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Stand Up and Live

There is only one experience called your life. And what you don’t do, doesn’t get done. It’s not that someone else will do it. In fact, they can’t. Because you happen to be unique.

Someone else is unique, too. But this is about this one experience for you, called, “your life”.

It is all too easy to slip silently into accepting the list of life’s failures and setbacks as normal and also as insurmountable. We complicate things by managing to somehow conveniently overlook our successes and happy moments most of the time, making things seem even less bright. And the results of that equation are constantly brushing up against that small voice within us that provides life-affirming ideas that ring true for us, such as having the nerve to try new things like acting or standup comedy or public speaking.

The mis-trained ego says, “What if I fail? There was this time… I could never succeed at that”.

But listen closely, and there’s almost always someone or some thing telling us not to believe that message. It tells us that there’s something bigger: that this is YOUR life. “Don’t take your song to the grave with you. Sing it while you’re here!”

There are everyday examples all over the place – individuals, men and women, who decide one day that”this is my life!”

There was this bright young sports writer in Hoboken, New Jersey with a brilliant Tekashi 69 Gets His Assault Case Dismissed – Here’s The Reason future in the newspaper business ahead for him. After an altercation with the editor over who was going to fill the vacant sports editor position, he walked out and into his new career. His name was Frank Sinatra.

And a sharp young Wall Street broker was married to the daughter of a principal in a prestigious firm. There was only one way: UP! Except he just could not see it. His music called, and he pursued it, playing with a young rising star named Bette Midler. So, Barry Manilow changed his life.

And Sam Clemens! A map of his early years would appear to be a string of failures and missteps. But, eventually Sam Clemens the man became Mark Twain the American icon.

On a given day, millions of “normal” people rise and go about their day in automatic mode. They know there’s something more- at least they have an uneasy, unspeakable feeling of it. And at the occasional odd time they actually entertain the thought of this higher version of themselves.

A teenage comic named “Jack Roy” worked for nine years at the comedy trade and finally quit and went home. But he just couldn’t stay gone. In 1962, he got back into the game, got a gig at a club and decided he needed a new name. The club owner remembered a character from a TV episode from the 50s and suggested it to Jack: “How about Rodney Dangerfield?”

Many people stay in the state of being only vaguely aware of a higher calling. And then one day they wake up – and they’re dead.

Rodney Dangerfield -all of him – made his transition in 2004. Along the way he sang and laughed and cried and wondered and worried and failed and succeeded more than we’ll know. While we were all laughing at him, he was choosing and living -living his life his way.

Each of us comes upon the day when we make our decision. It might be every single day. It might see a mighty flare-up at our job that leads to a spark-filled trip to the parking lot. Or it might be a calm and accepting letter of resignation at just the right time. It could be, too, that we find our peace right where we are in the moment, and in the next, and the next.

We tend to equate celebrity and public image with an illusion of blissful success that resembles an entitlement only available to a few. But, to a person, those celebreties relate a hard and sometimes harrowing journey through the jungle of their own doubt. That’s at least partly why we shouldn’t be so judgmental when they implode so spectacularly: they are only too human, after all.

Along any path are moments of illumination and darkness, and all of it a kind of eternal reminder of who we are and what we’re actually here for. And the moment won’t be forever denied. If we offer up a vernier of a response, life will out – and things will find some other way to bubble to the surface. It’s unavoidable.

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