The person, real or fictional, with whom I identify, and in whom I see myself reflected "to a Tee," is Tevya in The Fiddler on the Roof. Tevya IS the fiddler on the roof-- trying to maintain his balance and harmony, and stay in tune with what he is doing and what needs to be done, while the stabilizing influence of his traditions and way of life are being blown away by the winds of upheaval and disruption in antisemitic Russia. Milking his cow and selling the milk from his wagon, which his horse dutifully takes into town every day, keeps Tevya going in more ways than he might think. His routines connect him with The Way for him through life, and he would be lost without them. The movie ends with him disembarking from the ship that brought him and Golda to New York and a different way of living. My heart breaks for Tevya and Golda as they try to piece together new ways of maintaining the traditions that ground and anchor them, providing balance and harmony, and enabling them to live in tune with The Way in new ways in the time left for living. That is my problem, and yours, in these times which time has brought to us, where nothing is fixed and who knows what they can count on from one day to the next, and everything is as uncertain and unsteady as a fiddler on the roof. I see myself riding my mule and tending my cow, and trying to fit my life around those two things. My mule is my photography, my cow is my writing. They order my life providing balance and harmony, while I try to find The Way through the clashing rocks and heaving waves that are created by the latest news reports throughout each day. I work to diminish the impact of the noise of the world and keep it from disrupting my peace, as I seek the grounding source of the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being, and live from there in alignment with my original nature, and the spirit, energy and vitality that flow from it. How well we are able to do that, and help one another do that, tells the tale, and provides the necessary connection to "the still point of the turning world," "the axis mundi," "the world pole," which grounds us in the perspective of seeing what needs to be done and doing it, when it needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, moment to moment through all that comes our way. May it be so for all people everywhere always!
Religion without theology is a good thing-- the best thing-- connecting us as it does with one another, with all others, with ourselves, and with The Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being. The Mystery is why we see the way we see, feel the way we feel, think the way we think, value what we value, love what we love, do what we do, revere what we revere and are blown away by experiences with radiance and wonder in things like truth, beauty, compassion/mercy, decency, honor, justice, respect, etc. We are awash in Mystery, and act like "meh." What??? Until we become sensitive to, aware of, students/disciples/servants of Mystery, we are of all people the most to be pitied, because nothing can be done for us-- we are dead people waiting for some undertaker to make it official.
Who is your model for life? who represents your ideal for how to do it? Living or fictional? What about them attracts you? What characteristics do they possess that you admire? Make a detailed list of what sets them apart for you, and spend the rest of your life working to embody/incarnate/exhibit/express those aspects of who they are, so that they come to life in you and live through you, and they and you become one. The spiritual law is valid in all times and places: We admire in others what is trying to be actualized in ourselves. We see in others who we are and who we are to be. Allowing them to be our lodestar, our talisman, puts us on a path that is our path because we will be "doing them," not as they would "do them," but as we would "do them." We become ourselves by "being them." And they would admire in us what we admired in them-- without recognizing themselves in the process. It isn't a cop-out to become what we admire, but a short-cut, taking us to the heart of the matter much sooner than if we were left on our own to discover with no clues or directions. Be clear about what attracts you, and get to work!