A Good Place

Do you know the Holstee Manifesto? It’s amazing, it really is, (I have a copy of it hanging in my studio).

It has even, so I hear, sparked a small movement of people trying to write their own manifestos;  trying to write down, in list style, what they stand for, even if they often fall short of putting these things into practice.

I tried to write my own manifesto once, and I put it in terms of personal “Commandments.” I wrote this about 3 years ago:

Thou shall be kind.

Thou shall look in the eyes of others and see there you own eyes.

Thou shall be focused of mind and strong of body.

Thou shall take care of yourself and of everyone you love.

Thou shall forgive.

Thou shall be patient.

Thou shall write thy book.

Thou shall write thy truth.

Thou shall create beauty and order in your surroundings.

Thou shall express gratitude daily.

Thou shall develop sweetness and kindness and focus and strength.

Thou shall practice incessantly, with reverence, for a long time.

Thou shall be an agent of change.

Thou shall expand the sphere of thy concerns.

Thou shall not worry about outer geography.

Thou shall travel deeply inward and that will take you everywhere you want to go.

Thou shall know thyself.

Thou shall be intense.

Thou shall be disciplined.

Thou shall pause often.

Thou shall love everything extravagantly!

This was part of a post on this blog, and one of my readers questioned me about “Thou shall not worry about outer geography.” “What did I mean by that?” she wanted to know.

I have never felt connected to the place where I live. Never. And I am not the only one. The other day I ran into a woman who I’ve known for almost 30 years. Our daughters went to school together. She said, “You know, I have lived here for 30 years, raised my family here, and I realized recently that I really don’t have any friends here. We have our house on the market now. I am moving back to Illinois, where I grew up, and where I have deeper friendships than I’ve ever managed to make in 30 years here. What’s wrong with this place??”

Answer: Wrong tribe. If you can’t find your tribe, you will always live on the outskirts, always feel estranged, always be the minority.

If you can’t resonate with the predominate paradigm, you will spend a lot of time “screening” and “filtering out” stuff you just can’t bear hearing and seeing.

Then, when you happen to find yourself in a place where you don’t have to screen and filter, you feel wonderful, like you fit, or at least the fit is better.

There is no perfect place. I will say that again: THERE IS NO PERFECT PLACE.

But there are places that are better “fits.” When I wrote that I shouldn’t be concerned with outer geography, I was trying to find my true home inside myself, and it IS there. I know that and I believe that.

But I also think that where you live and the people you live among DO matter. Why spend all that energy screening and filtering and practicing patience and forbearance when you don’t have to? When you might find a place that is a better fit? Where there are more people who share your values and your worldview?

I really need to find that place.

5 thoughts on “A Good Place

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