These little ideas and affirmations are written as Me talking to Myself, so please don't read condescension or ego into them. They are things that I am working on, not things that I'm actually telling anyone else they Should do. If you're inspired, I hope it's to come up with your own manifesto, not listen to little me.Even though I've gotten really into blogging recently (as you can see), I still find myself holding back on certain things, including anything that might seem to be giving advice or stating a moral principle. Back when I was studying acting, I remember working on one scene and being told: "Your third eye is going wild, John. Try it again -- turn off your third eye." And you were right, Rebecca.
Your third eye is that meddlesome little critic in your head who watches you and second-guesses every little thing before you're about to do it. Sometimes this can be useful, but more often it's about as productive in helping me live my life as Hillary Clinton's continued presidential campaign is in helping the Democrats win the White House. I don't care if you have a valid point or not -- you're just getting in the way of getting stuff done, so please go away!
See, I want to use the blog to articulate my thoughts on how to live life ... but then my third eye is saying, "Who are you to say how to live life? Do you really have enough experience to tell people what to do?" I definitely want to talk about ethical issues, but the third eye will say, "Are you really the best person to pronounce on ethics? Are you living such an ethical life yourself?"
Of course, this is ridiculous, so I need to give myself permission to just forget about all that. If you limited the pool of people you were willing to listen to for advice to those who do everything right all the time, or if you only listened to thoughts on ethical issues from those who are morally pure (which I'm sure is the unwavering practice of those critics of Al Gore who are outraged that he doesn't take every conceivable measure in his personal life to reduce global warming) ... then you wouldn't be exposing yourself to very much thought.
Back to Summer's manifestos -- I mentioned in my first post that I was inspired by what she said about being open and honest, assertive and direct. That passing reference didn't do it justice, so here's some more for you:
Start by telling everyone about your manifesto and don't bother with a long disclaimer. Your honesty will inspire others to do the same and put everyone's intentions and feelings on the table, all the time. Ask for what you want instead of taking what you get. The answer might be "yes," and if it isn't you're better off knowing now. Get used to talking without trying to make people laugh. ...
Admit your mistakes and request that others apologize for theirs. Don't confuse honesty with being self-effacing or embarrassing yourself -- honesty includes all of the good things as well as the bad ones. ...
Don't confuse simple, reasonable honesty with radical silliness. There is no reason to try to articulate blurry feelings or over-explain every detail. The point is to be honest instead of internalizing, not to try to extract juicy confessionals out of everyday life. And remember: saying something out loud can sometimes make it true, rather than the other way around. Proceed cautiously, but let. it. out.
(Closeup eye photo by Charloto. Self-portrait with monster umbrella by Summer Anne Burton.)