Sunday, February 17, 2013

Belonging – part 2 points 1, 2. 
Here are some fundamental tools that will help you define your place of belonging:

1.      1.  Be at peace with yourself
Inner strength is often seen as outward confidence. If you can’t find inner peace, you will never find external contentment. Whatever philosophy you subscribe to, the secret of finding inner peace is recognizing where you belong. Often being in the wrong place is a great stimulus for revealing where one should be. Some years ago, I sought work outside of my country due to months of being unemployed. The plan was to be re-united with my family when settled. Everything went fine. I found work, my wife sold the dog, car and accommodation and yet I felt like a fish out of water. Everything on the outside seemed right, but internally I was disfranchised. I had a house but no home, money but no meaning. I am acquainted with re-locating, so that wasn't the issue, it was having no sense of belonging. The inner compass was pointing south and after a few weeks, I returned to Auckland. Though that trip cost me thousands of dollars, it served as a lesson to me to this day. “Be at peace with yourself!”  

2. Take time to define the real you
Often it’s easier to define ones-self when one is older as the years lived, have a way empowering us in our choices. Building inner character is often defined in the way one is able to choose, despite external opposition or persuasion. I have noticed that as each generation enters the stadium of life, it brings with it an apparent inability to live void of external stimulus in daily life. This continual bombardment of the senses leaves little time for critical thinking or self evaluation. Without such, our lives are defined by the opinions of others. Mentored by lyrics and advertising moguls, we live out our life according to their cash fueled philosophy. Unfortunately, that philosophy changes like the wind and incessant fashion trends, leaving a young mind shaped. I believe one of the greatest abilities bestowed upon man, is one’s ability to think. Out of that ability comes one of mans greatest powers, the power to choose.

Without doubt, defining ones inner values and personal integrity will bare a cost that many decline to pay. Ultimately, paying the price will set your compass for life and assist you in navigating through the pending storms that life will bring. One can never truly enjoy the benefits of community if ones inner being is at conflict with one’s self. The English poet John Donne, penned such a perspective in his poem.

No Man Is An Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
There is a unfathomable divergence, between pride and assurance. We are besieged by a plethora of celebrities, idols and attitude a plenty. There is a growing absence of discretion, integrity, loyalty and truth. We have chosen as a society to live apart from the whole and imbibe the consequences as being inevitable.

We truly are living in an age (as the 70’s artists) Blue Mink put it:
“What we need is a great big melting pot
Big enough to take the world and all it's got
And keep it stirring for a hundred years or more
And turn out coffee colored people by the score”

They are great lyrics and with an idealistic philosophy. Problem is, no amount of external change will affect the inward driving force that is man; unless we activate the ability to think and make some personal choices.

Consider this poem (often attributed to anon or other wrongly attributed authors)

The Guy in the Glass
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgment upon, you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

 He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

 You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934