December 4

Today's quotation:

What one doesn't realize in ordinary mental health
is that daily life is a show.  You have to put on a
right costume, to improvise right speeches, to do
right actions, and all this isn't automatic, it takes concentration and work and a simply amazing
degree of control.

Herman Wouk

Today's Meditation:

In other words, we're all accomplishing something pretty remarkable every day.  We're living our lives, doing our jobs, saying the right things, wearing the right clothes.  We've learned systems and structures, and we're functioning fully and appropriately within those systems.  We've become pretty adept at doing the right things based on other people's expectations of us.

But just how comfortable should we be with this knowledge?  This ability of ours isn't necessarily a negative thing, and it doesn't necessarily keep us from living a full and happy life.  And if we look at it the right way, we actually feel a sense of accomplishment for showing the control and concentration necessary to pull off starring in the show every day.  But is starring in the show necessarily what we want to do?  Is there room in our worlds for pulling out of the show and doing our own thing, completely on our own terms?

I believe there is, but I also see that there's a great deal of value that we can contribute by remaining in the play.  As a teacher, I'd accomplish very little without students, and in order to be able to stay at schools it's necessary for me to play the required role to a certain extent--and push the envelope in ways that I truly believe will help my students.  And my ability to play the roles expected of me then can have a very positive effect on my students, as long as I'm an effective teacher.

Sometimes we get down on ourselves for conforming, for doing things that are expected of us.  But that's not always--nor necessarily--a negative part of our lives.  In fact, we should give ourselves credit for it when we do it well.

Questions to consider:

How well do you play the roles in your life?

Which roles are the most enjoyable ones to play?

Why do we often see such conformity as negative?

For further thought:

We are half ruined by conformity;
but we should be wholly ruined without it.

Charles Dudley Warner


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