I get chills when I open with that sentence. Too often, I use it. So much I should have done, could have done, or would have done. Gazing in the mirror of the mind’s past, I see the wrong turns, the balls dropped, and the opportunities missed.
Things without remedy, should be without regard; what is done, is done.
There is no going back. To study history is to learn from the past, not to rewrite it. We learn in the hopes of not repeating the same mistakes. Experience is a wound not to be reopened. We let the scars of our shortcomings heal. The marks remind us to either go a different direction or to be more skillful in our next attempt. To stay in the past is to reopen the wounds of our mistakes and allow them to fester. Therefore, we must move forward.
But not too far.
Yet, I cannot help but go there anyway. I gaze at the clouds and see only the silver linings. I believe I can touch them. My excitement for tomorrow’s victories is so great that I relish the hit of dopamine flooding my brain. This intoxication, sublime in its fantasy, carries me on wings to the greatest heights. I could stay in this bliss forever, which means I must leave it with all haste. This drug, this dream, is beautiful. But it is an addictive trap that will keep me from where I belong.
The greatest obstacle to living is expectation, which depends on tomorrow and wastes today.
I hit play on the music. Again, I meditate. A daily practice that I fear I will never master. I want to go to the past. I long to explore the future. I belong in the present. Here is where I exist yet spend the least amount of time. The present is where my scars lead my footsteps. My actions bring me closer to the clouds I envision. If I cannot stay in the present, my hopes of the future will remain as only hope—distant, ephemeral, and without substance. My work can only be done in the present.
Do you know what you are? Hopefully by this time, you have figured it out. You know your strengths and weaknesses. You understand the opportunities available to you and the potential threats that could endanger you.
It takes an honest assessment to find out who you are. Anything else could create a dangerous illusion that masks your true self. What you are is here in the present. It is an accumulation of all your past choices. It is not what you hope to be. What you are is the facts of your life right now.
We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
The future will be the accumulation of your choices going forward. They will be combined with past decisions to create the next version of you. What will be your next version?
Shakespeare said we don’t know what we may become. This is true. The potential and the opportunities are there. Yet only some will capitalize on them. Others will sit back and be passively led. Their hopes and dreams will be nothing more than fantasy. Their fortunes and misfortunes will be no more than a product of chance.
Today is a new beginning. If fortune favors us with a tomorrow, it will be the next beginning. Though tomorrow is not guaranteed, we must still plan for it. We must act on those plans today so that we can be at a better starting point tomorrow. If we can continually build upon the plans of each day, we can get closer to our true potential and discover what we may be.
Neither strength nor endurance can be built overnight. You have to do the work over time. If you stop doing either one, you will lose it.
Courage is similar. Sure, there are some who can perform one great act of courage out of the blue, but they rarely survive it without paying an enormous price. To be courageous tomorrow, without ever doing anything courageous in the past, would be foolhardy. A more logical approach would be to build up to it. In time, your courage “muscle” will strengthen. You will be able to achieve feats you never imagined were possible.
Nothing will come from nothing. Dare for mighty things. –William Shakespeare
Dare today to move a little past your comfort zone. Be a little more daring each day and find yourself prepared when the moment arrives.
How far a little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. -William Shakespeare
It is time to turn up the brightness!
The Virtue of Charity
Many view the act of charity as financial aid to the less fortunate. But charity goes beyond gifts of money. We can be charitable in our actions to those who need it. We can lend a helping hand to those who are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. How far can a kind smile, a kind word, or a kind act go? Sometimes these gifts go much farther than money.
Go wisely and slowly, lest you rush, stumble, and fall. -William Shakespeare
Slow and steady wins the race.
The Virtue of Prudence
There is an unlimited wealth in having wisdom that goes beyond money, possessions, and social status. We can all grow in wisdom if we choose to pursue it. King Solomon regarded as one of the wisest to have lived said: Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding, for the gain of it is better than gain from silver, and its profit better than gold. –Proverbs 3:13-14
Can you hear the call of wisdom? It is there, we only have to listen.