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Existential DogAn interesting synchronicity happened this week that has me thinking about Existential angst and personal freedom as it applies to the need to be special. The fact that this happened a few days before Valentine’s Day adds to the meaningfulness of the coincidence.

This past Tuesday, the first thing I saw on my FB news feed was this “Good Dog” comic strip that my friend Dan had posted (link to strip below).

The VERY next thing on my news feed was my friend Violet’s post having to do with the realization that free will is an illusion and that what happens in our lives is not completely of our own making due to many factors—within, as well as without—that affect our life circumstances. So, while we’re not ‘special’ because of ‘who’ and ‘what’ we are per se, the important thing, in most people’s minds is that we are ‘special” in the eyes of those that love us…(loosely paraphrased)

“Wow!” I thought to myself, “Could these words go any better with the comic strip posted above them?!” I laughed out loud…

I was planning to copy both posts and enter a record of this meaningful coincidence in my synchronicity journal, but Violet’s post disappeared in the news feed as I was reading it! I wanted to quote it directly, so I went to her FB page, but couldn’t find it. I figured that it must have been an older post that someone had commented on. I searched her page. No luck. This was very FRUSTRATING! Then it dawned on me that the incident of losing this post I wanted to copy so badly was meaningful in itself as an illustration of our powerlessness in the face of certain outside influences, technology in my case. I’m laughing, again, as I write this.

I wrote to Violet about not being able to find the post. Here is an excerpt of her answer:

“Actually you can not find it because I took it down. Sorry about that, I wish I could remember what I wrote! Basically I was just saying that the concept of free will […] is a concept made up, because it alleviates our existential fear of not being special, and of death. But we are special to those who love us, and that is enough…”

Still, while I regret not copying the original quote right away since it was so perfectly worded, it was fun to see life mirroring my thoughts, as it so often does through events of meaningful coincidence.

Violet is a funny, smart, savvy and adorable young woman that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know on FB. I agree with her that as children we depend on the love and nurturance of at least one person who truly loves and accepts us as we are, to whom we are special, if you will—be it a parent, parent surrogate, teacher, or friend—and that this is necessary to developing healthy self-esteem. But, at some point as we mature, our dependence becomes secondary to our responsibility to stand firm in what we believe, even if that means we don’t look so ‘special’ in the eyes of others. That is a hard thing to do, I know from experience. But, we learn over time that it’s only through such self-love that we are truly able to appreciate and love others.

I am reminded of a powerful poem by author/poet/activist Alice Walker:

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

I leave you with the words to this poem, not as an example of how we should shun the love and respect of others in our lives but, rather, how we can freely love what and whom we truly love, including ourselves, fiercely and with inner conviction…‘Good dog’ be damned!


Post Script: Ha! As ‘luck’ would have it, the first thing I saw in my news feed when I went to FB to share this blog post was a quote by poet and mystic John O’Donohue that my dear friend Lynn had posted there (she had no idea what I was writing here):

It is an immense privilege and miracle to be here.
We are dangerously and wildly free. ~ John O’Donohue

And so continues, as well it should, the age-old philosophical debate…

Link to comic strip: http://threepanelsoul.com/comics/2014-08-19-336.png