Vote Blue 2020

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

What I Seem to Be

What if Ahab would have given up on the whale? For one thing, it would have made for a shorter book. I'm not Ahab, but sometimes I see myself reflected in that character. My job is primarily chasing after deals. Much of my life I have been chasing after larger and larger deals. Kind of like chasing after shadows or dreams. After awhile it's just the chasing I remember. I've landed a few, but usually by the time you've brought the sucker into shore, it kind of resembles Hemingway's big fish in the Old Man and the Sea - all skeleton bones.

So, I saw a movie about Leonard Cohen, and the striking thing about him (besides his incredible catalog of songs and poetry), is his Buddhism, his Zen monk demeanor. There is a kind of sad fatalism in his eye, but at the same time a real joy at the absurdity of a life of struggle. Of course, all life is struggle. Is it possible to live fully without the struggle? Is it just another whale to chase? Another shadow, another dream?

And if you give up the struggle, if you let go, if you stop the needing, wanting, grasping, what then? So, the last few days I suffered a major defeat at my job. I have been driving hard on an opportunity and now, my enemies have taken the reins, they have undercut me, they have checkmated me. At first I raged. I tossed and turned, I fired off reasoned arguments, trying to retake the flag. All to naught. So, now I must resign myself to living without, to giving up, to letting go. I must find the Zen way...

It's difficult, it plays into my weakness, my fear of failure. Would Ahab have won if he had given up the chase? It seems so, his quest for the whale led to his doom. If he would have taken up a prayer mat, brewed some herbal tea and meditated on the great cloud of unknowing would he have been a winner? Are the only winners those who give up the game? I want off this wheel, but I fear it's built into my genetic code. How not to be what I seem to be?

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