Make a manifesto

Do you have a personal manifesto? “A declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives or motives.” It can be a statement written out in the passion of heartfelt desire and clear vision expressing who you want to be and how you want to spend your days.

Because day in and day out, plans and intentions get confused, deflated, washed away. One forgets.

Lately, I’ve been stuck in a murky fog, not able to see clearly to next week much less next year. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be. Nothing to write about. Life feels stale and airless. It’s a ridiculous, self-indulgent state of affairs – but so be it. I’m being honest. Sometimes I lose my way.

Obviously, life is too short for this. So I reread the manifesto that launched this blog and captured how I want to spend my days. “To set out at late mid-life on a journey to create projects and challenges, so that today and tomorrow and the day after offer something new. A journey that carries me to new places physically, but also unexplored regions in my soul. To start afresh, right from the beginning, a boat sailing by night into the dark, unknown and uncharted – into the future.”

Pretty grandiose, eh? I could be a bit embarrassed by such elevated desires. But since my college days as an English major, I’ve always liked this quote by Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?”

Exactly.

Remembering my manifesto refocused my scrambled emotions in two ways. It reminded me of how life can be a carnival of delight and that I can fully indulge, cotton candy in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other. Yet at other times, and probably most often, I’m alone in the dark. But this darkness should not be my enemy. It’s the darkness of the unknown, of mystery. It’s the dark of closed-eyed meditation, of stillness. I feel fear and a sense of groping in a void. But I must believe in my grandiose manifesto. I am not foundering in the doldrums. A gentle wind is pressing me forward on this uncharted course.