“It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.”
“Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to; all they need is one reason why they can.”
“Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair.”
Yesterday was a good day even if it didn’t end as well as I’d hoped. Still, I got everything done that was on my “to-do” list and that felt great. I just finished another “to-do” list and now I’m ready to start the day. Unfortunately, I feel little enthusiasm about anything at the moment because of how my day ended. Fortunately, that doesn’t matter. Determination, as I have said before, is the emotion without emotion. It doesn’t matter if I’m happy or sad. It only matters that I do my work.
In Iron John, Robert Bly describes the naïve man, the man who has not fully developed or emotionally matured. Bly says, “The naïve man will sink into a mood as if into a big hole. (His) mood seems attached as if to a mountain. He can’t separate it. If he feels hurt, or in a low mood, he identifies with the mood, and everyone around him has to go to down into the hole. He is not present.”
I know this described me for many years. If I was feeling sad or angry, it consumed me. I couldn’t shake it. It has only been in the last eight months that I have finally understood that I really do have a choice. Yes, my moods, good and bad, are going to surface perhaps due to circumstance, fatigue or even just a general malaise. This doesn’t excuse me from my work though. In fact, in those times, when my moods want to take over, my work is even more crucial.
I love what Steven Pressfield says:
The professional prepares mentally to absorb blows and to deliver them. His aim is to take what the day gives him. He is prepared to be prudent and he is prepared to be reckless, to take a beating when he has to and to go for the throat when he can. He understands that the field alters every day. His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides as sturdily and as steadily as he can.”
Actually, my goal is victory, but not victory over circumstance or other people. The victory I want is over my moods. I don’t want to be the naïve man who lives for the approval of others, who lives in fear, because then I’m not living at all. I want to determine my destiny. According to the dictionary the word destiny means my fate has been predetermined. If this is so, then I choose to believe my fate is to be a in a house on the beach and doing my work. My destiny is to be the most positive and powerful person I know. My destiny is to choose to face my pain with courage rather than run away from it or continuously numb it with entertainment and distractions.
Interestingly, I started this blog feeling sad. Now I’m angry. I’m not angry with any person. I’m angry at the Enemy. I’ve talked about the Enemy before and I’ve said it’s an actual spiritual being, Satan. But the Enemy is also within. It’s what Eckhart Tolle describes as the Pain Body, the force that loves to feed on drama and sadness. Its main course is fear. But it can also feed all day on self-pity, self-absorption or rage. Honestly, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of all of that. I’m tired of misinterpreting what other people are doing or thinking. I’m tired of “taking everything personally” as Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements. I want to create live in a better world.
Actually, there are four beautiful worlds to live in. There is the beautiful world that God created and it’s out there. There is the beautiful world right here in front of me, on my keyboard and screen. I create this world every time I do my work. There is the beautiful world I choose as I choose my thoughts and as I choose strategies to be peaceful and joyful. Finally, there is the beautiful world that comes from sharing life with those I love. I call this world my house on the beach. Even though I do not have that house yet, I can take one step every day towards it. I can plan my future. I can work and study and prepare. I can save money and develop my skills.
In addition, I can live and act as if this house were already mine, that I am physically there. I can live in gratitude for what was, what is and what will be. This does not mean living in an imaginary world, but in a world of determination and faith that life can be good.
Life can be good if I pay attention to all the gifts around me, health, beauty, trees, children, work, cars that run, everything! But life can also be good when I do my work. In fact, it always is.
My day is not over yet. In fact, it’s just begun. I may have challenges ahead or everything may go perfectly smoothly. It doesn’t matter. I have my 3x5 cards to remind me of what I need to do. I have a computer and journals and books as my weapons to fight the darkness. I have the Holy Spirit. I have people who love me. All I need to do is to Get Started and Keep Going…and stay in my four worlds.