On my way home not long ago, I saw a man standing outside a donut shop, with a boombox on a newspaper vending machine. He had a sock on his hand and was making the sock puppet's shadow dance against the wall. I watched this little dance happen, as I waited for the traffic light to change, and I realized I was not looking at the guy or the sock puppet. I was looking at the sock puppet's shadow dancing. I was looking at the shadow of the thing, not the thing.
Earlier that day, I had been visiting an ailing friend. We'd been fast friends for many years, until time and money and jobs and people melted the sharp details of our friendship. It became easier to let longer periods of time go by without hanging out together, and soon we were not creating any new memories. When we did see each other, we could still make each other laugh, we could still encourage each other in that comfortably pushy way that good friends have. We would relive our history and catch up quickly on the basics of whatever was new in our separate lives. But there was nothing new happening in our relationship. We were looking at the shadow of our friendship.
That friend recently passed away, so we can no longer meet for a soy latte, chat about old times, and catch up. Now I only see her in my own moments that remind me of her. When I'm singing, because we met on a musical gig; when I'm shopping; when I remember her words of encouragement and advice. I'm living with the shadow of her presence in my life.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on shadows. Shadows are beautiful. They kind of prove the existence of the substance. The shadows give you part of the story - they describe the thing, its shape, its relation to the light, and the light itself. Of course, you can't interact with a shadow in the same way you do with the thing casting the shadow. And maybe that's something to think about. Daydream about the good stuff you want in your life and the world, and then act upon that. What's behind your dreams and wishes? Look for the light source, and create the substance that casts that shadow.
Purpose /pur-puh s/ noun 1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc. 2. an intended or desired result; aim; goal. 3. determination; resoluteness. 4. the subject in hand; the point at issue. 5. practical result, affect, or advantage. (Thank you, Dictionary.com!)
For further research in your own lab: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intention
From the time we are very young, we are encouraged to just be ourselves. This message is everywhere in society - music, poetry, business, sports, spirituality. And it's an ancient message. We have never stopped repeating this mantra to ourselves.
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Ralph Waldo Emerson (writer, poet)
"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself." Jim Morrison (musician)
"It's just better to be yourself than to try to be some version of what you think the other person wants." Matt Damon (actor)
"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it." Bruce Lee (martial artist, actor)
"The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself." Lao Tzu (philosopher, poet)
"I think you have to be what you are. Don't try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times." John Wooden (basketball coach)
"But to me, to be original is to be yourself." Marc Newson (industrial designer)
I believe all of this. For me, there is no clearer message that endorses uniqueness than...the cowlick.
If you scan the internet for cowlick management advice, you will find a lot of "blow dry it right out of the shower," "use a styling product with maximum hold," and even a smattering of "get electrolysis to remove it." While some people may see the cowlick as a challenge to overcome, I prefer to look at it as nature's way of encouraging us to go with the flow. Find a style that works with the cowlick, instead of attempting to conquer it. Harness the energy of the cowlick! Allow the cowlick to suggest a hairstyle, rather than turning to the common style outlets of celebrity magazines and television.
Obviously, there are times when you should test your stamina, your commitment, and your passion to your goal, by overcoming a cowlick. I mean, a challenge. But, there's no foolproof way to tell when you should tame the cowlick or let it have its way. I love this: you just have to consider your options, make a decision, and then live with your decision. It's so basic! It's the responsibility and freedom we all crave from the time we're old enough to realize that some people get to drive a car. You won't be able to blame anyone or anything for the outcome of your decision; and when it goes well, the credit goes to you. You hold the reins, you call the shots, you choose the hairstyle. Talk about being yourself!
So, the next time you find yourself dealing with the whorl of unruly hair you have been blessed/cursed with, bow to that tiny reminder of how you get to be yourself.