The cover photograph for my Blog site is the painting on the side of the barn at Whitebottom Farm by Paint Sayers. The words are the final lines of the poem ‘Invictus’ written in 1875, by William Ernest Henley.
‘Invictus’ is Latin, meaning ‘unconquerable’. The poem is about stoicism, about courage in the face of adversity. It is about being unbreakable and refusing to accept defeat.
Following the difficulties of last year (read the posts in ‘Secrets’ to find out more) and after the cessation of my counselling, I enrolled on a mindset and well-being course, recommended by a friend, called ‘Unbreakable’.
Over the period of seven weeks leading up to Christmas, I was to learn an awful lot more about myself and how I could be stronger in my own mindset. I was strengthening my own mental health.
During the months of counselling during 2020, I had come to realise that I actually possessed a real a inner resilience, a stoicism, which had seen me through so many traumas in my life, especially as a child. Now, during the process and involvement with ‘Unbreakable’, I came to the realisation that I was just that ~ unbreakable. It was at this point and this realisation, that the words from Invictus came to mean so much more to me.
I believe that our soul, our spirit, that which makes us, us, is a gift, a gracious gift from God; I also believe that He has given us free will to steer the course of our own lives, and to make our own choices.
We will each face all manner of circumstance in the course of our life and I know, all too well, that some may be particularly adverse, dark or traumatic.
Over the past year I’ve discovered that during such difficult times we need to take over as the Captain of our own soul and steer our ship into the Port of Help; and we will find it. We will find the help we need in the people who come into our lives, we will find help in the support we receive, sometimes from unexpected sources. Part of being unbreakable is knowing when we can’t stand on our own, when we need to turn to somebody else for support. All too often, people feel to ask for help is a sight of weakness. On the contrary, it is a sign of strength. It is a sign of taking control and recognising what we need and bringing it into play in our lives.
‘Ask and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you’ (Matthew 7:7)
I believe that the God given gift of my soul remains His, but I believe it is mine to Captain, and that the decisions I make, and my response to the events of my life will determine my fate. Being a Master, being a Captain, means not being too proud to realise that somebody else might know better than we do, might have the answers we need, and be able to help us better than we can manage on our own.
In order to be ‘Unbreakable’, I have come to believe that we have to know in fullness, our own mind, to really get to know ourselves through and through. We then need to learn how to love and cherish that self enough to make positive choices, so that we can work towards being the very best version of ourselves, each and every day.
In this transient life, we do not know what we will face from one day to the next, but what we can all do, is to decide how we approach each new day; and we can also decide to seek help when we need it, and trust that it will always be given.
Our soul is a given, it is a gift, but it is within that gift that we have the choice to be ‘the master of our fate’ and the ‘Captain of our soul’.