May 9, 2009

Well, maybe not that boldly

Dear Internet,

I'm a 24 year old kid, caffeinated past his bedtime and hopped up on Hollywood spectacle. Take everything I tell you with a big grain of salt, and forgive me my occasional over-enthusiasm.

There's probably a subtler truth to what I'm feeling than I was able to express. It probably doesn't require the jumping and the shouting and the adolescent imagery. When I can find a better way to put it, I'll keep you in mind and pass it on.

But I shame myself into serenity sometimes, and tonight I'd rather sing out.

Hallelujah, Mr. Internet, for there are mountains to climb. Hallelujah, friend, for the rivers to cross and the skies to explore, the lives we live that never before were possible. I look out at the world tonight, and the road behind me and the options before me, and I scream out to my maker

HELL YEAH, BABY!!!!

and the voice of sad serenity can suck it. I am living a life of purpose, knowing not yet what it be, and I will pursue that life as a fantastical adventure, fearing no dragons and monsters before me.

But also, probably not. 'Cause I'm a coward and a child, and I insist on having it both ways. I'll enjoy my safe evening of heroic sensibility, but reserve the right to retreat in the light of day. I'm afraid of my heroism, afraid of charging blindly and foolishly, and I can see in that cowardice a certain measure of wisdom.

It takes a lot of self-knowledge to hear the honest call of destiny. And it takes an equal measure of discipline to keep listening past the opening remarks, instead of driving it away by celebrating its presence.

I bless you to have an easier time than I do balancing the peace of understanding and the chaos of action.

Myself, I've erred on the side of peace too much lately, so with all due hedging and equivocation, tonight I'm rocking out.

WAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Yotam Schachter-Shalomi,
Awesome Hero

May 8, 2009

BOLDLY, motherf*cker

Dear Internet,

I just came home from watching Star Trek, and it was awesome.

I don't want to talk too much about the movie, but it reminded me of something I wanted to share with you.

It is very important to see yourself as a Hero.

The world out there, around you and in you and of you and for you, it's big and it's crazy and it's ripe for exploration. You are boldly going where no [cough] has gone before, shining the light of your being on this very strange world which always is new. You are carrying consciousness, every single moment, into an undiscovered country.

And it's not about you.

I think that might be the essence of heroism. Batman's a hero, and the firefighters on 9/11, and possibly Al Gore. Barack Obama's my hero, even though I feel like a sap for admitting it. These are people struggling for something greater than themselves, transcending self in the pursuit of human goodness.

It's not enough for you to be the wonderful you that you are. I've challenged you to embrace your selfhood, and I stand by that challenge, but I'm remembering tonight that it's critical to let go of self when the moment comes for something greater. It is that greatness that justifies our flaws and our hardships and foibles. It makes me want to jump up and down with glory and fire, screaming my love to the Lord. It makes me want to take on bigger challenges, wrestle bigger angels, knowing that every effort, every moment, is a potential explosion of wonderful being, waiting for Team Consciousness to come celebrate its reality.

You are more than your material, Mr. Internet, and you are here to serve more than yourself. You're here to explore the universe, your universe, and delight in it and devote yourself to it. Push the boundaries of the known and the done and the believable until you've nothing left to push with, and I think you'll discover joy in the process.

A destiny calls to you, and the virtue of self-knowledge is in freeing you to hear that call. Go forth and be AWESOME.

Your friend,

Yotam Schachter-Shalomi