June 27, 2012

Journeying to Be Yourself: Wisdom from Herman Hesse & Ray Bradbury. ~ Tara Rose Crist

By: Moyan Brenn

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me.” ~ Herman Hesse

We are, as humans, indelibly linked to each other.

We are linked in our blood, linked in our searching—in our searching for love, for purpose.

Yet, there is no other human like you.

Your DNA, it is woven into the fabric of humanity, yet it is like no other.

Your spirit, it is unique, living through this skin that is yours alone.

And, yes, I feel, I know, there is purpose there.

There is something that is only you, that is only me, something divine, and it gives rise to more personal inquiries of “Why am I here?”

Many of us are fortunate enough to read this site; we are fortunate enough to not be stuck in survival mode (I mean real survival mode where you have no clean water, no real living situation).

Many of us are seeking, digging, rooting for our purpose; for the gifts we have to birth into the world.

Occasionally, we feel frustration—sometimes we feel we are coming up empty-handed.

Only we—ourselves—can discern what is true for us.

Only we can truly know if we are living honestly, living our particular destiny.

I alone can listen to those whispers of my blood. I alone can know what resonates deep within me.

It is solely my choice whether I wish to abide by these inner truths.

I will quote Hesse yet again:

“We all share the same origin, our mothers; all of us come in at the same door. But each of us—experiments of the depths—strives towards his own destiny. We can understand one another, but each of us is able to interpret himself to himself alone.”

As many are very aware, the author Ray Bradbury passed away this month.

While he was famous for his numerous books, there is a piece of his writing—a poem, part ode to the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, part ode to the deeper divine potential of the human being—that crawled under my skin when I first read it in 2010.

There, it lives and breathes, changing me subtly, coaxing me to remember my own truth.

In reading it, it never ceases to inspire me to remember my divine self—my unique destiny.

It calls me to remember the part of me that knows why I’m here even when my conscious self feels it is fumbling around on the surface of life without a map.

May it inspire you, too.

What I Do Is Me—
For That I Came

By Ray Bradbury, for Gerard Manley Hopkins

What I do is me—for that I came.

What I do is me!

For that I came into the world!

So said Gerard:

So said that gentle Manley Hopkins.

In his poetry and prose he saw the Fates that chose

Him in genetics, then set him free to find his way

Among the sly electric printings in his blood.

God thumbprints thee! he said.

Within your hour of birth

He touches hand to brow, He whorls and softly stamps

The ridges and the symbols of His soul above your eyes!

But in that selfsame hour, full born and shouting

Shocked pronouncements of one’s birth,

In mirrored gaze of midwife, mother, doctor

See that Thumbprint fade and fall away in flesh

So, lost, erased, you seek a lifetime’s days for it

And dig deep to find the sweet instructions there

Put by when God first circuited and printed thee to life:

“Go hence! do this! do that! do yet another thing!

This self is yours. Be it!

And what is that?! you cry at hearthing breast,

Is there no rest? No, only journeying to be yourself.

And even as the birthmark vanishes, in seashell ear

Now fading to a sigh, His last words send you into the world:

“Not mother, father, grandfather are you.

Be not another. Be the self I signed you in your blood.

I swarm your flesh with you. Seek that.

And, finding, be what no one else can be.

I leave you gifts of Fate most secret; find no other’s Fate,

For if you do, no grave is deep enough for your despair

No country far enough to hide your loss.

I circumnavigate each cell in you

Your merest molecule is right and true.

Look there for destinies indelible and fine

And rare.

Ten thousand futures share your blood each instant;

Each drop of blood a cloned electric twin of you.

In merest wound on hand read replicas of what I planned and knew

Before your birth, then hid it in your heart.

No part of you that does not snug and hold and hide

The self that you will be if faith abide.

What you do is thee. For that I gave you birth.

Be that. So be the only you that’s truly you on Earth.

Dear Hopkins. Gentle Manley. Rare Gerard. Fine Name.

What we do is us. Because of you. For that we came.

Live what sings in your blood.

It is your song alone, and it is waiting to be shared.

It is one small flash in this great universe, so make it glorious.


Tara Rose Crist is a music junkie, yoga junkie, equestrian, lover of the outdoors and deep ecology, bees and nurturing things (like plants and humans). Her academic background is in Literature and Creative Writing, and these days the written word serves purely as a vehicle for expression and tool for self-exploration. It also seems like a good way to reach other people’s hearts, and she’s pretty sure that reaching other people’s hearts is a worthwhile undertaking!


Editor:  April Dawn Ricchuito

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