Taking Back My Potential, Part I

This is Part 1 of my 3-part series on building my own religion.  Please check back in 2 weeks for Part II.  Thank you.


 A Douche Bag Looks At 50

I don’t like myself too much these days.  I dislike many of my behaviors, a lot of my choices, a great deal of my history, too many of my thoughts, and most of my probabilities – but I own it.  On reflection it seems I have wasted most of my upside, and my upside was what I always liked best about me.  Aside from being a one-man wrecking crew of female souls, apparently I’m also a wrecking crew of my own potential – I now see that I have not fulfilled it.  I know it’s not too late to fix that, but uhm… I have serious doubts.

I live alone once again, and in a peaceful place.  Away from town and with a view to die for, I’m surrounded by fruit trees, coyotes, possums, raccoons, and even some friendly rats.  I don’t care for the scorpions.  The aesthetic is grounding, if not spiritual.  I’m in a good place to heal from my many external and self-inflicted wounds through this last decade, and to do some growing.  Perhaps I will even begin to fulfill some of that untapped potential – we shall see.  The ideal of personal growth is like witchcraft in the hands of Congress.

The Structure Of Change

If there is to be personal growth in this next phase of my life it will need to be rooted in structure; habit, observance, reflection, scrutiny, and discipline.  Shit, sounds Jewish – but I guess that makes sense for me.  Really it just sounds dogmatic, and I’m good with that.  Whether we like it or not, dogma is the dark matter of culture – it’s what simultaneously binds us, repels us, and keeps social chaos minimal in favor of the much preferred, order.  Dogma is a necessary evil.


My dictionary offers me 24 definitions for the word sin.  I need only one, mine:

If I believe not doing something is consistent with my own morality, and I choose to do it anyway, it’s a sin. 

If I believe doing something is consistent with my own morality and I choose not to do it, it’s a sin.

“My own morality”, in this instance, is the sum of gut, heart, instinct, and intuition.  Morality, to me, is just that feeling.  That definition of sin is the foundation I intend to use to build my religion of 1.  Yes, I believe building my own private religion might be the only way for me to ever come correct and fulfill my potential.  So let the project begin…

Morality, And The Religions Of Me

From a fairly early age I have felt that life itself was simply a test on adhering to a personal morality.  Like most tests through most of my life, I have been content with just getting a “D” on this one.  Age though, and a trail of broken hearts, broken promises, and potential left unfulfilled has made getting a better grade seem more critical.  Suddenly, I don’t want to fail this test.  Though it’s too late for a perfect score, I still have a chance at an “A” since I know it will be graded on a curve, and when I look around me…

For most of my life my primary religion has really been exercise; the observant practice of movement, related sacrament, and the belief that a fitness lifestyle would pave my way to better things.  I have mastered that religion and it has served me as well as I have served it, though it has not quite made me whole nor holy.

Music has also been a religion.  I have invested a great deal of time in listening to, dissecting, and applying mindful lyrics through the years.  Not all music I have listened to falls into this category, but the land of the singer/songwriter, in the genre of Americana music, is a great place to pitch a tent and hear a sermon.  It has certainly made a difference for me.

Love has also been a religion to me, though I have not served love nearly as well as I have served exercise and music, and that says a lot about me.  I have practiced love, been aided by it, and had belief in it through the years.  Love means never turning your back though, and I have been on both sides of the back-turning thing – it’s a place I never want to be or to put anyone again.

The other religion in my life has been creativity; mostly through writing, but also in my gym.  Creating has a transcendent quality for me – it offers me a state of timelessness.  Whether I’m creating on my own flesh with calf raises and triceps extensions, or from my fingertips with thoughts forged into words, creativity is where time stands still for me, and has offered much healing.

To say that any of the above have truly been religions to me might seem a bit of a stretch – but they have been.  When I lift, when I listen, I love, and when I create I feel closest to God.  I have believed in exercise, music, love and creativity because I have been touched by them first hand.  Faith notwithstanding, I might not require evidence, but an occasional pat on the back from my creator would have been nice.  Be well.  rc

Please check back in two weeks for Part II of my 3-part series on building my own religion.  Oh, and there is this from The Rainmakers, caught during a sound-check in Norway earlier this year.  A great lyric, enjoy…


17 responses

  1. Pingback: Twitted by bigtymer32

  2. Love it, especially the line “Though it’s too late for a perfect score, I still have a chance at an “A” since I know it will be graded on a curve, and when I look around me…” Don’t fret about a perfect score, those were only awarded for a short time to diminutive gymnasts from behind the Iron Curtain.

      • Please forward your “Top 10 List.” I have your “Top 3 List” posted on my cubical at work that includes your famous “Aunt Jemima Lite” and “Excuses” quotes. The people who work around me aren’t pleased when I quote one from your list in response to some of their complaints. I’ve probably ruined a good dozen sales of your upcoming book by such antics; I’d repay you but the Holly Inn is no longer in business….

  3. Wow Roy..excellent.
    I have nothing profound to say, other than this really resonates with me, and I’m a female looking at 40…
    Many of your posts leave me with no words but a lot of introspective thoughts.

  4. In 7th grade, my English teacher Miss Hoenig read her poem called, “Potential.” I got it in my head then that sin was not fulfilling your potential. Still, at 53, I’m never very satisfied by my achievements-there is always more potential to fulfill

  5. Pingback: Taking Back My Potential, Part IV… | Roy Cohen's Contemplative Fitness

  6. Pingback: Flight Paths… « Roy Cohen's Contemplative Fitness

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