When We Are Legend | 2.12.23
The Sunday Edition
A trend has emerged on this Signal Fire, and it’s one that I find pleasantly amusing, and also highly productive. The trend is this: I write something, share it with you beautiful souls, and then, sometimes, some beautiful times, it strikes a chord and it resonates and it forces your fingers to keyboards (be they physical or digital on your little screen devices of doom) to reach out and write me and explain the chord it struck and why it struck it and eventually the song that played when said chord was done vibrating.
Last week, my Signal Fire: The Sunday Edition did precisely that, and I ended up hearing from you once again, some public, some private, and it made me want to expound on some of the questions/feedback I received from you, and write more about it. Call this a continuation, call it a sequel, call it my silly brain continuing down the silly path it created for itself. Whatever. But let’s go.
Between the writing of last weekend’s Signal Fire and the reading of all your comments, I re-watched a classic movie whilst working out, “Legends of the Fall” and coincidentally the quote that opens the film happened to correspond with both the original post, and my answer to the most abundantly asked question I received from most of you. The question being:
How do I become more self-actualized, more clear, more honest, more SUPERHIGHDEFINITIONCRYSTALCLEAR ™ ?
Glad you asked, and I’ll let ol’ One Stab, star of the aforementioned film with Brad Pitt and the kid from E.T. do the answering:
Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness. And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy… or they become legend.
— Jim Harrison (I need to confirm he actually wrote this in the novella, or if it was just One Stab’s character saying it in the film script…anyone?)
Funny that Jim used the term clearness in the novella, as it really does line up with my weird dirty mirror metaphor from last Sunday. I wasn’t aiming at “beautiful language” when I wrote it, so give me a little break, yeah? It’s funny because this is my answer to all of you who so kindly took the time to write me, to ask me for directions down this path to 8k resolution glimpses at ourself. One Stab answered it, you just gotta listen.
This is why I think his quote is so brilliant. He didn’t say “Some people HAVE an inner voice,” he said “some people hear” it. We all have it, it’s whispering to us at all times, it’s leading us to where we’re supposed to be lead, but so often, we just don’t listen. We just don’t hear.
Often, even more depressingly, we do listen, we do hear, but we commit what I believe is the biggest sin of all sins, we refuse to live by what we hear. We suppress it, we hide it from ourselves, we dirty our own mirrors in order to live in that soft-haze of denial and ‘just getting by.’ I have spoken at long length about the tragedy of settling for less than what lights our souls on fire, of pretending that that less is enough, and this, right here, is what I am speaking of.
While I won’t lie, often I feel like I’m erring on the crazy part of One Stab’s speech, the razor thin line between sane and mad, I would still choose that path than any other, I would rather risk the insanity for the legendary, and I do not mean legendary in some grandiose sense, some epic form of fame and eternal glory, I mean it in the eternal happiness way. I do not believe we’re capable of true happiness if we do not live by what we hear in the deepest, quietest part of our soul.
It’s whispering to us, always it’s whispering to us, and it’s up to us to quiet the noise, lean in, and listen. More than listen, to hear, and to take the steps to live by what we are hearing. I am not going to lie and tell you it’s easy, I’m not going to tell you it won’t be absolutely terrifying, and if you’ve seen Tristan’s story in Legends of the Fall, you’ll understand that there are moments on paths like these that are all of those things and more, but I will tell you it’s worth it.
I do not believe any of us are destined for a life of middling mediocrity. I believe even in the most mundane of existences, there are opportunities for legendary-ness. I know that’s not a word. I believe our inner voices whisper, they speak in library voice, they shout a little, and sometimes, they scream. Is there a better time than now to stop silencing them with a shush and afford them more than ears deaf to truth? Is there a better reason than our own joy to do so?
No, I do not believe there is. You asked me, in earnestness and vulnerability, how you can see your true self in a clearer mirror, how you can lose the haze and fuzz and dirt that has covered it for so long, and this is all I know to say. No one else can tell you who to be, no one else can tell you how to be it, for you and you alone already know. It’s the voice inside that’s been there since before we were born, the voice that serves as narrator and soundtrack to our souls, the voice that’s been saying the same things over and over again, over the roar of our own disbelief and inaction.
Some people do hear their own inner voice with great clearness, some people say they do not, but it’s only because they aren’t listening, and if they are, they sure as hell aren’t living by what they hear.
Quiet the noise, listen for your own inner voice, and please, I beg of you, live by it. Fear not the craziness, fear not the fall onto the scary side of that thin line, for I will see you on the other side of it, there, where one day we will both be legend.
Listen to the voice
and one day I’ll meet you there,
when we are legend.