“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” ~ Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
Everybody plays the fool, sometimes.
Trickster. Fool. Court jester.
Sometimes life has a dark sense of humor.
Sometimes it sends us into valleys that, although lush, seem pointless in the end. We sense that we are going nowhere. Fast. Why are we wandering the countryside, feet aching, feeling like the butt end of a joke? What is it that is trying to bop us upside the head to get our attention?
Sometimes the only way to find the wise way, is to embrace our foolishness. To swallow our pride and play the fool. To be taken to task. To get shot through the heart.
“We’re all fools,” said Clemens, “all the time. It’s just we’re a different kind each day. We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.” ~ Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man
In the tarot, the fool is a card indicating possibility, openness, a new beginning unfettered by whatever has just passed. The keyword associated with it is trust. It is the card of the beggar, the vagabond, the person whose childlike wonder charms all who meet him.
The fool is the part of us that is filled with utter, bumbling hope. We fritter about, sometimes tripping over our own feet, ever convinced that it is the world that doesn’t understand or see us accurately. The fool is the unsung hero of a story that’s only partially revealed. The fool reminds us we must take risks in order to forge an unbreakable spirit.
If we are anchored in our foolish hearts, we search endlessly for clues, for every crumb left behind, for every trail of stones or broken sticks that might lead us through the dark wood and out the other side.
We recognize the value in keeping things simple.
We see we’re just a small piece of a much bigger story.
Never Get Too Big For Your Britches.
Never forget what it’s like to lose everything, to be ripped from what you know and love. Never lose sight of the possibility that you might at any moment find yourself planted someplace else — a stranger in a strange land — unable to even recognize the terrain, let alone walk back to the life you once knew.
The one constant in life is change. And change is constant now.
Building a Resolute Heart.
I sometimes wonder what the purpose of all this chaos is. I wonder if I am riding the rapids for a reason, or I am simply learning how to spiritually waterski.
I realize that the most fool moments of my life have been the richest ones. Had I not been a fool, I never would have let myself love M. Had I been able to buy a clue, I would have kicked my high school sweetheart to the curb when I was 20. Had I not had a soft spot for wounded pups, I would have dumped several other exes at the roadside long before I did.
However, the fact of the matter is, my foolish heart took risks. It took me to Europe to meet Elton John (which I did), to New York to write songs, to LA to write stories, and to Phoenix to find my calling as a writer and teacher. My capacity to be a fool led to most of the important discoveries I made about myself and my inner life.
Had I played it safe, languishing in my hometown in some dead end office job, most of the person I am would fall in the might have been column.
And that would have been a shame.
But I didn’t do that.
I took a fool leap into the world. I didn’t wait. I leapt straight off the roof of a hundred stories’ worth of aspirations and dreams. I was fool enough to believe I had wings.
And as I fell, I found out I did.