Since today is the day we annually give thanks for all the wonderful things in our lives, and since Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” is the unofficial Thanksgiving anthem, played annually today on radio stations everywhere, I thought it would be fun to reflect on something he wrote over twenty years ago. He called it “My Oughtabiography,” and starts out with, “I was born with a guitar in one hand in Coney Island, which is the good part of Brooklyn, New York…” After bringing us up to date, he goes on to say, “My personal life is somewhat of a mystery, even to me. Although it’s fun to be mysterious at times, it isn’t always convenient. People always want to know what you are, as if it made some kind of difference. Lots of people want to have something special in common with folksingers. They’d like to share their views on religion, pollution, nuclear power, human rights, truth, justice, and the American way with someone who sees things the same way. I have come to the conclusion that we are all one person with a few billion faces so we can see things in lots of different ways. I guess there really isn’t any mystery to me at all, unless I think of myself as being all alone…”
Now you know what an “oughtabiography” is, right? Wait a minute, what is Arlo really saying, anyway? Have you ever felt like “we are all one person with a few billion faces”? What in the world does that feel like?
Well, if we all are one person with a few billion faces, does that mean your soul’s “oughtabiography” would be the same as, but from a different perspective than, someone else’s? Arlo gives voice to his soul in his own natural style, by expressing himself, his own inner qualities, and his own personal experiences. What have you acquired along your journey that makes you who you are? What conclusion have you come to about what it all comes down to for you? What is it about who you really are that you are most thankful for? Take a minute to expresses who you most are, in a one sentence “oughtabiography.”