Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Horizons

Free Spirits and New Directions

Free spirits walk lightly on the face of this earth. I have met some of them in my time on my journey through my life thus far. They are an enviable lot. They simply do not let the world tie them down. They seem to embrace risk. I also love being in their company, as the ties that society throws over the rest of us do not shackle them. They simply do not swallow the “lies” that this same society wants its members to swallow whole. They refuse to be enslaved by jobs or ideas, or worse still ideologies. An image I have of such free souls is that of the silhouette of a walker or climber setting out up a hill or small mountain with his coat slung over his shoulder. Another image is that of the dancer. I am reminded of a beautiful scene from that wonderful novel by Sebastian Barry - The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty - where the young Eneas’s mother dances in the hearth to cheer up both herself and her young son. She, like my imaginary walker, is a free spirit – a wonderful soul who is true to her very nature.

Free spirits are not slaves of money. They do not ape the ways of the so-called successful yuppies, such as, desiring and driving the latest four-wheel-drive jeep, bigger and better houses, better and more lucrative jobs, power by any means possible etc. Promotion at work is often something that does not even enter their consciousness. They are relatively happy with their lot. Please note that I’m being realistic here insofar as I’ve used the word “relatively” to qualify my contention. No one is ever truly and fully happy in his or her lot. We are all subject to “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” as Hamlet so succinctly put it. However, the free spirit knows when things are too stressful or too spirit-crushingly smothering. They simply refuse to be downtrodden by a job or task. They will simply move on to greener pastures. They seem to me to move with an enviable ease and lightness through this oftentimes painful and stressful world.

I write these few lines as I have come to a decision in my life to take a career break from teaching; to refuse to be enslaved by a job that has become spirit crushing and soul destroying for me at this juncture in my career; to pursue my first love – academic study – this time an M.Phil. in psychoanalysis. And after that, who knows what the future will hold for me? I feel lighter already. I have thrown off my shoulders a spiritual and existential weight. Already I am breathing more freely and am walking ever lighter on this earth.

Above is a picture I took of the Abbé at Rouen, June 2006. The architects of such churches certainly had different horizons in mind than we do today.

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