The heart of a lion
Sometimes it takes immense courage to take a step towards your own happiness. When the people we care about don’t understand our choices, when those we thought would be happy to see our forward motion (as we are for them) sabotage us or when we have to take an extraordinary leap of faith with our already fragile hearts…
I want to say it gets easier as we grow older, but I don’t think that’s true. Age makes us more truly ourselves. As the frivolous things and foolishness of youth falls away, I see in those around me and in myself, two trajectories: either the heart of a lion that was always in you shines more fiercely OR the baggage you accumulate makes you more fearful of consequences, more in search of justification and approval. I look at this nowadays with a sense of detachment. Control is an illusion. I can only ever be accountable for myself and my choices… many of which at times have been very poorly considered. But they remain my choices, part of my search and my cross to bear at times, and I refuse to look at the future with anything less than hopefulness for what might yet be achieved in and around me, the certainty that whatever happens it will ultimately be for the highest purpose and joy for the many blessings I enjoy in this present moment, hoping to be an example through my life and my words.
I can say 1000 times that I am grateful and 10 000 times that I function out of a space of love and understanding, but if my actions do not bear that out, I am no better than a hypocrite and there is no truth in me. I cannot stretch out my hands to the desire for greater awareness if I cannot critically look at myself – my joys, my struggles, my wish sometimes to be utterly different in some respects to what I am, my triumphs and my moments when I feel completely defeated, what I choose to do when under threat or in a moment of contentment. I cannot give this spirit to anyone. That grieved me for many years and it has been perhaps the greatest development this past year has gifted me – the ability to let a thing (or a person) be, to let go the urge to influence or grasp illusory control, to let the decisions of others be their own, as my decisions are mine. My ears will ever be open. My eyes are already glistening in empathy for your sadness which I feel as my own. My arms will always be open to embrace you and give of my energy and strength to your journey, but I cannot walk the path for you. I will blow the spark into flame if you let me, to set your inner fire roaring again, but I can only do it if you allow me. Is that a risk you are prepared to take? I don’t know. Is your true nature as you age showing the colours of a lion? Only you can answer that question in your heart of hearts. As for me, here lies a pride of lions ready to walk with you and protect you to the death until the day you cast us off to walk around a barrier you didn’t feel you could cross.
Adversity makes us stronger and those trials faced together bind our strength like a three-fold cord – not easily broken. Life is not a fairytale and nothing worthwhile is free of obstacles. It is what we choose to do when we face them that makes all the difference. And, regardless of the path you choose, I will never regret giving my all.