Saturday, March 15, 2014

Strength, Part II

"When you are required to exhibit strength, it comes."

Joseph Campbell

"It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide on what to do."

Elbert Hubbard

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

It occurred to me that I could take a word, a single word, a characteristic and build a life and a plan around it.  This is because many words have multiple meanings and multiple applications.  Specifically, the word I’m thinking of is strength.  I could have used courage, love, determination, gratitude or even “Purpose.”  Today, however, the word “strength” popped into my head and I realized I had some additional thoughts on it.  I wrote a blog about strength (, but I’d like to reflect further.  First, I need to define my term.  My online dictionary says this:
1 the quality or state of being strong, in particular
·      Physical power and energy
·      The emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult
·      The capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure
·      The influence or power possessed by a person, organization, or country
·      The degree of intensity of a feeling or belief
·      The cogency of an argument or case
·      The potency, intensity, or speed of a force or natural agency
·      The potency or degree of concentration of a drug, chemical, or drink

2 a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing
·      Poetic/literary a person or thing perceived as a source of mental or emotional support

3 the number of people comprising a group, typically a team or army
·      A number of people required to make such a group complete

·      From strength from a secure or advantageous position: it makes sense to negotiate from strength.
·      Go from strength to strength develop or progress with increasing success.
·      In strength in large numbers: security forces were out in strength.
·      On the strength of on the basis or with the justification of: she got into Princeton on the strength of her essays.
·      Tower (or pillar) of strength a person who can be relied upon to give a great deal of support and comfort to others.

That was a lot of copying, but that supports my previous point that there can be many meanings and many applications for a single word.  This is one of the reasons I love words.  They aren’t static or stationary.  They have many applications, like strength.
I need strength.  I need it in all areas of my life.  I also need it in all its meanings. 
When one thinks of strength, it’s the physical that most often comes to mind.  I need physical strength.  This means good health, drinking water, exercise and rest.  This means taking care of myself.  When I’m sick I’m so weak, I can barely move.  That’s not the way to live.  Strength is also energy and I need that, too.  I need stamina. I need the ability to keep going.  Yes, sometimes determination can move me past fatigue, but wouldn’t life be better if I didn’t have fatigue?   I actually have a lot of energy, but sometimes I don’t use my time well and when it’s time to write, I’m too tired.  This problem requires another kind of strength.
I need the strength of my convictions.  What I do needs to be so important that I use all my available time and energy to move towards my goals, before relaxing.  I’m not against relaxation and refreshment.  Those build my strength.  I am against wasting time.  Time is the one thing I can’t get back.  I need the mental strength to keep my eyes on my goals.  I need fortitude, determination and diligence.  These require strength.
Before I get too buried in rhetoric, it might be appropriate to remind myself why I chose this topic.  Today, two things happened that reminded me of my need for strength.  The first was spending time with my Muse.  This blog is the result of that.  She reminded me that things can change in a heartbeat, for the worse or the better, and I need to be prepared.   She reminded me that good things happen far more often than bad things, but that we don’t pay enough attention to them.  For example, I have a friend who found a perfect job this week.  Things can and do move forward, but we have to create some of that.
The second thing that happened was seeing some houses near the beach.  Some were nice and one may have been perfect.  Unfortunately, the one I wanted is just a little out of my price range.  This caused me to review a suggestion that my Muse gave me today:  Get out of debt.  That too will take strength.  It will take keeping my goals in front of me.  It will take a more effective use of my time.  It will take looking at every area of my life and seeing what is necessary and what isn’t, and making some choices.  Then I will need the strength to follow through.  For example, do I need everything I own, or can I sell some things on eBay?   Can I spend more time reading and learning?  Can I spend more time with my Muse and write more blogs?
One of the reasons I write these blogs is because they help remind me of what is important.  My house on the beach is the most important goal of my life right now, because it represents so many other goals and hopes.  It’s not just about a physical house.  It’s about having a place of love, safety, beauty and a place to write.  But a goal, especially a worthy goal, is not for the weak.   It requires strength in all its meanings.  When I am in a place of strength I am also in a place of joy and meaning.  I don’t have time for fear.  I am too busy moving forward.  I am too busy as I Get Started and Keep Going.