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You are the Captain of Your Soul

~I don’t know if this is off putting or not, but I pray over what I should post about and today, this is what came to mind~


by William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

~You are the Captain of Your Soul~

In this post, I would love to show just how valuable visualizing yourself as the captain of your own ship can be. I had a dear client reach out with turmoil in her life, and as I meditated on the issues, this visual came flooding in:

Imagine for a moment that you are sailing a ship down a strait towards your desired destination. What is steering that ship is a small helm (aka your brain…and small comparatively, Haha) and you, my friend, are THE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP.

Can you feel the freedom just blowing in your face? You get to choose where you are going.

Now imagine that the winds are shifting- heavy waves appear, lapping at your ship. This is something you CANNOT control. What do we do next?

*Do we give in to the wind and waves?

*Do we find ourselves high centered on the shore- stuck because we fell victim to our circumstances?

*Or worse yet… are we capsizing?

*Is our circumstance too great for us to handle alone? Do we try to steady the ship but she is still sinking?

Now we see everything that was in the ship (everything that WAS in our control) floating all around us. Desperately we grasp for what we once had, what we were…a Captain!

My dear friends, this is why I do what I do. This is why I desperately try to teach navigational tools! WHEN you find yourself upon “life's billows, tempest tossed” I want you to know how to adjust your sails. How to steady your course, how to reach out for help when the waves just get too big to handle alone. If you become the victim, then who is the captain?

If you have already found yourself marooned, it’s going to take some effort to push that ship back into the waters.

(Next Monday my focus is going to be on “Momentum” which will come in handy here too)

But before you dig in…exhausted from the storm, just stop for a moment.

Find a place of solitude and rest your bones.

Once your mind has settled, you can problem solve with more clarity and inspiration.

My 11 year old daughter went to a workshop on Saturday on mindfulness and came back with a great visual: Draw a circle and write your problem in the middle. Then outside the circle write all your fears and concerns about it. Draw another circle on a different page, with the issue inside and meditate on it. What do you really need?

Can we neutralize this fear?

Just like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, colors opposite each other on the color wheel neutralize each other. Red neutralizes green, blue neutralizes orange, and yellow neutralizes purple.

The same is true for emotions.

What emotion can neutralize fear? Maybe it’s trust.

What about anger? Maybe it’s compassion.

Now let’s visit circumstance number two:

You have capsized, and you feel like you are drowning. You have lost all control of what you once had, and you can’t see how you can ever get out of this situation.

This one usually requires some help. Don’t be afraid to go to a trusted friend, mentor, coach or counselor. As you work towards putting your ship (or life) back together, be very mindful of what you want to keep and what you need to let go.

*What weight were you carrying that possibly contributed to the capsize?

Maybe it was the expectation of others? Self-limiting beliefs such as who am I to think I can do this? I’ll never be as good as so and so, I keep making mistakes, so why try?

*What can you use to put yourself together that is productive and useful?

I have to add this little thought that won’t leave me alone- I was at a mindfulness summit years ago, and we were doing a meditation practice and the music they chose to use was the melody of a beloved hymn sung by pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, as they crossed the plains towards Utah. It made me giggle at first, knowing they had no idea what the music actually was, and then as I sang the words I had a transcendental experience that strengthened me through that entire year. Let me share the words that gave me strength to keep moving on.

The song was “Come, Come Ye Saints”-

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear

But with joy wend your way

Though hard to you this journey may appear

Grace shall be as your day

'Tis better far for us to strive

Our useless cares from us to drive

Do this, and joy your hearts will swell

All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?

'Tis not so, all is right

Why should we think to earn a great reward

If we now shun the fight?

Gird up your loins, fresh courage take

Our God will never us forsake

And soon we'll have this tale to tell

All is well! All is well!

Don’t shun the fight, and soon you’ll have this tale to tell…all is well! All is well!

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