It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
Winston Churchill shared, “When you are walking through Hell, keep walking.”
On Memorial Day, it strikes me as very important to remember those who forced themselves to continue in service of country, and who made the ultimate sacrifice in the process.
In times of strife, fear, disappointment, despair, and overwhelm, there truly is only one answer to get through the variables which you are confronting.
In those moments, our only alternative is to dig deep within, find some element to hold onto, and create an internal focus that drives us through the moment and into the next.
For some it comes in the form of prayer, and others, through focus and determination. In either case, the person is leveraging their mind to bring solutions and options to the forefront of the cacophony that surrounds them. It causes many of the distractions to take a back seat to solving the matter at hand, and only then do the opportunities they are praying for or meditating on, manifest into reality.
One might argue that it is in the darkest moments that it is the most difficult to focus on anything. In fact, complete surrender appears far more inviting than toughening up and facing whatever it is that is so oppressive as to make the rest of life interminable.
If you have survived such a moment as almost all of us have, you will reflect on what you ultimately did that allowed you to transverse the chasm from chaos back into sanity. In most cases, I would presuppose that they action taken started by facing the cold hard facts without any sugar coating. From those facts would arise an unmistakeable truth. One that may very well shake us to the core and leave us trembling in the new reality we are facing. That is the crucible for change. For in that completely raw, unprotected state of acceptance comes the opportunity for the most important step… evaluating one’s options, given the honest assessment of what is genuinely available at one’s disposal.
With all of the fantasy solutions eliminated, one is finally left with options. The options may not be inviting or exciting, but they are what they are. Upon making a choice and initiating one or more options at that moment, the empowerment of having gone through that experience becomes the foundation for the next chapter of one’s life.
When it is diagrammed, it appears so obvious and simple, yet when we are in misery, in the thick of such an experience, the choices are blurred by hope, desire, fantasy, ego and other filters that honestly impede any such progress.
When Aristotle, (one of the wealthiest shipping magnates in history), makes such a statement, his choice of the word focus (I believe) is to weed out all of the distractions that bear no value other than creating distraction from the task at hand, and turn all internal resources into valuable allies that will help one navigate the narrow chasm through which they must pass in order to arrive at the appropriate positive conclusion.
If you look at most dramatic stories, you will notice that the protagonist, almost without exception, is forced to such a pinnacle moment of crisis right at the very end of the film. It is called “the apparent defeat.” In this moment, the protagonist must defeat the antagonist, in order that they may achieve the desire that has driven the entire story. In real life, you are that protagonist, and you must defeat the antagonist that is oppressing you in order that you may pass through the chasm into safe harbor.
Happy Memorial Day!