Friday, July 13, 2012

The Naked Soul...

"All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players"  
~  William Shakespeare

Up until this Spring, I had only been invited to one wedding in over ten years (and the one I was invited to...I happened to be the best-man). 

I suspect the reason for this phenomenon is that most of my good friends are already married or on their second (third...fourth...etc.) marriage - which usually comes with much less fanfare and much smaller wedding ceremonies / receptions reserved for immediate family.

It seems this year, however, that the floodgates of wedding invitations have burst opened. 

The answer is relatively simple...the offspring of my friends and family have now reach the marrying age and thus the frenzy of invitations.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend one such blessed event. 

The groom was a young entrepreneur whose company’s board I had once served on and later developed a mentoring relationship with.  Over the years I have watch him grow and develop into a savvy businessman and a quality human being.  He is insightful, respectful and a deep thinker.  He would much rather listen than speak and his actions are always considered and measured.

The ceremony was a perfect in every sense.  Every detail was carefully planned and executed to precision.  Nothing was left to chance...each and every element were deliberate and carefully thought out.

After dinner, several toasts to the newlyweds were made by a host of friends and family.  One toast was of particular interest to me.  It was made by the groom’s best man, who had known the groom since grade school.

During his toast, the best man narrated several embarrassing stories about wild adventures that the two of them had shared while growing up.  He spoke of the reckless escapades and of the near death experiences that they had narrowly escaped.

I could hardly believe my ears...who was this person that he was speaking of? surely couldn’t be this young man...he is way too conservative for any of those tales to true...

After several of the reception rituals, first dances, cake cutting, and speeches, I found my way to the table of the best man and several of the groom’s childhood friends.  I was on a quest to seek answers to many of the questions now in my mind.

I asked the best man how much literary license he had taken with the truth in regards to the stories he had just told.  He (and others at the table) assured me that all of the narratives were indeed true and that nothing was embellished.

Here is a person I thought I knew well...a person of whom I had a 10-year relationship with...a person who personified restraint and control... but had lived a complete other life...

Did this person have a complete personality transformation with the coming of age or did he simply adopt a second that could be changed and adapted to fit the present situation?

Several years ago I met an incredible filmmaker, Nic Askew, who through his short black & white films has attempted to paint a portrait of the human soul.  Through his intensive interviews, he metaphorically strips away the clothing of personality to expose the true inner self of his subjects captured on film. 

The subjects of his films don’t communicate through simple reporting...rather they relate their message through the sharing of themselves, of events that shaped their lives, and of people who have touched them deeply and helped to forge the person that they’ve become.

I am in awe of Nic’s talents as a filmmaker (and musician) and of his innate ability to reach the very core of the human experience.

We are born into the world naked, both physically and spiritually.  There are no filters... no sugar-coating the truth.  If we are hungry we cry until we are fed...when we are tired we sleep...we don’t wait to use the restroom.  We are dependant upon others for our very survival.

As we grow older, we are taught that it’s important to adopt the norms, rules, and customs of the society in which we live. 

Some of these conventions are absolutely necessary to keep the peace and order of a free, just and safe world.

One cannot simply ignore red lights at intersections because they don’t feel like stopping or because it inconveniences them.  The laws and regulations of society are the boundaries in which we need to live our lives.

However within those legal limitations, we can exercise the freedoms to be individuals, to think independently, pursue our own happiness, and to explore the creativity that lies in each of us.

We can also choose to be a taker, a liar, a manipulator, a narcissist, a fake, and or an insincere person.

As in most things present in the world, there are few absolutes...few things colored in black or white but rather a varying degree of gray.

On one end of the spectrum are people who employ their individualism in an outwardly fashion not caring what others think of them, displaying their unique eccentricity and their own sense of style. 

They communicate openly, aren’t afraid to show emotion or outwardly display love.  They don’t put on performances but rather they are more comfortable to be themselves than the person other people think they should be.

They live in the present.  They do not live nostalgically the glory days of the past nor are they waiting for the better days that lie ahead in the future. 

They alone are responsible for their own actions and thoughts.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who are a bit more guarded.  They develop sub-personalities and multiple personae to help them to adapt to a variety of social and business conditions. 

They are unaware of the truth as the truth is constantly changing based on the circumstances of the moment.  When caught in lies, they will take to the offensive to attack others or create a defensible position to justify their behavior.  Rarely do they take responsibility for their own actions.

These people are masters at manipulation and using others for their own betterment.  They enjoy trying to control others and live by the adage "the end justifies the means".

They are self-absorbed and believe that the world revolves solely around them.  They are often critical and envious of others as to make themselves look better at the expense of others.

Enough is never enough, wanting more is their endgame.

They are constantly begging for forgiveness rather than asking for permission.

Between the two poles of the spectrum lies a continuum where most of us are found.  At different times in our lives we move from one extreme toward the other.

Stripping away our defenses and exposing our naked soul comes with a high degree of risk but with risk comes reward...the reward of being an authentic person living an amazing life...

Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse where we try each day to do a little better than the day before.

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