Be Strong. Take Heart.


What is something that almost everyone struggles with in life?  Clarity.  We ask ourselves over and over what will tomorrow bring, what is my five-year plan, will I live another day, when will I meet my soulmate, why am I in this relationship...  The string of why's and what if's are infinite.  Yet we when look to our past, we can see then and only then an almost perfect clarity.  We can see our mistakes, what we did right, what we did wrong and also how we got to where we are right at this moment.  It is when we try to look forward that things can get confusing.

I remember my grandfather in his later years.  He always had such a peace about things.  It was like he had all the answers and he had everything figured out.  The truth is he had learned from his past that nothing is truly in our control and everything can change.  Once you realize that then your perspective on life changes.  That perspective in itself is a moment of clarity.

To gain this clarity perspective, you must first surrender to the fact that you can only control so much.  You can't truly control other people, gravity, bad luck, good luck or how the chips may fall if you will.  You might be able to control some things but if you look at the bigger picture many times you are reacting to the information that you have available to you.  You are also reacting to what you think you can do and what you see as your abilities or restraints in life.

To take things another step towards clarity, you must realize that not only are you not fully in control of you, others are not in control of you either.  We are all tethered together by forces we cannot see.  When something happens to one person, it usually effects others.  The bigger the splash, the bigger the wave or effect.  Sometimes we are moved by someone's reaction we see.  Sometimes we are moved by someone's words or how they eloquently gave us some knowledge we were seeking.  We gain the most clarity by listening to others that have experienced what we have not.  Those that have suffered, those that have lived through different things and people that seem to be able to always extract learning from experience.

Clarity has no formula.  I can't tell you what to do to achieve full clarity.  I can only share with you what I know at the moment.  And that is you must be at peace within yourself knowing that you are not in complete control of everything.  And that is ok.  Remember that no one else is either.  They may seem clear but most people battle the same issues of clarity or haven't experienced the realization that they truly are not in control.  Maybe those that think they have it all figured out have no clarity at all, just ignorant bliss.  Maybe those that realize and relinquish that they are not in control can smile because they have true clarity.

The past five years have been a gut check for me.  I thought that I had everything figured out.  I had a five, heck even a ten-year plan for what I was going to do.  Then I got sick, couldn't work anymore, lost my house, my car, all my savings until finally I lost my marriage.  At each point of loss, I would always say this must be the bottom and clarity will come soon.  And clarity never came completely at any point.  Sure I could look back and see things clearly.  But looking forward was thick mist, a fog if you will of uncertainties.

I would win some battles with my health and then lose ten others.  The weight of the world kept sitting on my shoulders until one day I realized that in order to survive, in order to thrive I had to let go of the things that I could not control.  I had to surrender to the fact that I can only do so much, can only try to be the best person I can be and then watch my seeds grow.

Sometimes what I would plant would be beautiful.  Sometimes the seeds never broke the soil.  But I was in control of planting the seeds and at least trying.  Sitting idle while the world went by wasn't going to help me gain clarity, get better or save my marriage.  Was it and is it a painful transition, sure it is.  But I have made a choice to go down a path. And down that path I will go until a better path comes before me or I can go no further.

What became clear to me is that I put the biggest limitations on myself out of fear or doubt.  When I cast aside those fears and doubts, I realized that I was holding myself back more than disease, what I thought others thought of me and even the circumstances out of my control.  I was holding myself back because I was afraid to fail, afraid to try and afraid to have more pain.  That's when I started seeing life a little more clearer.

Things began to change and the weight of expectations began to lift.  Do I have everything figured out?  Not even close.  Will I ever?  I hope not.  If I think I have everything figured out then I will have lost sight of the truth or I will be looking back on life instead of forward.  There are times that I still walk in fog but at least I have more and more days now that I don't worry about what tomorrow may hold.  And to me that is peace, that is clarity.

Andy BarwickComment