Its mid June 2021. Monday started off strong but then as I got into it, into the creating and the writing there was a lot of internal chatter going on. A lot of trying but not doing, a lot of looking for more over there because what I did here, was not enough. The running story of my inner saboteur, that I am not enough, and definitely not qualified to do the work I’ve set out to accomplish.
“So what do you think it would take for you to let it go? What would be just one thing?” My coach asks.
“I do something that reminds me of why the work I want to do is so important.” I responded.
People need something bigger than themselves to be inspired by. We need to be reminded of that bigger reason for being when our lives circumstances get heavy. And consistently, every time I've been in a conversation with another human being about what's possible for the future, I'm left inspired and so are they. It’s a beautiful exercise to feel the warmth of the fire re-ignited, if at least only for a time.
Truth be told, I don’t spend nearly enough time in my book writing about the grapple. No, instead I’m just IN the grapple, at the effect of the grapple. Getting the shit kicked out of me by the grapple. Wishing I was somewhere else, anywhere else but here…in the grapple. Maybe I write about it afterwards, but usually it’s very summarized and lacks context and depth. In that form, it rarely serves me as clarity is missing.
What does it mean to you, to be inspired?
For me I get inspired when I spend the time to get to know someone else, their ideals and perspectives. When I do, I find myself achieving deeper clarity of my own objectives and pursuits. But clarity is the exception, not the norm for me. I go down rabbit holes and I lose myself in the excitement of discovery. The journey is wide, expansive and rich. And I am very eager to share those discoveries with others. But they are new ideas, just taking root and fragile. And if I am not careful they get trampled all over by my (or others) lack of understanding or willingness to understand. At which point I no longer feel understood and I'm left wondering what’s wrong with me. We all need to level up our listening. And stop thinking that just because someone shares something with us, that’s it's up for scrutiny and debate. But it’s so automatic, so easy to say. And very hard to do.
My younger years, like in all of us, is where this started. If you look back far enough, you will be able to make the connection to what disconnects you from others. Not being understood was the context of my upbringing. I was around people but I wasn’t really allowed to be with people. And when I did try, I always came up against a boundary to how much I was able to be with others. There was a limit. And that is where my limiting beliefs took hold.
“So, what would it have been like if you had met your younger self?” My coach asks.
“My younger self would have been initially very excited to have met me. But it would have been fleeting. Some sort of conversation that would challenge my worldview would have been asked. Something innocent like “Are you a good boy?” And then I would have reclused back, shifting my entire being internally. The subtle complexity of morality is beginning to take over. In most cases, the conversation would not have gone any further. Dismissed as part of my “timid” and “well behaved” demeanor I was taught to have around my elders. But seeing as it’s me, meeting my younger self, I wouldn't have let him recluse back. I would have asked more questions, reframed so it was more relatable. I would be curious and show him that it's okay to be curious about things outside of the book you’ve been told to stay within. That there's nothing wrong. That whatever you feel, or wish, or are thinking is appropriate. I would have talked to him about what he does now, what he wants and what makes him happy.
At 10 years old, that version of me was starving to just be accepted, and for it to be ok to accept others. To know that everybody was ok, And that I was free to be me. Accepted for who I am and who I'm not and accepting others for the same.
To self actualize is to accept oneself and to take full advantage of our talents while still being mindful of our limitations.
“If you could give him anything, what would it be?” My coach asks. After a few moments I respond. “I would give him a sword.”
I always loved what the sword represented. Power, protection and intellect. The intentional creation of the skills necessary in making life changes. A symbol of strength that’s forged under the stress of adversity. And when crafted and maintained with care and attention, one that cannot be broken. I’d have him carry it on his back, for when he does he will feel a sense of certainty in his life. It would serve as a reminder of who he is becoming and that he is going to be ok. Like all of our tools, it would one to practice and become familiar with. Not to be used carelessly or to show off with arrogance or ignorance. It is part of him and a part of his journey now. A reminder to practice what’s good and permission to express himself, free of expectation.
"Besides it would be totally badass to walk around with a sword on your back and not give a fuck."
Where I am most effective is the place where most tend to avoid. While I love the feeling I experience in the extreme of passion and inspiration, it is very hard to focus on anything specific in that moment, because I am just so excited about all of it. It’s great and it’s fun, just not very productive. That is its design. Stay here and surely you will manifest madness and destruction. Equally so is the other side of that extreme. Death by lethargy and inaction, withering away to nothing. So where I am is where balance is struck. Where the pull from both keeps tight the tension. It is where I am most grounded and most able to create.
But not everything is always perfectly balanced. The dance between good and evil, light and dark is always at odds. Where one season requires the chaos of destruction to make way for what’s next, it must be struck with the necessary balance of thinking, planning and building.
So too are the seasons of focused creation needing a healthy dose of volatility and the unexpected. By your design. And there is no absolute truth here. Only beliefs and practices that reveal themselves under the light of human sense. You’ve likely echoed those words before “That makes sense”. And maybe all we did was acknowledge it, and not really pursue it. Not everything is meant to be pursued.
But when we do, it becomes a light in dark places. It brings clarity to confusion. Ever try to operate in darkness? It’s inaccurate, messy and backed with a whole lot of hope that it’s going to work out.
“When are you going to realize you are the light?” My coach says plainly. “Where that little boy goes, light is there.” He adds.
The choice is mine to be complete with whatever it is I do. And whatever state it’s in. To be ok with what it is and what it’s not. With what it’s becoming and what it might never be. To see what it is I am doing from a new perspective gives me the opportunity to learn, expand and grow. I was tasked by my coach to create my throne. If I had one, what would it look like? From that spot how am I viewing the world around me? Viewing the world and my circumstances from the lens of my child warrior, is a new perspective again. The power of the sword I wield as a human being able to act and create.
And the perspective is always changing. I can play it safe (like I have for a long time) stay in the shallow water or I can set out to seek clarity and purpose. Take on the next chapter in my hero's journey. Go out into the unknown world with a sword on my back. Make new alliances, gather resources, log the discoveries and perspectives. Celebrate the victories of monsters slayed along the way, returning home a different person and with new insight, ready to create what’s next.
And so can you.
Your journey can be rich if you can let go and forgive yourself.
Let go of the secrets you keep and scare you.
Take that leap as steep as it is deep and breakthrough.
Create a new world view to live up to.
And you don’t have to do it alone.