richard. 
   To Thine Own Self Be True. Still, I know at a deep level that those 6 words are true. True like 'Do Unto Others' or 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'.
So, we're back to Hamlet and Shakespeare. Back to Courage and Self. Back to circling the woodfire, partly in shadow, partly in the glow...waiting for a signal. A small gesture. Come on in. Have a seat. We have some things to talk about.

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