I opened my iBook notification to learn that Alec Baldwin has written a book about his life. It is called Nevertheless. Alec Baldwin, remember him? He was the subject of my March 31, 2017 post. I wonder if he wrote the book himself. I wonder if he has a scrap of insight into his behavior. I rather doubt it. Perhaps, I can hire a reader to read it for me and let me know.
Sitting on the bookshelves in the hallway of this Panama Hotel was a novel written by Carl R. Rogers, called On Becoming A Person. Now, the book is in my room and I am reading it. It will be more important than Nevertheless, in my life anyway. I had heard of On Becoming A Person sometime in the distant past. It was published in 1961, so ‘distant past’ is a distinct possibility. Carl R. Rogers was a psychotherapist. I am assuming past tense because his first publication was in 1930. There was one chapter that caught my eye, and finding it was serendipity, here in the hallway of the Panama Hotel.
The chapter that caught my attention was Chapter 9: A Therapist’s View of The Good Life: The Fully Functioning Person. It’s a concept that I have been wrestling with-what it means to be a fully functioning person. His words are profound and they meet with my immediate concurrence. “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” He goes on to say that, “The good life, from the point of view of my experience, is the process of movement in a direction which the human organism selects when it is inwardly free to move in any direction, and the general qualities of this selected direction appear to have a certain universality.”
He sums up the characteristics of the process. The first is an increasing openness to experience. That borders on eerie, because on March 1, 2017 at a Japanese restaurant in London, a woman at an adjoining table said my “openness was the secret of my ‘appeal’”. That struck me at the time. By the way, there were witnesses to this interchange. Rogers says that openness is the polar opposite to defensiveness. Someone recently tried to give me advice, and when I questioned the advice he became extremely defensive. He knew nothing of the situation, of the person involved. Nothing. A present onlooker confirmed my viewpoint. When told, he just became defensive and spoke about good advice being ignored. Huh? It was not good advice. The individual says that Carl R. Rogers is more open to feelings of fear and discouragement within himself, but also more open to feelings of courage and tenderness and awe. Now that is brilliant.
The second characteristic of the process is the tendency to live life fully in the moment. I have been able to do this because of the near death experience from the motorcycle accident. (See the About Me section of this blog). There needs to be fluidity, which is the antithesis of rigidity.
Then what happens is that people must begin to trust themselves. They do not have to act in a prescribed fashion, but can try different responses to different situations. This makes sense to me. If a person is living the ‘good life’, he/she will experience a freedom of choice.
The final concept in the chapter that rang true to me is that a person involved in the directional process is a creative person. I want to be, and think I am, a creative person. I retired from the practice of law because I wanted to exercise my creative abilities. Eureka!
I do laugh at the end of the chapter when he says that the process of the good life is not for the faint-hearted. Indeed it is not.
This blog, in an interesting way, has led to me being more fully functioning. But, it has taken over my life and caused many hassles behind the scenes. I need some serenity. I am here in Marin County to take care of myself: my medical needs, my dental needs, my affiliation needs. But, to make all of that viable, I need a break from this self-imposed daily blogging. As cousin Gail says: “No one is going to get after you for not blogging daily – take a break & put your mind on more useful & enjoyable things.” She is right. Carl R. Rogers is right. See you in about a week- probably, perhaps.