Friday, February 5, 2010

INVICTUS

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.

-William Ernest Henley, 1875

I can only imagine the lives of my forefathers. I can only imagine the hardships they must have endured, as everyday life was a struggle to survive. Survival. This word has all but lost its meaning in today's world. At the time of the first humans, survival was literally LIFE. They never knew what would await them when they woke up... what great beast would be waiting to make them their next meal. They had to search out food and water, track prey, kill it, and eat it. They had to climb tall trees to reach highly fibrous fruit (not what we today know as "fruit". They had to forage for nuts and berries, gathering a handful at a time...

Today, we wake up in our heated or cooled homes, on a comfortable bed, go to the grocery store in our cars, buy pre-packaged meat and vegetables, buy nuts and seeds by the bucket-load, cook with pots and pans over a gas or electric stove, and drink potable water from a faucet piped directly into our kitchens. We never have to worry about where our next meal will come from, or if a hungry lioness will try to make us her next meal.

I am not proposing that we revert back to the stone age. What I propose is that we take a look in the mirror and a look at our lives. How hard is it? For me, the answer is: EASY. If you are reading this, then your answer should be the same. You are sitting in front of a computer, looking at words that have been posted on the internet. Wow.

The closest that I can come to the survivalist days of my ancestors is to try and imitate the way they ate... Weak sauce. I try to imitate the way they lived by pushing myself to my physical limits as much as I can bear... A feeble effort at best. I want to take this moment to honor all those who have come before me: those who fought off harsh winters, famine and predatory animals... all those who survived the bubonic plague in Europe, made the trip from there to the Americas and started new lives - unknowing of the future that awaited... all those Men and Women who endured the most brutal landscapes and wars and environments to SURVIVE.

I would not be here if it were not for them. Neither would you. So I ask again: How hard is your life?

I ask you to read this poem again. Try to comprehend what he has so greatly expressed in simple words. Will you encounter hardships? If you are alive, you most likely will. It is your mental attitude - your unwillingness to be conquered by anything - that will make you a man or a woman. Will you be beat down by work, relationships, stress and finances? Will you let your MID get the better of you and tell you that you CAN'T do this, or CAN'T do that because of X, Y and Z? If that is the case, the reality is that you WON'T do this or that, because you have already decided not to. Make the decision to push past the boundaries of mediocrity and be great. Make the decision to LIVE.

INVICTUS.


1 comment:

  1. Great post Mike! That's one of my favorite poems.

    ReplyDelete