9 Ideas For Lessons From The Peace Pilgrim

Take my law practice, for instance. Easily the most miserable experience of my life, and a cautionary tale that I will share at some point in the near future. Suffice it to say I wanted to be an attorney for all the wrong reasons, and I tried like hell to be a good one. It very nearly killed me.

It turns out that I very much like being alive. For the past year I have been reading and thinking about these ideas, and the things I have read have fundamentally changed my perspective. I have concluded that it is time to make a change. A number of changes, actually. It is time for me to begin living in harmony with my values, talents and passions, and thereby begin living in harmony with the universe.  This is what I am calling the Way of the Blessed Bohemian.

One Thing at a Time

For more resources on this subject, Google the phrase “Be the change you seek“, which is, you’ll find, a quote from Gandhi (or a paraphrase, I don’t know, I didn’t hear him say it).

And as I like to do when I’ve written a little on the heavy side, I’ll leave you with another highly entertaining John Prine song, this time covered by the Avett Brothers.

As, ahem, “entertaining” as the verses are, wait for the chorus …

 

The Way of the Blessed Bohemian

That’s why I’m here. To teach myself and others to choose happiness. To demonstrate an alternative. To show that it can be done.

My path to the present has taken a long and varied arc, and I have been (or tried to be) many things. A lawyer. A bartender. A salesmen. A teacher. I have made copies and airplanes and cocktails with varying degrees of ability and success. I have run movie projectors and argued before my state’s supreme court. But I couldn’t find anything that made me feel content.

I didn’t feel content because I was in pursuit of the wrong things.

Who you are should absolutely dictate what you do. That is the path to contentment. Consider for a moment the following questions:

The Way of the Blessed Bohemian

There is an epidemic of unhappiness. I find myself surrounded by cynical, desperate souls that are fighting their way through life and waiting for what happens next. We have developed a pathological self-centeredness, and we believe that chasing money and status and things will make us happy.

We have convinced ourselves that these things are the path to salvation because everyone around us seems convinced, too. We have gotten very good at lying to one another, and to ourselves. We have gotten very good at pretending that we are happy, even though the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. Indeed, the pattern is unmistakable. We are all angry. And sad. And scared. Mostly scared.

How To Use Lessons From The Peace Pilgrim To Desire

My wish is that The Blessed Bohemian will serve some very specific purposes.  I want to share my journey toward contentment so that other people will see that there is a way to get there, and as a way of holding myself accountable for the changes I’ve committed to making. I want to provide a means for like-minded individuals to connect with me and one another, because I think that changing the world will be easier for all of us if we have a little help.  Finally, I want to inspire and encourage others to live in harmony with their values, talents and passions.

I think we can all find our purpose. I think our lives can have more meaning. I believe we can cultivate freedom, and in the process, redefine prosperity. I believe that we can be happy.

Blessed: An adjective meaning blissfully happy, contented, or fortunate.

Bohemian: An adjective describing a person who lives free of regard for conventional rules or practices.

These terms will define the scope of our discussions here. The old way simply doesn’t work. This is the Way of the Blessed Bohemian.  I am committing to defining the scope of my life by these same terms, and I hope you’ll join in the discussion.

Every Chance You Get

And every last one of us – myself included – fails to blame ourselves. We are all just one person. Each and every one of us. And the only person we can change is ourselves.

Our complaints do and will continue to go unheard because those in power have no incentive to listen. We give them no compelling reason to change, because they know we are complacent. They have heard our compalints time and again, and watched as we waited for our moaning to bring about some change in them – and they laughed, knowing full well that, eventually, we would wander back to the gas station or McDonalds or Wal Mart. They smiled and nodded and heard us out and then patted us on the head and told us to get back in line. And we did.

The complaints that I hear fail to recognize one simple truth: The people that are in power are in power because we put them in power.