Blades of the finest swords are repeatedly heated and cooled to increase hardness and elasticity. This tempering process for metal is similar to our own personal growth and development. Being presented with choices — exploration or safety, trust or fear, persevering or giving up — tempers our consistency and resiliency over time, and our ability to discern and decide upon a right course of action improves with each tempered experience.
In a recent entreaty by Russell Bishop, Wake Up? That’s Your Life Passing You By, he proposed that living a personally-rewarding and success-filled life is tempered by three challenges —
- the courage to imagine a better life,
- the confidence to create a plan, and
- the commitment to take small steps.
Each of these challenges requires us to make choices. Do I let my imagination leap me into the unknown and untested, or do I stay here where it feels familiar and safe? Do I trust myself to adequately consider and plan for the possibilities and problems I may meet along the way, or do I fear making a mistake and quit before I even start? Am I determined to follow through — one step-at-a-time — to reach my goal, or do I give up when the small step becomes drudgery or overwhelming?
I wrote the following poem during one of my own times for growing consistency and resiliency.
Sink and Swim
My awareness drops deep within
searching for the essence of all truth.
It’s there, I know it is, which is why
I take this daily dive
into my soul’s resting place.
Afloat amidst silence and stillness,
I wash away debris, fear, pain,
waiting for truth to appear.
There is beauty here and I am tempered.
And tempted to linger, to sink deeper,
to forever swim in the silent abyss.
Not to be so, for this too is temporary
meant to inspire and create space
for the ever-appearing wisdom.
And like a ladder from heaven,
Wisdom beckons me back to earth —
renewed, receptive and ready to act.
What personal or professional goal has been eluding you? What one small step can you take today to move you closer to achieving it?