Kahlil Gibran wrote "Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite. Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your oneness and melody. But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay the lovers of all your elements? Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either of your sails or rudder be broken, you can toss and adrift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason and ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is the flame that burns to it’s own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through it’s own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.
I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two guests loved in your house. Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and faith of both.
Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows-then your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and the thunder and lightening proclaim the majesty of the sky,- then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.” And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion."
I ponder if Kahlil's thought could be my own lullaby. I suppose it could be as I find it my own to soothe my mind when restless. For if not for passion or reason there would be no breath in my world as the seas have tossed my once empty soul that now rests easily. My world feels complete where it stands right now and yet I still search for more challenges, more depth, more of me.
Passion lies within me and it is not on a day where I find myself naked with the man who rocks my world or my bed but more to the understanding that passion has rocked my soul, shaken it and been the core of my values, my beliefs and creation.
The new me! - not in the beauty sense, but more of having a sense of self. An intuition that is stronger than a crystal ball and the insight to know my connectedness with mother earth and where I belong. There are the pathways that I have turned, traveled and rolled upon however they took me to brick walls and sometimes to places like ‘kryptonite’ where it was soon felt that I was holding onto something that was wrong and once letting it go I was on my way again.
Kryptonite, Superman’s evil rock that could kill him at any given moment; my kryptonite were the terrible thoughts and fear based behaviour that I experienced over days, weeks, months and years and if I held onto them, like the ice, they were killing all the “positive moments’ that were in front of me and there was nothing healthy about that. Kryptonite, just like the ice theory – it burns, it hurts and when that happens, it is time to let go as it does not help self-preservation. It can only kill you from the inside and most of the time I was just existing, not actually feeling alive, so there were many people, thoughts, fears etc that I released to self-preserve.
Unyielding passion. This is my 'belly fire' that drives me, creates a path of wonderment and thought but most importantly, a place where I can instill a sense of security to those in need.
I like the word security, for it was something I had searched for, for so long and now had found. Not in the arms of a man, but in the arms of myself. I love who I am, I know where I am going, I have a greater sense of self and love life. My life. That is my security knowing that I am accepting of myself 'flaws and all'. I love my flaws!
My passion has scared me at times. It was once the belief or feeling where I thought there was a bigger force inside me, someone else driving me as I had no idea where it was coming from and so I have learnt from my spiritual mentor - Morning Clouds - to honour it and go with it. Not to be afraid, as it is not here to scare me, but to guide me. I once thought that it was an old soul who had passed and who entered or had hijacked my body and was living in mine. Today, I believe my body is just a shell and everything inside is made up of 'stuff', values, morals, core beliefs, experience, spirit, culture, substance and most importantly a voice - my voice.
At times I thought it was their voice, their beliefs and their state of world making decisions and I would just go with the flow but not now. As time has gone on I know it is the entire universe connecting with me. Something deeper that I cannot see, but feel. I can look at myself in the mirror now and connect with how I think and feel and know that it is passion that drives me. The deep burning desire to feed my hunger for helping others. A purpose beyond all.
I certainly did not wake up one morning and say to myself ‘I am going to heal the world’ however. It was more to the point where I did not want anyone to go through what I did. Maybe I am or have been too sensitive, and there have been times where I have pushed myself too much to help others and have burned out in the long run as it was exhausting. I know that now. I know how much I can take on, what to take on and when to do it but most importantly, I know when it is toxic and not to go there.
Today I choose to live with a sense of purpose and passion, to help others because I can. I am happy and live by the seat of my pants again, risking all to gain something that I truly relish – an abundance of satisfaction. My human spirit is stronger than it has ever been and this is the message I would like to spread. I want to reach people who think their life is nothing. Who feel their life is dull, a life that runs by the clock and who have no social life. People, who need to feel connected, people who work too much and maybe that is 99% of the human race. Maybe they have lost their passion, their appetite? Maybe they have lost their Human Spirit.
I worry about the world of depression and how easily the word can be thrown around loosely to represent how we feel when mostly it could be that we are a little off balance and our world is just not right. Take a pill the doctors say - you will soon feel better! Bullocks - this is just a quick fix that fixes the moment but not the problem. Any person who is down in the dumps and wondering why their life sucks basically needs to find a solution, not take a pill. I feel doctors have lost their way with peoples lives, thoughts and feelings, whilst good psychologists and counsellors are too expensive for people who are from the lower socio-economic bracket, like I was. What saddens me most about this is that the Human Spirit is buried deep, and doctors and psychologists etc do little to help them find it. Instead, they give them a script for anti-depressants or ask them to book another session.
