This I Believe
From my breakfast table in Falmouth, Cleveland Ledge lighthouse in Buzzard’s Bay is framed by our dining room window. The lighthouse is symbolic. It reminds me of my education and a personal philosophy. The lighthouse reinforces convictions forged over a half century ago when I explored Virginia Woolf’s life and literature for my college thesis. This research and her writing provided me with a framework for the challenges to be faced on my life’s journey.
Woolf wrote To The Lighthouse in 1927. A family has gathered for a holiday at their cottage on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides, anticipating an expedition to the local lighthouse. Mrs. Ramsey is the people centered, love dispersing integrator. Mr. Ramsey represents the professor, the writer, one who investigates “the nature of reality.” The group is intent on a sail to the lighthouse – symbolic of quest, exploration of the unknown.
She believed there are four dimension in life – the I; the not I; the Inner and the Outer. Two behavioral characteristics apply – love and awareness. Mrs. Ramsey excelled at providing love to her husband, her children, her guests. On the other hand, Mr. Ramsey was oblivious to that aspect of human relations. He embodied the scientific method, was filled with curiosity, always searching for truth and meaning at some cost to family relationships. Another critical attribute is humility, tolerance of the “not I”, respect for the unknowable.
A final personal belief derives from Virginia Woolf’s life and writing, the importance of the moment. Always relish and preserve the moment! Cherish an experience, see the wonder in nature, enjoy and prolong togetherness with other souls. Love, awareness and humility remain my lodestars. Savor every moment.
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