Watching the news can at times be challenging to one’s spirit. If in half an hour you are guaranteed to see some measure of warfare, or insurgents’ exploded artefacts and carnage, it can be hard for some people to find much to look forward to in life.
Sometimes these scenes remind me of the old Giles comics my dad used to collect about a bunch of little kids terrorising whoever they could. That’s when people associated this word with minor acts of antagonism, when parents would demand of their children to stop “terrorising the poor little animal.” Now people think of guns and bombs and planes.
As a writer, I am always intrigued by the many interpretations of a word or series thereof. Perhaps even concerned. ‘Gay’ used to mean happy. Now it’s what some consider a sickness and others something quite natural. Our words are interpreted by hundreds if not thousands, just by the broadness or not of their minds.
We can be great writers, inspiring schools of others to follow suit, boring to the point of exasperation, motivating people to change their lives, mediocre enough to entertain but say little of consequence. We can be judged by one sentence alone, and that sentence can lift or bury us.
Somebody once told me that any artist – musician, writer, or other – has to bare their soul and heart in order for their creations to be real and truly appreciated by others. Taking it in a literary sense, you have to open your book to the world. Some of us can do this, others are afraid. We spend lifetimes in confinement, showing only fractions of ourselves to family and friends… sometimes not even our lifetime partners see everything. It may sound daunting, make you feel that you have to show every page, every word, every little detail you often work so hard to keep secret in order to secure your uniqueness.
Think again. We have the power to bend and break, shape and mould, show and tell. We can create love, fear, hope, rage – all with a few simple words… when sometimes it was not our intention to do any of these. However, we shouldn’t be afraid to show ourselves because we can still take refuge. We can constantly recreate ourselves as and when we want to, there’s no need to hold back. That’s the wonder of creativity.
And this creativity is not just limited to so-called artists… every human being has it. It is our ultimate power. Most of us have forgotten this – dampened and conditioned by rules of society, laws, insecurity, general fear of the unknown, and watered down by fatigue.
“Life,” they call it, with a wry smile.
‘Life,’ ladies and gentlemen, really is a bed of roses, only somebody forgot to take the thorns off.
And we have become accustomed to walking on these thorns over and over again, depriving ourselves of the chance to heal on that softer side. If we’re not shown or told otherwise, we risk becoming those thorns, and we walk into each other with hidden or revealed anger, because that’s what we think we must do.
Yes, we make mistakes. And yes, it is not uncommon for us to make the same ones several times.
“You won’t learn without suffering,” they say.
‘Suffering,’ ladies and gentlemen, is largely self-imposed. Is a result of ignorance and a systematic breakdown of the self. We don’t need wars to destroy each other, we have ourselves. We’re more than enough. The mind can be the greatest friend and the greatest traitor.
Often we find ourselves standing in the arena, with roaring crowd all around and lion straight ahead, ready to leap and make its meal of us. Our weapon lies broken in the dust behind the threatening beast.
But our true weapons – heart, courage, soul – these lie hidden deep within our very essence.
They’ve been there all the time.
And that beast – fear, anger, emptiness – is not as unconquerable as we thought.
And that crowd – the mayhem of our thoughts – we can silence it with our discovered confidence.
We can be the strongest warriors of all time, if only we let ourselves.
After all, change is eternal.
Our lives are constantly being pushed around by outer and inner influences, but we have to learn that we can fight back.
So the lion now lies on the sand, exhausted, defeated. You’re tired too, but you now know what you’re capable of. And if you should have to fight another beast or even the reflection in the mirror, you know what to do.
Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
Pick Yourself Up
Nothing’s impossible I have found
For when my chin is on the ground
I pick myself up, dust myself off, start all over again
Don’t lose your confidence if you slip
Be grateful for a pleasant trip
And pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again
Work like a soul inspired till the battle of the day is won
You may be sick and tired but you’ll be a man my son
Don’t you remember the famous man who had to fall to rise again?
They picked themselves up, dust themselves off and started all over again
Written by Jerome David Kern