To Thine Own Self Be True… A Shared Story from Howard Schwartz
The earth crunches below my feet as I ascend the well-worn path of one of my favorite hiking trails. The sun is rising, and I'm looking at the beauty of the green hills, which surround me. I'm lost in thought for a moment about how incredibly fortunate I am. I have healthy children, a great wife, and I love what I do every day; I get to create. I begin to recite Shakespeare as I put one foot in front of another. The right foot steps firmly on the ground and I utter, “To thine…” my left foot finds the perfect crevice and as I find my footing, I complete one of my favorite quotes from Hamlet, “own self be true"
The recitation of Shakespearean verses as I hike is a habit I developed years ago. There is something about this process that grounds me, literally and figuratively. Perhaps it’s in the rhythm, after all Shakespeare did write in iambic pentameter, and there is definitely a rhythm as I move up the mountain.. Even in this upward motion I can feel it. All I know is that it makes me feel centered to do these two things together. The best way I can explain this is using it as a moral compass. The older I've gotten, the more I've come to really try to live by this credo. In what way do I stay true to myself? I am a good person and while this sounds like a simple statement, I think it’s a quality that is far too overlooked these days. When I say “good” I mean I really try to do the right thing in every situation; I’m kind to others, and I’m respectful of the world in general. This does include also being respectful of the earth.
I’ve now reached the pinnacle of my climb and I am overwhelmed by the stunning view. I feel so happy at this moment and I immediately think of another famous quote from someone whom I have derived inspiration for years, John Muir, “The sun shines not on us but in us. John Muir, one of our nation's most important environmentalists, like Shakespeare, left a legacy that remains today. His work preserving the greatness in nature made it possible for us enjoy the forests and mountains and many of the national parks we have today. In their own unique ways they both made the world a better place. It is because of the inspiration I have felt from both of these men that we ended up putting each of these quotes on a Quotable Cuff. Ironically, both Shakespeare and It’s interesting because as I hike I do feel I’m staying true to myself, yet at the same time it does make the sun shine from the inside in me to enjoy the nature around me. In a way, I guess that’s why I feel so connected to these quotes. I see them as words to live by, which is why these Quotable Cuffs with these quotes make the best gifts, either for yourself or someone else. I do think in the end, if we stay true to ourselves, it will make the sun shine in all of us.
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