Sunday, 27 October 2013

To Fight, Or Not To Fight? That Is The Question

It has recently been brought to my attention, that two words more than any others tend to feature in my writing.  Those are the words love and fight.  I must wholeheartedly agree that I do use the word love frequently, since it is my belief that love is the driving force behind life, and as such, is one of the most important words ever written.  So then, what about the word fight?  Why would that word occur so often and is my use of it indicative of some deeper subconscious thinking, some underlying thought that shapes my life?

Fight.  I went to the internet and typed it into Google and I found this as the second part of a definition: struggle to overcome, eliminate, or prevent.  It is the first term used here that instinctively connects with me - the struggle to overcome.  When I write about the fight, I am writing about the need to overcome all of the barriers and impediments to achieving your dreams and your goals in life.  Given enough time and determination, it is possible to succeed, and to find yourself walking on your one true path, that path which will lead you to glory, and to the discovery of the light that resides within.  In his writing, Paulo Coelho refers to this as 'fighting the good fight', and it is this sentiment that I often echo in my own writing through the expression of my own thoughts and experiences.  Walking the path is not easy.  Many times you will find yourself challenged, banging your head against a seemingly impenetrable barrier, and these are the times when it is necessary to take a stand and fight for what it is that your heart would have you do.    
When I was first confronted with the idea that I am constantly fighting, my initial reaction was one of dismissal.  I try to live my life in as peaceful, calm and quiet existence as is possible, but at the same time, I also knew that the words that I read touched a nerve and rankled me.  They could only do that if there was an element of truth in them, and I knew, deep down inside that there was a real truth in them.  My whole life has been a fight, or perhaps it is better to describe it as a series of fights.  I fought for the love and affection of my parents; I fight to be accepted by my brother; I continually fight against seeing myself as overweight; I fought my way from working on a factory production line and to a successful career; I fought to give up smoking; I fought to gain recognition and acceptance from my superiors and peers at work; I fought against the voice inside of my heart that told me all I had to do was to be myself; I fought to win the heart of girls and women who perhaps did not deserve me; I still fight to see my own reflection as something other than unattractive; I fight to see my soul as better than worthless.  In short, my entire life has been and still is a fight, and the one fight that governs it all, the one overarching theme, is the fight for love and acceptance.    

My friend wrote that it seemed to her that I was always fighting for love and for life, and that perhaps I should try to see them as friends, rather than the fire breathing dragon against which I, like a knight from Arthurian legend, am always fighting.  I read her e-mail once, I went away and I read it again a little time later.  As I read through this second time, a ray of sunlight shone out from behind the clouds, shooting forth its life giving golden beam of light.  It was as though I had been stripped down naked and my soul laid bare.  A truth had been revealed to me and I felt the weight of its meaning and the repercussions that will surely come from the discovery of it.

Throughout my entire life, or at least for as long as my memory allows me to know, I have seen and portrayed myself as an underdog.  I am Rocky Balboa, plucked from obscurity to take on the heavy weight champion of the world, Apollo Creed; I am Luke Skywalker up against the might of the Empire; Ernest Shackleton and his men, lost and alone in the Antarctic, battling against hunger, the bitter cold, and the extremities of life at the South Pole; I see myself as the hapless guy from one of those romantic comedies that Hollywood churns out, who falls for the girl that fails to see him for all that he is, until finally the light dawns and he wins her over; I am the archetypal superhero, who must surely be counted down and out, whose cause seems to be all but lost, before rising once more to vanquish his enemy.  I have always had great empathy for the underdogs in life, for I count myself as one in their number. 

The way in which I have lived my life, can perhaps best be summed up by a verse from Walt Whitman's poem, A Song Of Joys:- 

O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted!
To be entirely alone with them, to find how much one can stand!
To look strife, torture, prison, popular odium, face to face!
To mount the scaffold, to advance to the muzzles of guns with perfect nonchalance!
To be indeed a God!

