"Men have forgotten this truth,' said the fox. 'But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." [Antoine de Saint-Exupery]
This is a quote from the beloved book, "The Little Prince", which was originally written in French. The word "apprivoiser" was translated into English as "tame", but in French, this word doesn't have the same connotation as "dominance" over another as it does in English, but instead relates to nurturing and stewardship. These words remind me that we all have our wild side that we struggle to "tame" within us. The reality is in order to live in communion with others, we need take responsibility for those raw feelings so that they are nurtured within us and not unleashed on those around us.
"You can have all the hands in the world reaching out to you, but if you don't reach back, you stay stuck." [Carrie Bailee, fellow CSA survivor, author, and advocate]
Often we don't give ourselves the credit due for the courage and strength it takes to "reach back" and accept the help we have been offered. This reminds me to be aware that even in our darkest moments, where everything inside of us is screaming we are powerless, we still can make the choice to willingly extend our hand to those reaching out to us. Today, I am grateful for the people in my life who have encouraged me to have the faith to accept their outpouring of love.
If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is. [Charles Bukowski, excerpt fro "Factotum"]
Fear can cripple us and rob us of our greatest gift—freedom. The freedom to stretch out of our comfort zone. The one opportunity we might have to "be alone with the gods" and etch our indelible mark on this world.
"We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world." [Gabor Maté]
Our past does not have to be our future, yet so many of us feel powerless to build a life we want. We need remind ourselves that in one of the most important speeches of the 20th century, "Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream", he did not say he had a "plan"—but that he had a "dream". It's within our mind that we have the power to "dream" our world into reality.
If you hang around a barbershop long enough, sooner or later you're going to get a haircut." [Author Unknown, frequently heard in 12-step meetings]
Deciding to make a substantive change in your life often requires evaluating where and with whom you spend your time. One of the most difficult things we have to do before we can move forward is to walk away from people and places holding us back and making it too easy for us to slip back into a default outlook of negativity.
"Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance,
For a break that would make it okay.
There's always some reason
To feel not good enough,
And it's hard, at the end of the day."
[excerpt from "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan]
There is no doubt in my mind that it is definitely an "inside job"—that incessant destructive inner voice that whispers to us at our most vulnerable moments that "You're not good enough." Instead of waiting your whole life for a "second chance", why not get out there and begin now? Life's not about waiting for a second chance—It's about courageously breathing through your third, fourth, fifth. . . chances!
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first.” [Jim Morrison]
Increasingly, it feels as though we are walking through our lives anesthetized, cut-off from our surroundings, with our faces buried in our smartphones, and earbuds drowning out all that surrounds us. I don't even remember when I chose to "put on a mask" and "trade in my sense for an act", but there's no doubt that's happened. Maybe it's time we all start that revolution inside each and every one of us!
"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." [Antoine de Saint-Exupéry]
It's far too tempting to get lost in the minutia of our lives. We spend so much time shoring up and bracing for rougher times that may never come, and sadly, we forget to look up and embrace the joy of now. Be a world changer—Be a beacon, not a leader. Steep your soul in what drives your dreams, and invite others to long for the "immensity of the sea."
“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” [Spoken by Jacob in Genesis 32:26]
We all face struggles, which at times appear insurmountable. It was Robert Frost who said, “The best way out is always through.” No one likes to "sit with" pain or suffering, but by learning to be present with it and listening to the lessons it whispers to us, we begin to see suffering not as an obstacle in our path, but as a stepping stone to growth and transformation. Before pushing discomfort away, remain present with it, and don't let it go until it "blesses" you.
"It takes a long time to make old friends." [Erin Moon, interview from the Good Life Project]
Old friends are like your favorite sweater—You don't have to wear it every day, but when you do slip it on, it's comfy and feels right. "Old friends" aren't just the people around me—They are also the familiar habits and behaviors I carry around inside of me. I'm reminded that these "old friends" are sometimes welcome companions, while at other times, they are caustic stowaways.