"Never fear quitting that which is dragging down your soul, for in the white space of time and energy created in the absence of what is wrong will enter what could be right, what perhaps was intended for you, what could free and lift your weary spirit." [Brendon Burchard]
For as long as we can remember, we've had it drilled into our heads to "keep going" and "not give up". But what happens when that which you are doing is literally "dragging down your soul" and leaving you feeling broken and bedraggled? Sometimes we need to let something go in order to make space for love, passion, and purpose to fill our "weary spirit".
"Sometimes it's the shattered pieces that become the seeds of a future only you can birth." [Jonathan Fields]
Depression and confusion often come quickly on the heels of shattered dreams and unfulfilled expectations. Looking at periods of disequilibrium as times of opportunity rather than catastrophe, you begin to see that instead of falling apart, you are coming together and setting the stage for a "future only you can birth."
"We have a tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves the grace to evolve." [T.D. Jakes]
Having been married for almost three decades, the one thing I'm certain of is that the person you marry, won't remain the same person you stay married to. You often hear people give newlyweds the advice "Never go to bed angry." I would add to that, "Leave space for your partner to evolve." One of the most exciting things in our marriage is that neither of us is a "finished product"—There's nothing more exhilarating in a relationship than hanging on to each other waiting for the next turn in the road.
"We are not meant to stay wounded. We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds — the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them. Wounds are the means through which we enter the hearts of other people. They are meant to teach us to become compassionate and wise. " [Caroline Myss]
There are two types of blessings in our lives—gifts of joy and gifts of sorrow. By remaining "stuck in the power of our wounds", we surrender the possibility of transformation. Our wounds are portals to not only our own transformation but also a gateway for the love and compassion of others to bless our lives.
If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. [Thomas Aquinas]
I'm sure you're familiar with the axiom "nothing ventured, nothing gained", but the words of Thomas Aquinas entail so much more. It's as though we, as the "captain" of our own ship, have a moral imperative to live our lives out of our comfort zone and venture into potentially rough, uncharted waters.
"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." [Stanislaw Jerszy Lec]
We can look upon our lives as an accumulation—an accumulation of either love or hate. Seeking solace or escape in a group makes it convenient to divest ourselves of our individual responsibility for change. Can you see "snowflakes" gently falling around the bully in the schoolyard?
"After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing." [William Coyne, head of R&D at 3M]
No one likes to be micro managed, and in business, it typically leads to a significant loss of creativity and an increased sense of dissatisfaction. It's a little trickier when we turn the lens on ourselves. How many times have you vowed to make a change in your diet or lifestyle only to sabotage the process by not allowing time for the benefits to be seen? After investing your heart and soul into parenting our children, how quick are we to "step in" instead of allowing the seeds of loving parenting to bear fruit?
"That which we are, we shall teach, not voluntarily, but involuntarily. Thoughts come into our minds by avenues which we never left open, and thoughts go out of our minds through avenues which we never voluntarily opened. Character teaches over our head." [Ralph Waldo Emerson]
Power of example is by far our greatest teacher. Emerson reminds us that we are being constantly crafted by thoughts that enter and leave us through "avenues" that lie outside our control or consciousness. By aligning our inner spirit to our physical actions, we attune ourselves to a higher purpose, a more transcendent teaching.
"Sometimes peace and serenity appear in our lives as boredom." [Shared by a speaker in an AA meeting.]
I've always been a chaos junkie--swept up in the manic highs and lows of constant activity. Ironically, I secretly long for quiet and solitude, a reprieve from the craziness. But why don't I leave space for this serenity? Maybe, it's my fear that the external calm will ratchet up the internal chatter or the disquiet of my mind. The lesson to be learned here is to be careful what you wish for because beneath the rough seas lies a darkness and a world of discovery.
"It might be old-fashioned, but I grew up with a very strong feeling that if you're fortunate enough to have success, that you put something back. And that comes from a Native American concept where you take something from the land, you put something back. You replace. It’s replenishment. I think that's the concept here. It feels very good. It feels very comfortable for me. And it's born fruit." [Robert Redford, on mentoring]
There's a quiet epidemic taking place—It involves our sons and our brothers. Adolescent boys today are in crisis. They are struggling in school, and they are falling through the cracks in society in general. They are being desensitized by the disconnection of hours spent playing video games, and their sexuality is being completely warped by the easy access to a proliferation of online pornography. I'm joining the "call to action", and I encourage you to open a dialogue with other men in your life to encourage them to mentor the young men in our communities. Lost, confused, and hurt boys grow up to become lost, confused, and hurt men. We can make a difference.
Here's a couple of links to get you started:
Esquire Magazine's Mentorship Project
Breathe Through This article on Men