Search for the Sword

Though much is taken, much abides;

… that which we are, we are,

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Most of us received no sword from our fathers. Instead we inherited an awkward club, or an attitude, or a wound. So, we say “yes” when we mean “no.” We pound our point into the ground, and we abuse others with our foul dispositions.

All the while we wish for a sword sharp enough to amputate our dysfunction, to cut through the crap daily life can dish out, to sever the umbilical cords that bind us to people and places in our history. We want a sword that gleams in the darkness, that lights our way, that shines for those less fortunate or those too small or weak to stop the abuse they’re receiving. We must find this sword and remove the dust it has collected. Then we must learn when to wield it and when to sheath it.

Today I’ll search for this sword. When I find it, I’ll keep it close to my briefcase, my pocket, my soul.

Excerpt from A Quiet Strength: Meditations on the Masculine Soul

The False Self

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

As boys we learned that we had to find out who others wanted us to be. Then we were taught we had to become that person in order to get acceptance, appreciation, and love – things we should have gotten just for being ourselves.

We developed the habit of creating a “false self.” This Self became so convincing that at times even we believed it was real. Afraid to be who we really were, to feel what we felt, to say what we needed to say, and to do what we thought was right, we created a drama and playacted our way through our lives. Our performance, however, was sometimes a painful tragedy that the ones who really loved us could hardly bear to watch.

Now we’re ready to bring the play to its end, and let our authentic life begin. We’re discovering, ever so slowly, that there are people in the world who will embrace our true Self – as long as we’re willing to show it.

Today I give up the drama I created to survive. I trust that I don’t have to play two-bit parts, that I can be wholly who I am. When I live my life like this, absorbed in the truth, I hear the inner applause resounding.

Excerpt from A Quiet Strength: Meditations on the Masculine Soul