I believe that we all hold within ourselves a core of being. A place that is ours and ours alone. How we treat this core, and how we understand it has a huge impact on whether we are able to deal with the traumatic and life altering hardships that fate may send our way. This core, if maintained, strengthened, and provisioned, can be source of the utmost strength and perseverance, and more than that, it can give us the confidence to show empathy and mercy. If neglected and left to rot, the core can become a poison in our veins, a weight upon us, and a void of doubt and fear within our being.
Looking back at my life, I remember a time when I left my core alone. I didn’t want to embrace what it held within, there was too much pain and too much anger. It just seemed better to leave those aspects of my character trapped and isolated, to block and trap those energies that I thought were harmful. By shutting off that core of my being, I lost so much. I lost my fire, my drive, and my passion. I became apathetic, passive, and hopeless, and eventually, the things that i once loved held no joy for me. Over time this led me to turn to drugs in order to distract myself from the disease within my own being, a disease that manifested itself as a deep depression and serious mental illness.
For a time, I acted recklessly and without concern for the outcome of my actions. I was concerned only with the immediate – what I could see right then, in that moment. This blindness eventually landed me in court, standing in front of a judge and explaining the stupidity of my actions. My blindness and my barriers within, manifested completely in my life when I was sent to the physical version of what was already the core of my being: a prison. Only now, instead of looking in, I was on the other side of the fence.
Although I don’t believe that prison serves much of a purpose generally speaking, for me, it did allow and force the contemplation of my being. Isolation breeds self-thought, and self-thought can breed understanding. While locked away, I was forced to confront the core of my being, I was forced to use that fire in order to survive. In order to avoid losing myself among the storm of hatred, contempt, and loathing that was heaped upon me, I had to accept every aspect of who I really was. The seemingly dangerous aspects of character within my core were released, but I knew myself well enough then to know that I had to channel those powers if they were to aid me on my path of self-redemption. I channeled my fire and my anger into productive pursuits, like physical training, education, definition of morals, and independence of my spirit. Although I was locked away, my mind and my spirit roamed free, and nothing anyone said or did to me could dissuade me from what was now my goal. I opened the core of my being, I worked and forged what I found there into a Fortress of my being. I built something within myself that was mine and mine alone, fully embraced, accepted, wanted, and appreciated. My fortress became my strength, it became that which allowed me to remain whole in an environment designed specifically to break me. I saw so many fall to the forces of guilt and self-loathing, I saw so many return to “Freedom” only to take the prison with them and have it manifest in their life once again. I saw so many break…
Not me, not ever. Failure isn’t permanent unless you allow it to be. As long as you are willing to truly admit and accept the errors of your ways, endure and overcome your guilt, and strive to never make the same mistake twice, then success and fulfillment of your being is ensured. I made a decision then, that no matter what else happened to me in life, I would turn it into something good. I would take every negative energy that manifested in my life, and I would change it with the force of my being into something good. I would find the positive seed in every evil thing and I would nurture it until the evil was forced out and the light and warmth of love left the shadow of fear behind it. I would not pay forward the winds of evil that were buffering me so violently and I would stay true to what I knew I was and what I always had been: a person who wanted to do good.
As I sit here and write this, a truly free man, I look back on my short 24 years. So much pain and so much beauty…
I have no regrets, for the fortress of my being was forged in the fires of evil, but it became the necessary balance and antipathy to the environment in which it was created. According to the laws of the universe, the things I encountered in life, and the actions that brought me low had to breed their opposite. That opposite, that beacon of goodness that I finally opened myself to became my Fortress. It became the center of my being and the source of all my accomplishments since that point.
I hope that my writing this will help others to understand that no matter what any of us have done, no matter how many bad or wrong choices we’ve made. We have the opportunity right now, in this moment, to make a good choice, to make a right one. You can err a thousand times, but when you finally get it right, the mistakes of the past don’t make you any less right in that moment. Our past may be dark, but we all have the opportunity to shed light in this moment.
By accepting ourselves, fully, and embracing who we are, we can take take the core of our being and turn it into a fortress. The way in which we strike out from within that fortress is entirely up to us.
4 Rules from “The Fortress”
1. Build a Foundation.
The core of your being must be concentrated around a set of principles. Whatever your beliefs, do not allow exceptions when it comes to adhering to them. If life requires you to bend or break your own rules, either change your ways, or change your rules. Such is the key to maintaining Self-Respect.
2. Seek Challenge.
That which is easy breeds apathy and lifelessness. Always strive to challenge yourself in all that you do. When given a choice between an easy path, and a difficult one, take the harder road. Such is the key to personal growth and the way to true fulfillment within oneself.
3. Understand and Master the Force of Balance.
All that which you do or strive for, whether it be for good or for ill will always return to you in some form or another. Everything given must be earned, willingly or not. Strive to earn everything you gain in life, otherwise you will pay for it in unknowable and painful ways.
4. Question Yourself.
Justify your beliefs and actions fairly and objectively in your own mind, ask the hypothetical question: “What if I am wrong?” Such a practice allows you to more successfully represent yourself to others and will ease their desire to change or manipulate you.
From my new Ebook, due for release this summer.