Ulysses, excerpt By Alfred Lord Tennyson: Reading and Meditation

October 28, 2020  • Executive Leadership Seminars Department

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The concept of a “bucket list” has become somewhat trivialized in recent days – a throwaway term to indicate a “wish list” of experiences. The powerful desire that Tennyson describes in his poem, Ulysses is a “bucket list” in the truest sense. Aging and faced with his own mortality, Ulysses dreams of  one last voyage — a journey towards a horizon with no end in sight. Despite the obstacles that age brings, he is empowered in his own sense of self and the realization that he is the same man who once fought beside Achilles. It is the strength and resilience of spirit that can triumph the frailty of aging. And so they push off, determined to revel in the glory and adventure of the unknown that awaits – spurred on not by a “wish list” of experiences, but by the search for purpose and for self. 

As you meditate on the passing of time, what is your purpose? What experiences have been central to you?  When faced with your own mortality, what experiences or accomplishments are most important to have achieved in your lifetime? 

Brianna Curran, Washington, DC

Wellsprings of Living and Leading
April 15, 2020 •