written by john c ashworth
No one can build you this bridge for you. This year, find the courage to be yourself.
We are moving quickly toward another year. Another decade. Another opportunity to reflect on what we’ve done or not done; and on what we plan to do.
Before you embark on this journey, I have a few points of inner wisdom I encourage you to cultivate so that instead of simply racing forward blindly into another year and another time; you stop for a moment and consider your destiny. Your presence. The magnificent contentment of your solitude. Otherwise, you race forward looking for answers and over-striving, and all that is you and your destiny becomes a forgotten myth. A distant cry for help.
“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life.” -Nietzsche
Somehow, this man who often cycled into a nihilistic despondency that left him believing that life was meaningless, found is way back to the real meaning of life often enough and inspired others in ways that benefit all of us.
One of those he inspired, Nobel Laureate Herman Hesse, drew from Nietzsche’s philosophy the best of his humanistic ideas, and then magnified them with his own transcendent humanity. (from Brain Pickings - a beautiful blog).
I believe it prudent to point to some of Hesse’s philosophy on the courage to be yourself, and to find your destiny in helping you shape your own thoughts and actions as we approach another new year. A perfect time to bare witness to who you really are, and what it’s really going to take to achieve your goals and realize your fullest potential. To live your own destiny.
Here is a little bit of Hesse on suffering, solitude and your destiny…
“…True action, good and radiant action, my friends, does not spring from activity, from busy bustling, it does not spring from industrious hammering. It grows in the solitude of the mountains, it grow on the summits where silence and danger dwell. It grows out of the suffering which you have not yet learned to suffer.”
…”Blessed be he who has found his solitude, not the solitude pictured in waiting or poetry, but his own, unique, predestined solitude. Blessed be he who knows how to suffer! Blessed be he who bears the magic stone in his heart. To him comes destiny, from him comes authentic action.”
It is here on this point of authentic action that I want to leave you with something vital as we approach a new decade. If you subscribe to the ash flash in 2020, you will be seeing a lot more on this idea of authenticity. It is a very important idea, especially around the time we falsely pursue resolutions that produce almost nothing more than false and empty hope for a future we cannot see. A distant star that has already lost its light. Ideas that are not founded in the kind of resolve and courage it takes to be yourself. To be with yourself so that you can in fact discover your destiny within.
You were made to be yourself, and to enrich the world with your voice and your presence. Not to fall into bed at night exhausted and feeling like an incomplete human being.
The goals you typically seek are only surface-level hints at something much deeper. Fleeting symptoms of more fundamental struggle and suffering. Find some time as you begin again to cultivate solitude and be with yourself and discover all that is lying in wait for you there.
Once again from Hermann Hesse…
“In each one of you there is a hidden being, still in the deep sleep of childhood. Bring it to life! In each one of you there is a call, a will, an impulse of nature, an impulse toward the future, the new, the higher. Let it mature, let it resound, nurture it! Your future is not this or that; it is not money or power, it is not wisdom or success at your trade — your future, your hard dangerous path is this: to mature and to find God in yourselves.”
-Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 - August 9th, 1962)