Curl up with one, very sexy dead guy.
I admit it. I'm a bit late to belly up to the Henry David Thoreau bar. Yes, of course I saw hundreds of his biting quotes throughout the years and read his name emblazoned on everything from elementary schools to road signs to Cocker Spaniel collars. But had I ever lost myself in Walden or Civil Disobedience or Life Without Principal? Did I truly understand the magnificence of his writing, his impact, or the man himself? Hell no.
They say the teacher appears when the student is ready. By the time my path had crossed old Henry, it was like I had been waiting for him my entire life. I wasn't just ready, I was starved. I lingered on and savored every word. In a blasted and unfortunate sort of way, he makes sense to me...
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
Why? Because they are selling their lives, their genius, their integrity to make a buck. Been there, done that for a decade with Big Pharma. Ten years of tortuous, soul sucking "quiet desperation".
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"
Simplicity so that we are not distracted from our highest calling--frittering our life buying, managing and paying for crap. To live life so lean you don't have to work for the man or compromise your principals to earn or keep a buck. Independence. Individualism. Integrity. To work for love and not for money.
Damn Henry, I love it when you talk to me like that. And the truth of the matter is that I need you. I need your words kicking my backside, getting me back on track, reminding me what I want my life to stand for.
Many of us fall into the camp of thinking “well I read Thoreau in college”. Really? Beyond a quick skim or the Cliff's Notes, did we really read and study Thoreau. Did we let him lap at our ears and our hearts and our credit card fingers? Because if we had, we wouldn’t be in this damn conundrum: “chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.” (Ten bucks if you can tell me what movie that quote is from?)
Ready to get reacquainted with Henry? I interviewed (and had a ball with) Thoreau guru, Professor Robert Gross. Take a listen.
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