the mob, gladiators, and one way you might choose live

I believe that writing is not only an act of creation — as well as an oft misunderstood journey of self-expression — but an earnest means of inner and outer exploration.

Writing is a journey of awareness and understanding.

Through our words, we do not read the map, but write it: our sprawling thoughts find order, our seemingly chaotic emotions find groundedness and peace. We look around the world in writing and see the tale that we live and have been living all along; we tell a story, and hear the song of the epic we are a part of.

Senseless circumstance, random causes and effects — they all find imperfect harmony.

Disorder finds order.

The world may still be insane in some ways, but in our words, its insanity becomes a thing of reverent beauty.

Story is the thin metal spokes that thread the bicycle wheel; feeble independent of one another, but together, they make order of possibility; they facilitate motion and carry us upon life’s journey.

The writer is merely the ass upon the seat.

She pushes and pulls the handle bars; he wobbles and steers and navigates. Story holds us up and keeps the wheels moving — hopefully, in some forward direction.

I once believed that there were writers and then there were not: that writing was part preference and part innate skill. There are surely better writers than others but writing at its core is merely a reflection of the desire and dedication to communicate.

At its most remedial level, writing is communicating.

On a deeper level, writing is exploring, seeking and understanding. On a deeper level, writing is creative and it is art.

On a deeper and even spiritual level, writing is God.

Writing puts the power of a divine creator into our finger tips. What a remarkable power — and how remarkably intimidating that can be.

To create is to assume responsibility for what is created. The power of God in our hands is as simple as taking up the pen, but the pen holds a psychological power. That power is what we each feared when mommy and daddy removed the training wheels.

I have to balance, I have to keep moving forward. Just keep pedaling. What if I don’t? If I don’t, I’ll fall. I’ll hit cement, pavement. Bumps, bruises, cuts, pain.

Worse?

Shame. Failure. Judgment. Criticism.

When we fell off our bicycles, mom never laughed; she picked us up and told us it wouldn’t happen again — even when it did.

With the power of God in our hands, we ride that wobbly bike in front of a stadium of 60,000 screaming mouths and their 120,000 judging eyes: The Mob.

That ghastly, ghoulish, inhumane mob desires to pain us with their points and laughs; to crush our dreams with their jeers and boos; to force us to quit by their presence alone.

Why?

The source is a somewhat perverse though evolutionarily-intact social force — to me, today, it seems a sick pleasure — that arises in repressing the outlier; in banishing the outcast; in punishing the darer who breaks from rank and file.

The Mob welcomes the gladiator’s death, neither for his feats nor his failure, but that he is upon the stage at all.

The Mob of ancient Rome was not all that unlike any gathered crowd of this age, minus the anticipation and expectation of entertainment from death.

Whether then or now, The Mob finds desire in smashing the mental strength of the outlier — an accomplishment that would become particularly impressive, since the inner source of strength of a man cannot be physically touched.

In some perverse way, to The Mob, crushing the spirit of a human being is a show of strength greater than his being defeated in battle. The crowd reveres the power of emotionally quelling The One is so brazen to defy odds, circumstance, chance, skill, will, ability.

Boos, hisses, jeers, the taunts, the anger, the venom.

Look to the college basketball arena, look to the football league stadium. The Mob is present.

The Mob exists for many reasons, but above all else, because together they find solace; independent of one another, they become the dreaded outliers whom they chastise.

If we wonder why art, creation, expression, communication, exploration — even just caring, just trying, striving, dreaming — is such a remarkable challenge internally within ourselves and externally amongst the world, look no further than The Mob.

And yet, if we still dare and desire to change any facet of our lives through art, creation, expression, communication or exploration, perhaps we should all look no further than writing.

From writing, your True Self is slowly but surely realized. We can achieve that within ourselves, privately, irreverently, as the warrior who trains alone with his sword.

Our inner spirit is tapped into, our core strength is realized, the power of your soul is found; we can even call it by name. In writing, the ego melts away into a puddle of nothingness. We become fluid and boundless. We are a wave that washes over the enemy’s ship, or a slow drip that cracks stone walls and sets its prisoners free.

In the stories and tales we tell, the past finds peace. Our regrets become lessons; we can give them to others, with hopes that they might not make our same mistakes.

Create, express, explore.

Adventure, journey, discover.

Realize, understand, activate.

Give, give thanks, receive.

Write.

Flickr photo credit: jscatty

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