Life, too often it seems, has a way of getting the best of us.
After all, its endless barrage of trials and tribulations — and even its triumphs — seem random at best and intentional at worst. Fathomless depths of data and information confront us in our quest, confounding our best efforts. Sometimes it guides our hand safely (hunger driving us to eat), yet oftentimes it leads us astray (that beignet does NOT constitute a full meal, no matter how scrumptious-looking or tasty). Every day brings with it the weight of existence, of new problems, new strategies, new problems resulting from said strategies, all in a endless circle to circumvent our own physical and spiritual demise and of those closest to us.
And what of this endless circle? To what end do we fight these sisyphean battles, the exact same battles that have been fought, won, and lost by those before us?
What am I (and what are we) but an insignificant mote, buffeted by experiences and happenstance?
Indeed, the temptation to drown in that noisy void can be overwhelming. Yet there is a silken thread to follow here, holding us all from the depths.
That thread is your very own perception, your very own view of the world. It ties you to your past, to your memories and your reactions to them. It includes your present experience and every past event, memory, and impression that you use to process, collect, and act upon information new and old. With every thought and step, you weave your thread, drawing from the stuff of the universe as you pass through its chambers.
You connect the stars of your own constellation. You are the writer of your own tale.
And no matter the subject matter — the loss of a loved one, the thrill of reaching the mountaintop, the shame of failure — you yourself hold the pen. You cannot control the world around you. No one can.
But you alone can draw the connections. You alone can decide what it means.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
“Invictus” by William Earnest Henley