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As I lie in bed last night I began thinking, always a mistake for me, however I thought about this  uneasy feeling that has been rather haunting me for the past few weeks.  It began when I was bombarded by the idea of writing a book.  A book that would combine memoir, fiction and history a book that would lead me to places that I have so neatly placed in the back of my mind.  I got so far as to write down an outline and begin to organize the flow of the chapters and with each process I began to feel more and more unease.  All of this lead me to last nights thoughts in bed and  this short essay.
Writing is a risk.  I read in Carl Jung’s writings, and I am paraphrasing here, that when one steps back into the shadow self one must be extremely careful not to step too far for risk of not returning.  This thought has perplexed me and left me on guard.  On guard for that shadow that sits so quietly awaiting my recognition.  We as human take many paths and varied throughout the years and if we gain wisdom in the process we step cautiously and choose carefully the stones as we progress.  Looking back, stepping back and taking the mind into realms that can create havoc for the individual,  but these same realms can also create a masterpiece for the observer.  Great artists, writers and composers have all walked a thin line, some were able to keep one foot on the path, returning and completing a fruitful life.  Many others did not, Van Gough, Mozart, Hemingway, Fitzgerald to name a few took their demons to the grave sacrificing that we may know what lies on the other side of paradise.  One who walked one direction and completely did a reversal was Ann Rice spending years trilling readers with a darker side of life until personal tragedy moved her to write solely in the heavenly realm.
So what does this all have to do with my little thoughts?  I am not a great writer, artist or composer – but maybe I am not a great risk taker either, and there in lies the key to greatest.  “We are what we think”,  but we also are what we risk and without risk greatest will more than likely lead us to a peaceful life underneath the Bodhi Tree, chanting to the chimes, but it will not lead us to the best seller list, the Oscars, or one of my favorites the Stanley Cup.   Enough said, but I would like to leave you with this last recollection from Kevin Bacon at the Golden Globes, he was excepting his award for “Taking Chance” in which he played a Marine officer who volunteers to  accompany a soldier’s body home from the middle east war back home to Wyoming.  Kevin spoke of  his gratitude for the award, but made a point to thank his wife Kyra  for standing by waiting and believing he would return (not physically but mentally) to the person she knew and loved.  For in the making of this movie he  had allowed himself to take that risk of stepping off the path to enter greatest but also kept an eye on the prize which was his life and his family.  
Many people write, many people make a living at it while others do it  for hobby.  Yet, few writers are classified as “Great”, but I guarantee that those who have risked stepping off the path and risking both sides of self  to show us “Greatest.”