Until now.  The light that switched on in my head has revealed to me the errors that I have been making.  Why should I find myself fighting for the love of a person who is not reciprocating in kind?  A love not given freely is no love worth attaining.  Why should I persist in destroying the foundations on which my life stands, only to have to build it up once more?  What I realised is that there are certain times and situations that will require me to fight - the bringing to fruition of my dreams and the yearnings of my heart are those times.  In all other situations, I must cease my fighting.  There is a need for acceptance and through this acceptance, I believe I can begin to find some peace in my heart.  If I have to fight for the recognition of my achievements, if I have to fight in order for someone to see me for the person who I am, then these people truly do not deserve me.  They have no right to have a place in my life and my continuation with them serves me no purpose.  If fact, it is detrimental, negative, and hurtful.  Certainly things I really could do without.  There is enough to get on with in life, without having these kinds of people involved.  It does not necessarily mean that I will eliminate them entirely, for surely some of these people I cannot eliminate from my life, but it does mean that I have to ignore them and not to think of their reactions to me as a sense of failure on my part.  I cannot waste my energy trying to make people like me and want to spend time with me.  Either you do, or you do not and if you do, then surely I will know it, I will never have to question it, and I will never have to chase you.

That is a new realisation.  A sense of failure on my part.  Yes, that is exactly how I have always seen it.  That is why I fight so hard.  I try to show everyone that rightness of myself, my thoughts and my beliefs.  I feel a strong need to justify myself and my actions.  I am driven by this need to not be a failure, to be somehow better, stronger, more self-sufficient, more able.  I can see that now and I am able to see how it has governed and shaped my entire life.  I need to work on this understanding, to know that it is perfectly acceptable for someone not to like everything that I do or say, to accept that I cannot make everyone like me, that it is perfectly normal to fail sometimes, and perhaps most importantly of all, that it is okay to show weakness and vulnerability to others.  I cannot always be the rock, nor can I always be the shoulder on which others seek to lean.  If someone does not see me for who I am and all I can offer, that is not my failure, that is their failure to open their eyes fully and to see the person that stands before them.

I need to let things take their natural course.  I have to back off and allow situations to play out naturally and of their own free will.  There is no amount of force that I can bring to bear against another person's heart that could possibly alter what is written there.  Love either exists, or it does not.  There is either a desire to be with me, or there is not.  You can accept me, or you cannot.  Someone will either want to be part of my life, to know me, to understand the person that I am, or they will not.  What I have to be able to do is to find peace and acceptance with that, rather than perceiving it as a challenge, as another barrier to be overcome.  Perhaps this all sounds so simple and obvious, and I suppose it is now that I have written it down and thought it through, but when you live your own life, those things that you do out of pure instinct and old, rigid and habitual behaviours, are incredibly hard to see, let alone change.

Peace with love and peace with life.  It is for those things that I shall choose to seek and strive.  And it is my belief, that in so-doing, I will also find an inner peace within myself and most importantly, within my heart.  Perhaps it is the tormented soul that brings out the poet in me, perhaps I have not been alone in my struggles with life and how I have seen myself, perhaps I share that with other poets and tortured souls.  That does not necessarily justify that thinking, nor does it make it right.  So Walt, I say this to you.  You can keep your struggles against great odds, and you can indeed go alone to meet enemies undaunted, for I make this promise to myself: I will look for peace in love and peace in life and fight only for that next step which takes me just a little further along the path of my dreams.  If you want to walk with me, then do so because you truly wish to be there, for if not, I am done fighting to have you in my life and I bid you adieu.

1 comment:

  1. At last I have the time to send you something that made me think of you and this blogpost this weekend. I'm reading The Power of Now by E. Tolle and here is what he says about repeating the same subconscious patterns over and over again:

    "Usually, the future is a replica of the past. Superficial changes are possible, but real transformation is rare and depends upon whether you can become present enough to dissolve the past by accessing the power of the Now. What you perceive as future is an intrinsic part of your state of consciousness now. If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future which, of course, can only be experienced as the Now.
    You may win $10 million, but that kind of change is no more than skin deep. You would simply continue to act out the same conditioned patterns in more luxurious surroundings. If it is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that determines the future, then what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence. So the only place where true change can occur and where the past can be dissolved is the Now."

    Not sure if it makes sense to you. It made a lot of sense to me about why I repeat things over and over again. My own transformations in the past have certainly been superficial and driven by change of actions, rather than change of focus.

    Reading your post gives me the impression that you too, used to plan "ahead" rather than looking at the now, used to hang onto dysfunctional relationships in the hope of future happiness, completely ignoring your present suffering. You did it because you thought you were doing yourself a favour by building a better tomorrow. Whereas you were poisoning your todays over and over again.

    Transformation... deeper than skin... I assume that would be transformation all the way down to our heart and our love for ourselves.
    Transformation... that lasts longer than tomorrow... I assume it's transformation that only focuses on the today.

    xxx D