I see now that the path I choose through the maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being—one of many ways—and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming. ― Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.
―Hermann Hesse,Narcissus and Goldmund
Trust me. If you do not decide where you are heading, and refuse to take the appropriate action, you will end up being shaped into what others would have you become. Then any change will not be made for your benefit but for theirs.
Like a snake sheds its skin, we are capable of getting rid of assembled habits, creating space to call matters into question. Instead of the Shakespearean “To be or not to be ” we could favor “to become or not to become”. By “becoming”, we challenge the range of possibilities in our life and go beyond the merely “being”. We can retreat, then, from the imprisonment of a deadly routine, acquire an identity and develop our personality.
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Public Domain Image by Arthur Rothstein of the US Farm Security Administration, 1936
“If you want to go straight against the wind, find a path in its folds and pass through it,” he had said, although he’d never actually taught his grandson how to find it. Still, Masakichi had begged him.
“Even if I teach you where the path is, you won’t be able to see it because the wind is always changing. If I show you the path in the wind one minute, the wind will shift and the path will disappear the next.”
“Then how do I find it?” Masakichi had asked, worried he’d never be able to do it.
“You must find it anew each time,” his grandfather smiled. “The only way to see the path in the wind is to become the wind itself.”
―Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani, Jet Black and the Ninja Wind