My autobiography is coming along quite well. I started at the beginning, edited everything I previously wrote, and concluded it close to the present. One benefit of writing an autobiography is putting my life in perspective–seeing the big picture and objectively looking at it as story. A terrible struggle at the time makes a good story today.
I’ve long said, “I live life as art.” I worked on this book for twenty-seven years. It’s a work of art too. I go over it repeatedly and keep adding a little color here, a little detail there, some nuance, a new light until it’s finished.
Over the years, it had a number of titles: An American Siddhartha (after Hermann Hesse’s book), Saffron, Full Circle, and now An Authentic Life. I was writing and looked up “authentic” in my computer dictionary. It said:
❧ Authentic: (in existentialist philosophy) relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life. (New Oxford American Dictionary)
That resonated as how I try to live my life. It also got me back in touch with my existentialist roots as I researched the idea. I came upon this quote that reinforces the other:
❧ Authenticity is a technical term in existentialist philosophy, and is also used in the philosophy of art and psychology. In philosophy, the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces, pressures and influences which are very different from, and other than, itself. Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite these pressures. (Wikipedia)
As I make the next pass through the manuscript, I will use the theme of authenticity as a filter to tie the whole thing together. Whether dealing with my father, guru, family, society, or employers, the conflict boils down to who they want me to be versus who I am. I am true to myself, often at great personal cost. I take full responsibility for the choices I made, the life I live, and who I am. I am content and happy with the result.
As Mick said, “You can’t always get what you want, but you just might find you get what you need.” Aloha.