Thursday, January 21, 2010

"The closer you get to your dream, the more your Personal Legend becomes your real reason for living."

~Paulo Coelho, from "The Alchemist"


There was a time some years ago when I thought I understood the complexity of these simple words. When I look at them today I realize I did not have the faintest idea what they truly meant in relation to the struggle an artist must undergo as they move up the mountain towards the mystical realm of success. In this life, we all struggle, some greater than others and some consistently greater than all. I do feel however those who possess the artist's soul suffer far more than the common man or woman, if not for anything else, but the pressure and the burden of responsibility of their gifts. Artists envision things most people will never see and they understand things most people will never comprehend. They hear the faintest whispers of the world around them and then, they hear the other whispers, those which torment their soul at night. They long for attention for the sake of thirsting egos, as criticism is the thorn in their side and compliments and praise are their Sirens. And, when they find themselves swarmed within the world which they fashioned, they scurry, racing away without warning to crevices and cracks in dark places, to find sanctity from the reality of the life they have created. It is a pattern that sparks arousal, mystique and disgust from those burdened to partake alongside them in their euphoria and their suffering.

There is a certain level of responsibility due those who are gifted with the artist's soul and because of that, a greater challenge and walk in the journey and quests of our life. But, I do see today that journey has a purpose. I understand today that my path, unworn and unknown by those around me—those who would try so desperately to love me—does have reason and purpose within it. Like Robert Frost, I have bragged of the "road less traveled" when in actuality, it was a psychological means to mask my commonality from those who expected much more from me, as though I did not have the right to be ordinary or complacent. I can only sum up this unbeaten path, this long and winding road as this: I struggle and have struggled as a person, for the sake of my art, so that my art would not destroy me. For to be elevated to high regard, with such talents as have been given to me, without however obtaining any real experience of life--from both the clean waters and the most murky creeks--would have destroyed me. My life has taken a course that I did not want, and I have ventured and endured things I did not want to understand, but I realize now, it was for the sake of my art, so that I could become a beacon of light and true representative of the soul of humanity--not simply for myself, but for those who would dare to pursue their dreams after me. I suffer and have suffered for each of you, so that I could offer substance and value and reason to your journey on the quest to find your place in relation to your dreams. It seems everyone loves the ocean and yet we don't all have the courage to jump in the deep waters and just when one of us does, the world will not lend a hand, but rather wait and watch, to see if you will drown. The world watches your struggle to survive, not in hopes of your demise, but in hope that you might show them the way to the wondrous islands on the other side of those dark and dangerous waters.

When I look back at my life, my early youth and my aspirations I never imagined I would end up where I am today--not physically or financially--but spiritually, emotionally and of course, in direct correlation with who I have become as an artist and contributor to the lives of others. I had no idea I would become this man but looking back, today, I better understand the reasons and alterations of my life's course, from things I wanted to do with my life to things life has determined I will do instead. I once feared the duality of virtue that dominated my life, tearing me from one side and ripping me away from the other but today I embrace it, welcome it, knowing full well not every writer has the capacity to identify with people on both sides of the pendulum of existence. Today I understand not every writer would dare venture into the darkness to better appreciate the light, nor appreciate the light for sake of the darkness.

I am liberated today by the falling of the shroud from my eyes, from the path that seemed to wind ever onward without end in sight and today, instead of fearing it, or like so many nights spent hoping I could perhaps end my own life in spite of it, I welcome the journey and I appreciate the role I am to play for the sake of others. I am liberated to know I have the power to forgive myself of my past, releasing myself from the burdens I thought were placed in my life by others. I am liberated as an artist by the understanding that my past is my past—a mere footprint on a path so few will take—and my demons are no longer the rulers of my mind, but ephemeral reminders of where I have been and how far I have traveled.

It is true, as Paulo Coelho says, "the closer you get to your dream, the more your Personal Legend becomes your real reason for living." The further I sway from the road I think I am supposed to be on, the more I understand the complexity of preparation in each step of this present course--the road that bears greater burden, this path of struggle—and what role the struggle signifies for my future. The higher you climb on the mountain, the lonelier the road. The higher I climb, the less people I will see, and of those few, the greater few to mentor me. As I press onward, I identify with less on an individual basis, but identify with many as I serve the masses. And the further I walk this road less traveled, the more I lose along the way, and yet still, the greater my gain for it seems the closer I get to becoming nothing more than the dream, the closer I get to becoming all I was born to be--all that was given to me at birth--and all I shall be forever.

Today, I am the dream and the dream has become me.   

~Bobby Ozuna |  Jan 21, 2010

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