Zetan’s Book of All Knowledge from The Circle of Iron. Snipped from the movie.

Sometimes the journey of self reflection involves a king fu movie.

There aren’t many things I know to be true, but I do know that the key to being happy is to be happy in oneself. 

How we all get there is an individual journey, but true peace, contentment, happiness, etc. only comes from within. 

No one else can make that journey for you.

We all do it alone (or we don’t and become miserable old gits — even if we’re young — bitching about everything and angry that Billie Eilish doesn’t know who Van Halen is. And, really, FFS, I LIVED in the 80s and I still hear songs on Sirius 80s and am like, who in the ever-loving name of fuck is that? Get off the kid’s back, damn, unless you know the top groups in every genre of music, ok, rant over and I digress. Ooooooommmmmmm.]

That’s the key. You’ve got to figure out how to fit it in the lock yourself.

As you may have guessed, today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt from Linda G. Hill is “key”, to use any way one would like. 

I thought about a short bit on the versatility of the word or having a bit of a history trip given that Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner on a ship about 20 miles north of me and his son was killed in Lafayette Square by a jealous husband about 20 miles south of here. 

Side note: Daniel Sickles, opened shot Key in the groin and then the chest and was going for a headshot when the gun misfired. He was the first person acquitted on the grounds of temporary insanity. Four years later, at a little town in Pennsylvania, he moved his troops from a strong defensive position that resulted in the Union left almost being turned (though some now argue that the move essentially spoiled Longstreet’s massive assault that 2nd day of the battle and saved the Army of the Potomac, personally, I’m not convinced). Ultimately, a timely charge by a college professor from Maine stopped Oates’ Alabamians from a possible Confederate victory. 

Yep, Dan Sickles’ leg, you can see it for yourself in Silver Spring, MD.

Side side note: Sickles leg was shattered by a cannonball while his corps was being mauled and retreating and amputated soon afterwards. It was put in . . . shoot, in one of the DC hospitals or museums, maybe the Smithsonian, where he would visit it on occasion. No idea what his career was after the Civil War. [Ed note. Looked it up, National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, MD]

Back to the key of life being you.

The reason this one popped into my head is because I’ve been noodling around with the idea of a blog post about content marketing tied to lessons from the movie, Circle of Iron.

Circle of Iron is great, ok, pretty good, Kung Fu theatre movie. It was originally conceived of by Bruce Lee to illustrate eastern, Zen-esque philosophy. While he intended to star in it, he died before the screenplay was finished. David Carradine got the part of the man with the flute.

Now, it ain’t a great movie beyond the way that every kung fu movie is great. It does have some nudity, a huge plus when I first saw this thing at 15 or so. Yes, I did look for the N for nudity on HBO. I’m not ashamed. It’s got Eli Wallach removing the temptations of the flesh by dissolving away his . . . manhood in a giant vat of oil. It’s got monkeys, some bad martial arts, and Zen philosophy throughout.

Damn, that makes it sound horrible. It’s better than I just made it sound (and the link is below). It’s a fun watch, though it’s in English so there’s not the additional joy of watching a kung fu movie with horrible dubbing. 

The basic plot is that Cord wants to fight Zetan for a prize. Not to ruin it for you (and where it’s going becomes self-evident when you pay attention), after trials and tribulations, which is his journey to self-knowledge, he reaches the prize. 

The prize is The Book of All Knowledge. 

After a waaaaaaaay too long build up, Cord sits and opens the book. 

Every page is a mirror. 

The book of wisdom holds no answers, only a reflection of ourselves because WE have the answers.
Snipped this from the film.

Not gonna lie and say I thought all that deeply about that in my teens, but I think it did plant a subliminal idea that you have to be happy with yourself first. 

The funny thing (funny sad, not funny ha ha) is that it’s easy to lose sight of this basic idea. We see folks all the time looking for someone to make them happy or another job to make them happy or a pet to make them happy or a child will make them happy or a new car or whatever “thing” we all set our sights on that’s going to be that thing that gets us over the hump to happiness (some seek happiness in humping). 

Books and whatnot (or David Carradine with a walking stick flute) can help guide us to being happy with ourselves, but it’s on us to pull ourselves out of our ruts and be content with who we are.

The guide for your personal journey of self-discovery may vary.

When going through my divorce, I did some self-reflection and even some focused navel gazing. Read some books, even joined a community of people going through the same situation as I was. They helped. 

What kind of made it all gel was a simple book which because this is stream of consciousness, I’ll find and take a photo of later. Something like “On Happiness.” The basic idea of the book, a very simple read, was happiness is a choice. You can decide to respond to situations and just be happy.

Bought this in NYC at one of my favorite bookstores in the world, The Strand, while going through divorce. It’s a simple book, but helped me get my mind right.

It doesn’t mean you can’t be angry or sad or any other of the gamut of emotions we all experience, but, by and large, you can choose to be happy. 

For the record, I DO NOT think this applies to depression or those with other mental illnesses. You don’t happy yourself out of that, help in the form of modern chemistry and/or counseling is required. And if that’s you, get the help you need. There’s no shame in it. 

OK, that said, back to happy. I’ve read a bit about the power of habit off and on over the last few years, a bit on meditation, and associated topics. A lot of it does boil down to deciding how you’re going to react; is your glass going to be half full or half empty. 

You do get to choose how you view the world and yourself. The more positive you think, the more positive you become. The brain is an amazing thing like that. 

I was going to end with “Don’t worry, Be happy” when I realized the irony of that song and Robin Williams in the video and how he ended his own life. 

So, yeah, while the video is now bittersweet, the song is still true,

“Don’t worry, be happy.”

Annnnndddd, I couldn’t get this song from Trolls out of my head either. Pharell William’s Happy is after for a 3 pack of musical happiness.

Ha! Both of those used the same idea of folks dancing. Never noticed before, same director?


  1. Yes! You hit the nail on the head with this post. Thank you for that. I have had to be careful with my “happiness is a choice” mantra. For me yes, but to recognize not always applicable and to speak to no shame in getting help is encouraging. Loved each song choice too.

    Liked by 1 person

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