Thursday, December 6, 2007

Being and living deliberately

ballerinaMost folks are aware of Henry David Thoreau's argument to go and live deliberately which he did in a small cabin in the woods near Concord, Massachusetts. He lived in the cabin to deliberately avoid the many aritifices of life then and to live as simple as possible beyond the necessities of life.

He spent two years in the cabin before resuming life in better surroundings in Concord. He eventually took up extended walking trips around New England, written about in the books of his travels. While a lot of people make a lot of his life in the cabin, in reality it wasn't all that bad for the time. He lived on the edge of town, had an ample supply of wood for heat, visited friends often for dinner and walked the short distance to resupply the cabin with supplies.

So was he living deliberately or living simply, as it now defined? And what is there between Thoreau and a ballerina?

While you can applaud Thoreau for his endeavor in the rural woods outside Concord and especially the extensive number of books he wrote throughout his life, I'll take the deliberation and dedication of a ballerina as a true measure of being and living deliberately. It takes 3-5 years before a ballerina can do what the one in the photo can do, to stand on pointe. And once they have mastered it, it's a consistent practice to be able to stand and dance on pointe.

My point? Living deliberately is relative to your endeavor and the dedication to pursue to your best. Some endeavors, like ballet, take your youth because it's where you will achieve and excel. This is true even in the sciences, where many physicists achieve their best in the graduate school for their PhD. But some, like many artistic paths such, can take a lifetime and you never may reach your peak because you add to your work with your experience.

Living deliberately is all-encompassing to your being and your life. How many of us have the dedication and passion to live deliberately our whole life, focused on one endeavor over all others, and focus on our being on doing one thing to the exlusion of all others and sacrifice our bodies to try and hopefully achieve and maybe excel? While many may be involved in something, few focus so deliberately.

And while they say it's the way to be the best, it's not always the case. Sheer effort won't guarrantee any modicum of success. It may make you feel good about the effort, but you always need more to live so deliberately and achieve. For example, I run, or try to, some days per week, and I know that even with all the effort and training I'll never run a marathon, become a world class runner, or even anything other than another jogger on the rural roads where I live.

I warm up and stretch using the New York City Ballet Workout book - also available in video formats too but I like the book, but I'll never be a dancer. It's the reality of my body, and ok, age, but I can do so much to be the best I can within the reality of my existence. And that's the limitation of everyone, our own existence in the world today.

All that aside, though, it doesn't mean we can't live deliberately and it doesn't mean we have to soley focus on one endeavor in our life. It's about the focus on the dedication and passion when we do what we want, to be and live deliberately. When I take any one of my camera system for an adventure, I try to focus on being aware and follow the three simple rules I have with my photography.

These are Go, Look, See, Capture and then back home, Produce. That's it. And if I can follow these rules with absolute deliberation, I'll be doing my best, my mind and body focused on the art and work of my photography. And that's all I can hope for in my life and with my work.

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