This morning while accepting the gracious friend requests from all of my students and colleagues, I received friend request from an old high school classmate:
“DOOD! You #$%$#@ rule!! Stuff you doing is rad!! Remember me!! Prolly dont, but we yusta hang out. Been 4evah!! Anywho Sonnon, Im no longer a guest of the state. Lets grab some suds when you cum back to Penna!!”
When I was released from the psychiatric hospital, he was a senior, and I in Junior High; later jailed for assault and battery to students and a teacher, and evidently has had returned visits. During those times, I suffered the most unimaginably trauma, physically, mentally and emotionally. The abuse was… like hot fire burning through my brain, eroding my heart and leaving my body bruised and broken.
No apologies has come after 25 years; only a distorted, if not revisionist, history. I remember the ambulances. Sure, the spiritual thing to do is be magnanimous, befriend him and let bygones be bygones. But I’m no saint. I’m a human working to transcend my ego. And although I’ve come a long way, the only reply I could send him is:
Yes, I made something of myself. Yes, my life rocks. I did it without you. I did it in spite of you. And I even did it because of you… so I should say, “thank you,” but since I’m not enlightened yet, I think I’ll stick to, “Suck it.”
Grace has given me so many gifts that I fall to my knees every night in prayer, tears from my eyes welling in reflection of the day and its blessings. Nothing but Divinity - however you define it - could have placed in front of me the tremendous opportunities I’ve leaped upon.
But let’s get something straight here. I’m the one who did this. It’s the human who’s courageous.
God will only meet you half way. To succeed, you need self-effort. Greatness never comes without the illusion of great risk. But you gotta realize, you’re not going to die. This is all just a Big Game. Sure, it feels like gut-wrenching fright. It should. That’s why few if anyone does it. If you DO, then the entire Universe will conspire for your success. But it takes your willful action in spite of being scared shitless.
YOU ARE EXACTLY THE CHANGES YOU NEED.
You will feel like you do not have enough; as if you’re under-equipped and under-resourced. When you face a real challenge, not a faux one which elicits no fear within you but a real one, you will always experience moments where it feels like there’s just not enough surrounding you to endure, and that you don’t have access to tools you need to surpass the challenges you face. NO MATTER WHAT you are exactly what you need right now, are equipped with everything you need right now to take the next actionable step toward your ever-deepening path of personal mastery.
GO IT ALONE ANYWAY.
You need the will to endure the feeling that you’re absolutely alone in the pursuit of your dreams. You’re not, but you need to be able to face the feeling that you are. It will happen. Be prepared because it’s tough. But that feeling of being alone… it means YOU are about to Summit your potential. Only at the top do you find solitude. It means you’re DOING IT! Chin up! Stop bracing. Open your eyes! Don’t flinch. Breathe it in! It’s now. Here. YOU! There are few things so delicious as that exquisite nectar of daring greatly… despite the feeling of being completely alone, destitute, and opposed.
Not only do you need to embrace the feeling of being alone, but you need to be willing to flip-off every bastard attempting to stifle you, squash your dreams out, and drag you down into their miserable suffering. Your shining only serves to remind them that they have taken the cowardly way out of inaction… of not being as brave as you. YOU are the one looking down the barrel of that risk and choosing to go forward with your dreams anyway… and jumping into the darkness of the unknown.
I’ve often heretically stated that the only thing that God omitted was a soundtrack; that’s why he created musicians. These are the lyrics from Fireflight’s song Unbreakable:
“Where are the people that accused me? The ones who beat me down and bruised me. They hide just out of sight, can’t face me in the light. They’ll return, but I’ll be stronger.
Sometimes it’s hard to just keep going. But faith is moving without knowing. Can I trust what I can’t see to reach my destiny? I want to take control, but I know better.
Forget the fear. It’s just a crutch that tries to hold you back and turn your dreams to dust. All you need to do is just trust.
God, I want to dream again, take me where I’ve never been. I wanna go there, this time I’m not scared. Now I am unbreakable, it’s unmistakable. No one can touch me, nothing can stop me.”
My life does rock, because of you… because of your support, your letters and messages, because of your willpower, courage, determination and tenacious aspiration to personal mastery.
And yes, my life rocks because of me.