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
Have you ever heard something that touched you at your core? I have. It’s always how I feel when I read this poem, it becomes personal.
In all my years of reading it (since I was 15 to be precise – thank you “Bat Shit Crazy” English teacher), I’m reminded of the will to keep going, often during times where everything else in me has given up. Where does that need to move forward and become better come from? I’m not sure but many people share the belief that it is from a Source more powerful than ourselves. An outside force, if you will.
But I’d like to believe that it comes from a memory.
In this day and age of competition and achievement, people of my generation (Generation Y, I believe) have been pushed to be all that we can be. We must be excellent at everything that we do and success is measured by some imaginary, and often unfair, metric that was around for our parents and grandparents.
“Grow up. Be smart. Earn great grades. Be athletic. Be well-rounded. Go to college. Graduate and get a job. Everyone can do this but you will have to do it amazingly well AND in a way that makes everyone around you comfortable.”
But what if what inspires your soul makes everyone uncomfortable? That’s what I think about now when I read that poem.
For 27 years, I’ve been groomed and meticulously conditioned to play the game using conventional rules. This is the way to “success.” But like so many of my peers, I’m disconnected. Success, to me, isn’t what it is to everyone.
Success to me is happiness. And happiness to me means that I’m comfortable and not triggered by situations that will lead to my depression. I’ve been there before and I hate going back.
Because when you’re covered in darkness, you’re never really happy. Lately, I’ve come to change my stance that depression is darkness. Instead darkness for me has been the dimming of my dream to meet the expectations (and comfort levels) of others. I move forward now and adversity is no longer an exercise that I liken to strength training. It just is and I been busy reteaching myself a spiritual truth – I am in control of my destiny.
This post is just a short post…a letter (or plea) to others like me. Let your soul wake up & let passion be your guide as you walk these roads in life. For it is the only thing that will let you be the Master of Your Fate and Captain of Your Soul.