Declaration of Misfitting

Declaration of Misfitting

“Since it is man’s unfitness–his being an outcast and an outsider on this planet–which started him on his unique course, it should not seem anomalous that misfits and outsiders are often in the forefront of human endeavor and the first to grapple with the unknown. The impulse to escape an untenable situation often prompts human beings not to shrink back but to plunge ahead. Moreover, it is in accord with the uniqueness of the human pattern that the misfits of the species should try to fit in not by changing themselves but by changing the world. Hence their bent for reform, innovation, tinkering, and plunging. Thus we find misfits in the vanguard of the settlement of new lands and the elaboration of new ways and methods in the economic, political, and cultural fields.” — Eric Hoffer, The Unnaturalness of Human Nature, from a collection of essays The Ordeal of Change, 1952.

I have come to recognize how much personal energy has been trapped by a denial that I am, indeed, a misfit. I do significant inner work with mindfulness and energetic attention. It is a factor for most of us that maintaining denials and suppressions, and keeping ancient secrets, removes some quanta of energy from usefulness in living life. Getting free is for me a process of controlling the costs of adaptive thoughts and feelings. It is, in my opinion, a worthy work to examine one’s own mind and escape the control of adaptive thoughts inherited and embellished in pre-conscious childhood.

I had the misperception for many years that others saw and understood word concepts and images in a manner like my own. Not that I exalt myself overmuch these days, as to intellectual acumen. I just appreciate that my observational platform of mind is unique in its breadth and reach. I like Hoffer. He lived as a working man, observed carefully, and wrote from authentic first-person narrative. I recently looked up the Colonel Bob character celebrated by the naming of the Colonel Bob Wilderness on the Olympic Peninsula. The namesake is Robert Ingersol, an orator of the Golden Age of Freethought. In Illinois, he spoke, against the grain, of slavery, religion (he was agnostic) and suffrage. I like this guy also. He was not to hold public office above attorney general. In my humble way, these essays I produce declare what personal authority I have acquired thus far, and take a jab at a human world afflicted by its own predispositions.

Fitting is normally considered a good thing. As a carpenter of many years experience, I have had much to do with adapting square boxes to un-level and un-straight building surfaces. This activity is sometimes called coping, as is the cutting the shape of a trim profile to butt a corner rather than mitering. Coping is good. I must adapt to some extent in order to effect a livelihood in the world. However, the point is well made that perfect adaptation to a dysfunctional system can hardly be called sanity. Once I realized the system to harbor much dysfunction, coping to it seemed more perverse and difficult. I am not a particular success in the world of capital and career.

Ahh, there is nothing like a good fit! I love fitting in. I love not having to misrepresent myself to fit in. I love blending and harmonizing in a choir. So, what is it that has me exalting the idea of misfit today? I married a black woman in the 70’s. I have a lovely daughter of that union who identifies more or less with the black community in her city. I have watched the disparagement of the earth by industry, and the externalizing of the costs on human community by industrial corporations. Collectively, our economic system has all but destroyed the family farm, known to be more efficient per acre, for huge agro-business which grows huge amounts of material which is of questionable nourishing quality and also extends markets globally making a dependence on international shipping and the weaknesses inherent in this. The water table is pumped below recoverable levels all over our country. This aquifer problem is coming our way soon. With modern technology, we are succeeding in over-harvesting fish world-wide. Government subsidies make it possible to consume beef products inexpensively at fast-food restaurants. This subsidy makes it affordable for many to hurt themselves with poor diet. One can go on with conspiracies of the undoing of health and life for profit.

I mentioned above work in one’s personal levels. I do not mind calling attention to the fact that the rearing of children, the unreadiness of young parents, often the unstudied adamance of grandparents are all too typified by the harshness of the playground. Children are very hard on each other. Usually, anomalies and suspected differences are hammered upon with great fervor. This is the playground of the ego, a particularly unyielding opponent. We each have one, and often enough, are one. One of the reasons I am an advocate for the initiation schema supported by The Mankind Project and similar groups is the effective bestowal of the essential toolkit for managing one’s mind and behavior. The prospect that we collectively take back our world from the systematizers and bean-counters is a delicious prospect. I am happy to imagine more and more of our children growing with a support network that promotes all the good things about human nature, and grooms an awareness of the shadows that erupt time and again. Watching shadow for an initiated person involves mindfulness and mission, not reaction and attack. This is very simply put, a choice for love over fear. In the world, this would be a choice for the power of Love v. the love of Power.

It has been my experience, and this is ratified with many colleagues in circles of transformation, that not only happiness, but performance and effectiveness is hampered by the load of guilt that is the burden we carry. My sensitivity to and ability to understand feeling has grown greatly in recent years. I find that there has been literally, a hampering and shutting down of my mental resources due to this burden. There is, observing in myself, a head-aching feeling and an angst that runs through the body like a hot wire of discontent. I find, when this schema is active, that I cannot handle complexity and generally discount my ability to understand and manage information, even for my personal good. It is not hard for me to imagine that such a syndrome can lead to falling down. I look to the disconnected and displaced with sympathy and sadness. Clearly, we too often are taught to beat ourselves up. The ghosts of pummeling and threat of fracture haunt me at these times, and sometimes I lose my inner sight for a while. I feel that this experience is not so special. It is also likely, as uncomfortable as it is, that many self-medicate and bury beneath callous the feedback from the body that I am a misfit that needs some work. Rather than fitting the world, seen as untrustworthy due its painful response to me, I deepen and delve for the Truth of my Being and nature. I find at last a Teacher within and learn to use the technologies of attention to release guilt and shame for the sake of a personal expression which serves the soul that I am.

As a misfit, I find a way. As a misfit, I find my brothers. As a misfit, I show out this way in my diligence and my life. As a misfit, I even risk the financial danger of no money or job, if I need to heal and grow rich in awareness and practice for a time. I come to fit the universe of my intentional cosmology. I reach ever for a more inclusive view, and greater altitude. Also, I call upon the four directions, the above, the below, the within, the without, and ground my vehicle to this lovely planet and its peoples crying out for love. I am not proud to be a misfit. I am glad that my heart is a loving one, and that I have work to do in its service. We often say “it is what It is,” when declaring an inability to change one thing or another. This implies fitting in to insanity, often enough. I celebrate “That Which Is,” and declare that what appears to be in our collective world is misfit to vision of human mature potential that I hold dear. If I were to work a miracle today, it would be that we see more Truly, find love and acceptance more easily, and respond more readily. I will bring my jumbo crayons, and as many of my marbles as I can find.

As a declared elder, I think of these things.

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