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Drinking In Emerson

The last two years have been full of taking Emerson breaks.  Not coffee or tea breaks, well maybe those to, but taking time by myself to sit quietly and ingest Ralph Waldo Emerson. My favorite is of his essays is Self Reliance.  Many years ago, maybe ten, I took a trip to Concord Massachusetts and toured Emerson’s home where I touched his black robe when no one was looking.  I am not sure what I expected to happen, it wasn’t like Jesus touching the hem of the woman’s garment, but I touched it none-the-less and for a moment breathed deeply.  In my imagination I was indulging in an energy transfusion.

Emerson's Home in Concord

I went on to take a “Transcendentalist Tour” and was the only one who showed up, which meant I had a history professor turned tour guide all to myself.  Did you know the Transcendentalists believe God is an inner experience and connected with through intuition?  This, now, commonly held belief was revolutionary at the time. Concord was a hotbed of spiritually inclined thinkers.  I walked by the homes of the Alcotts (the daughter being Louisa May), saw Walden Pond where Thoreau stayed and wrote his big contemplative piece.  Turns out the home was owned by the Emerson’s. I learned Concord Massachusetts leaves the legacy of the most published authors in the United States, awesome.

I find myself now sitting and savoring one sentence at a time of Emerson’s work.  Below are some nuggets from Self-Reliance:

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.

 No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it.

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitate is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.


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