Ralph Waldo Emerson (RWE) was a lecturer, poet, essayist in the mid-19th century. A resident of New England, his discussions and topics were often about the inherent goodness of people. We see in our society today the opposite with thinking that when someone makes some mistakes, that they are surely a bad person. If that were the case, most of us would have no second chances.
Emerson wrote a book in 1841 called, “Essays, First Series.” In his closing paragraph of “Circles”, he reminds us of this…“One thing that we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves…to do SOMETHING without knowing HOW or WHY…in short, to DRAW A NEW CIRCLE. He thought that people need to trust their inner self to light the “flames and generosities of the heart.”
Living in the 19th century may have influenced him to truly believe that most people want to “forget ourselves” but it is hardly true in our 21st century. Every add on TV or in print is filling the mind with how to do more for ourselves. We can all have the new car, the latest fashions, the biggest house, the best of medical care…and on and on. Forgetting ourselves in today’s world would take a great effort.
Generosity might be another thing because we are, for the most part, a generous people. We have food drives so those who can’t afford the high prices can have something to eat…especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Perhaps the holidays are when we might begin to think a little less of ourselves and more of those around us. Nevertheless, Emerson’s points are good and we should give them some thoughts.
What if we just walked out from the ordinary and made a “new circle.” Do you have so-called friends who never call you, but you call them? Maybe it’s time to move your circle outward to others who will appreciate your call or make a new circle completely. You could name other things that are disappointing when we hinge our lives on the actions of others.
How wide is your circle?
Push out…and see if there are new things in the horizon that will bring you or others some real joy. To sound like I’m harping…and I am…stop filling your circle with the obscene, bad news that is given entrance into your home and mind…that you would not welcome through your front door.
Emerson had more to say: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” RWE
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” RWE
Find out what you want your true self to be and be it! It’s your life…so live it your way.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” RWE
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” RWE
Make your circle wide enough to include others and narrow enough to enjoy yourself. It is up to you. Trust yourself and God’s leading in your life.
Turn up your sound: Video with words by Ralph Waldo Emerson “TRUST THYSELF”