March 6, 2011
molly published this at 3:00 am
Alone. Thatâ€™s a state of being we must learn to identify, accept – even embrace if we are to move forward as individuals. If youâ€™ve been reading my previous blog entries in this series, my comprehension and interpretation of paradox is a common thread that runs through most of them. In order to be a strong partner; one must be able to function alone.
In order to contribute unselfishly and totally to a team or an effort, one must do the work to identify oneâ€™s strengths apart from the group. Thereâ€™s only one way to fully and thoroughly develop oneâ€™s autonomy – to be brought to the point where one is separated from all other illusions of community.
That said, none of us is ever really separate. Life really is like Obi Wan says: we are a collective Force. Alter one, affect the whole. However, each of us has the capacity to opt out of the stream of The Whole and to do some individual work in order to become a stronger component of it.
This matter of altering the plane under which one operates is optional. Lots of people elect to operate within the confines of security; the Known. Theirs is an existence that recalls to me the world of The Matrix. A churning pool of folks who eat noodles and pay their taxes. …Which is good, fine and â€œnormal.â€
But within this collective are those for whom this level of existence isnâ€™t enough. But how does one break free? How does one become â€˜independent?â€™
These are the sorts of theoretical mental calisthenics that keep me awake at night (and fuel coffee shop discussions – perhaps the two are related <g>).
â€œAlthough to be driven back upon oneself is an uneasy affair at best, rather like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials, it seems to me now the one condition necessary to the beginnings of real self-respect.â€-Joan Didion
One must go within to change what is without. Much as a seed has all the genetic wisdom contained within itself to become the mighty tree, you have within yourself everything you need to reach your goals. To reach your goals is hard work. Messy work. Usually painful work. But in order to live the authentic life, it is mandatory work.
We learn about ourselves in number of ways. Our first clue is our surroundings and our friends. We draw unto ourselves that which we believe we deserve; that which reflects who we perceive ourselves to be. Our friends are also an indications of our self esteem – in what relation do we place ourselves with our friends? Are we the ringleader? The learner? Until we can recognize not only where weâ€™ve placed ourselves but our intent in so doing, weâ€™re kinda just floating along, cosmically-wise.
Until we can live with ourselves, AS ourselves, we do not have the foundations of self-respect.
…A man goes far to find out what he is–
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.â€
-excerpt from the poem In a Dark Time, Theodore Roethke
Here we return to paradox: death of the self begets freedom through itself and God (which can be interpreted by some as Source). But if youâ€™ll notice, the author is able to recognize fear in this process. He notices and discards/rejects it in order to articulate his freedom.
If youâ€™ve ever worked with metal, you know that heat purifies. It burns away dross and leaves the essential elements. Heat, in our lives can be literal, but most of the time, itâ€™s figurative. I heard the quote, â€œif you canâ€™t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchenâ€ from early childhood. By way of comparison, in this particular instance of Roethkeâ€™s poem, fear is â€˜the heat.â€™
When it comes to the purifying nature of fear, I donâ€™t know of a better example of a linear, step-by-step explanation of how fear can be harnessed and overcome than the following excerpt from Frank Herbertâ€™s 1965 speculative fiction book, Dune:
â€œI must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.â€ - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
So youâ€™ve gone through the fire. Youâ€™ve faced your yourself and your fears. Now you can, with a clear-eyed perspective, take responsibility for your life and move forward. Whatâ€™s neat is how your perspective has shifted. If youâ€™ve been paying attention throughout your journey, youâ€™ll note that your path has incorporated all of the elements you wanted to avoid in your life, but, like the elements of the seed, were necessary to your growth.
â€œ…but Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man That he didn’t, didn’t already have.â€ – America
By striking out on your path alone (but still in concert with others), you have developed your individuality. You are stronger than you were before your journey. Just like Dorothy (whose courage was manifested as a lion; bravery as a tin man and heart as a scarecrow), you have within you the keys to your own freedom. The power is within you, and has been all along.
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter asÂ @mckra1g orÂ @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation)