The other day I got a certificate in the mail. I had completed another course, had another few letters after my name if I chose to put them there. I don’t choose. My pedigree is extensive with gets and begats and doesn’t begin to express who I am or how I got here.
It’s not that the cum laude isn’t important, but the laurels pale in relation to the ground they grew in and on. It’s my experience and what I do with it that ribbons me.
We are all a mixture of genetic and experiential inputs and impulses. Every thought dictates our next action, every action dictates our results. If I let my certificate, whatever it says, dictate how I feel about myself I might as well hide behind the pedigree and be done with it.
The walk of my life needs a path and the path needs dirt and rocks. I mustn’t forget that. The days of exasperation spent in pursuit of my highest goals are the soles of my feet and the strength in my heart.
“…once you fully apprehend the vacuity of a life without struggle you are equipped with the basic means of salvation.” Tennessee Williams, “The Catastrophe of Success.”
When I look at the pulsing path of my life I don’t feel the triumphs so much as the friends and the songs. The sometimes riotous music of my peers and the eras I’ve experienced.
Part of the air I’ve breathed has been the expression of those around me. Virtual and actual. I remember how good it felt to add Bucky Fuller as one of my mentors though I never knew him or met him. Ditto John Cage.
It was a revelation to be free of my immediate influences and enter the world of possibility.