Saturday, August 2, 2014
The Soul Proprietor
Quite a while ago I read a quote inside Humans of New York that took me aback more than any anything had for a long time. Having stored these words in my ETR (The Elegant in the Room) vault, I recently (meaning just this minute) tracked down these three lines:
"Of course it's absurd to talk about fairness in the universe." "Why is that absurd?" "Because there's no such thing as karma. I mean, when you're a good person, people can sense it and they'll reciprocate that goodness. But the universe isn't keeping some balance by guaranteeing you a reward."
Beyond the complex metaphysical question tackled, what I find most enchanting about this quote is its frankness. Sure, my neighborhood pundits spouting steadfast ideologies miff me as much as the next gal, but when it comes to necessary issues of the soul and ethics, most people seem hesitant to take a stance at all. Their heart, their experience, or their fear prevents them from first, sincerely contemplating, and second, consolidating all their contemplations into a meaningful set of values. Such a working game plan, attuned to both your instincts and ambitions, may sway and alter, but it will always be the whole, accessible philosophy that you alone created.
Granted, the quote starts out somewhat disheartening, suggesting that no aspect of our world is truly fair. But once you read further, you notice that what the author really means is that the universe itself isn't goodness, but, rather, that we are the goodness; that is, if we choose to be. In other words, "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul": when external remedies appear bleak, we can always rely on ourselves and the thought we have put into the road ahead.
And this quote coming from an everyday woman walking the street, someone who gains no advantage by being smarter or more successful than the rest of us. A rare intelligence and communication shines through nonetheless, and the quote turns out to be one of the most optimistic I've ever read. Little is more empowering than the realization that we have full capacity to reward others and ourselves for our biggest feats and smallest niceties. What's more, the acceptance of this capacity better equips us to approach head-on and and feet-down the very real challenges we face everyday, challenges that can't often be mitigated by an elusive worldly power.
To be sure, I do not mean to criticize faith, religion, or anything of that nature in this post, for a discussion of values and beliefs is insufficient without them. On the contrary, I wish to provide a human and realistic perspective on the forces that have the most immediate sway in our universe, namely, our minds and our actions. While a higher power may control some of the more principal aspects of life and death, we have ultimate license to control what's in front of us and what's to come as we take infinitely more steps toward a plan of our own.
With goals so methodical and feats so distinct, it must be ourselves with which our journeys are linked.
We come even closer with each and every blink. ;)
Dress: Anthropologie (old). Necklace: J. Crew (old). Flowers: Dierberg's Florist.
All photos (and french braid) by Amber Schlomer, owner of Natural Images Photography. :)