On Becoming Eccentric

Posted by on 07.04.07 | 1 Comment
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“Well, so, when I was a kid, my mother used to quote somebody to me that said, ‘I am human, therefore nothing is foreign to me.’ And then she’d say stuff like, ‘Beth, your job is to become ever-more eccentric. That’s your only work in life.’ Didn’t get it then. Not sure I get it now. But I am becoming more eccentric, so maybe someday I’ll have the great good fortune to understand what she was talking about. ” – Beth Patterson

This is a quote from something I wrote awhile back. Been thinking about ‘what does ‘being eccentric’ have to do with a life well-lived’?

What I understand at this snapshot of a moment-in-time is this:

  • being eccentric allows for all manner of discrepancies, discouragements, disillusionments with myself–it allows me to see personal failings on a larger scale, and thus not personalize them, but rather to relish them as part my humanity
  • it allows me to make mistakes with flair if not grace (‘failing fast’ so that I know what doesn’t work)
  • it takes the sting out of not meeting others’ expectations–or them meeting mine
  • it’s just plain fun (at least some of the time). It’s like living inside a really interesting painting or work of art. It’s dynamic and fluid and whimsical and truthful.

What it ain’t:

  • not for the faint of heart–if my goal in life is to be understood, appreciated or admired, then becoming ever more human is probably not the path for me…
  • it’s not about self-centeredness–it’s really about dancing with my humanity, so that I can dance with all of humanity
  • madness, although sometimes there’s a touch of that in there, somewhere…but that goes back to the original premise…we’ve all got a touch of madness in the woodpile somewhere!

I attended a retreat a few years ago where the facilitator said about someone, ‘she has the courage of her contradictions’. The phrase captured me, and I’ve been praying and living into having that kind of courage every since.

So, bon voyage on the Eccentricity Tour…

What do you see as eccentric in yourself? Are you trying to tame it, eradicate it, pretend it really is someone else’s? What kind of contradictions do you notice and allow in yourself? Which ones do you relish? Love to hear from youse!

Beth, VTH Host

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