These are my opinions, my thoughts and my feelings because I have truly experienced the frustration and dis-connectedness with health professionals until I found the right formula that worked for me. I fought for my existence, I battled and struggled but there was no way I was going to take a pill. I knew my spirit was lost; I just had to find it again.
It has been 20 years and one month now. The fight, the battle, the climb and the reward was the creation of a new ME, my ROME and jaegerbomb iNC. A business which has been built with love, my experiences, my fights, my stumbles, my falls, my tantrums, my discoveries and the revelation that the coping mechanisms that were needed throughout my life were never ever taught at school and still are not.
Why is that?
We go to school to learn and be educated and some of us come out feeling helpless, lonely, scarred, bruised or very eager to please with high expectations.
Today, I am passionate about the Mental Toughness program I have written, as it teaches how to develop it, how to use it and how to keep it in your life. It has come from my Human Spirit experience, which has survived, stumbled, fallen and kicked on to feel alive again from suicide attempts 19 years ago. Mental Toughness kicked me, thumped me and woke me up! It was hard, confronting and at times I did not even want to look at myself, but over time it worked, it healed me and it is who I am now – emotionally intelligent, mentally tough with self-preservation! I have never been so aware of my ‘SELF’ and what I can do. I feel so free - there is no fear in my world!
Well, there is a little, but I put that down to keeping the fight in me. I suppose if I was completely fearless, I would not fight so hard for what I am passionate about and that makes sense to me!
The Human Spirit certainly cannot be taught. It has to be experienced, and of course it is very much part of you. It is in this area where I find counsellors and psychologists who have not experienced life-changing moments to be completely disconnected from their clients and the reality of it all, for it is not for one moment where I believe that they could possibly understand the desperation, the fear, the moment where one is either raped, drugged, attacked or trying to kill themselves. A textbook will never tell you how we feel and I wanted to know what it was that I could do to move forward, to heal and to cope. There was nothing in my sessions that moved me toward healing. It was more emptiness and a tear soaked seat belt drive on the way home.
When stuck on survival, my main concerns were about others, like me, who were not coping and labeled bi-polar because they had mood swings, tantrums, frustrating moments and where all they could do was throw something which would release the strangling hold of fear which would consume their body and mind. I have had my share of those moments and it makes me sad to know that the system let me down for I was not experiencing bipolar. I just could not cope. I was losing my identity through a debilitating back injury. I was losing my life as I could not work and discovered Government benefits with Centrelink, and this to me was demoralising!
So often I wondered how many were taking an anti-depressant just to wake their soul, which may be tortured but not completely lost and may be because they just could not cope? I wondered how many people felt suffocated just like me?
Today I worry about our returning troops and how they are coping. Our homeless Veterans, our youth who are either homeless, abused, neglected or suicidal. There is so much to be concerned about and it is for this very reason that I created The Phoenix Rising Foundation for them. A place to heal and in the next 5 years I have every opportunity to make it happen and open it to those who need the opportunity to create a new life. It is not a shelter or crisis centre. It is not a home for disadvantaged. It will be a retreat with a school and it will be home until they leave and it will still be ‘their home’ after they have left.
Passion I believe can be the absolute internal motivator and sadly it can also be the motivator of anti-social behaviour, leading to killings, abuse, greed and jealousy, but I would rather think about what good it does. Helping others, supporting others, success, achievement for with passion comes commitment, with passion comes the 5 D's, dedication, discipline, determination, desire and drive.
With me, passion is my internal compass guiding me north, and it has become my voice - the voice I once lost but now found.
Reason, every move I make has a reason. Every mistake I make has a reason. Every wall blocked, climbed or smashed, there is reason. I find out more about me through this and so yes, ‘I do rest in reason and move with passion’ as Kahlil writes. That’s my lullaby.
Pompoms, Red Wine, Love & Therapy came to me in the early morning of 2006. Around 4am actually and I went downstairs to the office and started writing. It has been my savior at times as I found the writing cathartic and moving.
This blog is based on the foundations of building the book and my journey and so I hope you will read with an open mind, embracing your fears and pushing healthy boundaries when living with trust.
I hope you get a giggle from it, the aha moment or maybe a ‘me too’ at times and remember - ‘life is not over if you break your nail or if you are dumped!’
What ever you want to do, do it now!
See you next month
Be kind to your SELF!