Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Self Reliance

I recently was reading a great story in MH magazine about comebacks and how people change in an effort to reclaim something they once had, something that defined a period. I’m attracted to this concept because of its storybook veneer and its ambition towards a blissful conclusion. There is only but admiration in such stories. The idea that change can happen through sheer vision, will, and discipline is provoking. Quite honestly, I am in awe at the idea. It delivers hope where cynicism and doubt once grew. It is refreshing. It is also irony. The catalyst for change is you. In a world where we sprint towards the next product, pill, or person that promises change it is both timorous and stimulating to know that all we are and can be is already in us.

So, if all the answers are innately invested in our DNA, then why do so many of us act out a slow suicide by echoing disdain, derision, and self contempt for our responsibility to ourselves? How is this process, hardwired in our biology, so contradictory to our survival? What is it about our myopic and disillusioned perspectives that drive us to apathy and denial? Our behaviors are on autopilot and our consciousness has checked out of reality. We allow our brains to wither, to erode, and to foster reduction of thought. We are on a collision course with ourselves. Sure, we, in a superficial fashion, strive for greatness but only to do so with a sort of crutch or dependency on something likely only an extension of our warped and illegitimate reality. We blame others. We curse, spit, and take swings at the external world as if we are auditioning for a play and for a role that is antagonistic to ourselves. The anger, strive, and humiliation are all directed at ourselves. This is undoubtedly uncomfortable for some to grapple with, but the external world only serves as a mirror for self examination. It is not real unless you choose for it to exist.

I think back about fifteen years and am in awe at how angry I was and how my misdirected actions almost besieged me. They took me to a place, a dark spot on humanity, and once that line is crossed your world changes. The way you look and polarize the world is forever altered. I have awoken on streets with strangers searching for change in my pockets; I have come close to death on more than one occasion only to hope for another encounter; I have hurt and been hurt in ways that have left permanent scars. The memories are always with me. They scream, bellow, and throw themselves at you when self doubt creeps up on you unexpectedly. They shadow you and belittle your self confidence just when you need it the most. Before you sleep they stare you down and before you drift away they leave the last impression of the day. You can’t hide, you can’t erase or rid yourself of these scars; they are undying fixtures. The only way out is forgiveness and acceptance.

Acceptance is the catalyst for change and acceptance is the first step when engineering a comeback. Experience, good or bad, frightens us because it holds the potential to conflict with our “ideal” self. It is as if a stranger is living within you inconveniencing your thoughts, actions, and drive. When you want to sleep it wants to run, when you want to think it wants to sleep. It opposes you at every turn. Well, a comeback requires that you extend an open invitation, a permanent truce, and welcome yourself home. Welcome and forgive yourself by understanding that the past does not define the future and the only thing influx is the beating heart that pushes you onward. Secondly, it is also important to realize that stationary actions further perpetuate self contemplation, which will set the strongest man on fire with self contempt. Actions create further memories and those will soon dilute and adulterate the past. The parts become solvent and the consciousness can once again mature. The cycle continues and the sun rises again.

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