Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
So starts William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus. Not only do I agree I should offer thanks to “whatever gods may be, for my unconquerable soul,” I believe our souls are of the gods, a sliver of divinity residing within each one of us.
I also agree with Peck when he postulates in The Road Less Traveled that “laziness is the force of entropy as it manifests itself in the lives of all of us,” or when he states even more succinctly, “original sin does exist; it is our laziness.”
Thus is the human condition: an unconquering soul beckoning our evolution, and the force of entropy holding us in place.
Make no mistake about it, the force of entropy is vast. We are naturally wired to take the path of least resistance, saving our resources to protect us from the possible encounter with the sabretooth tiger in the forest. Messages filled with society’s narrative of how we should work and live bombard us through our media and peers. We are surrounded in once unimaginable comfort, making it easier every day to choose our current state than to endure the difficult road of acute pain necessary to evolve and to take the journey for which our unconquerable soul yearns.
When am I invictus (Latin for unconquerable)? When I shrug off my laziness and do the work to strengthen my core. When I slow down and sit quietly, reflecting and writing so that I know what I believe, who I am, and why it matters. For if it is true, as Henley concludes, that “I am the captain of my soul,” then it is only when I am steering myself in the direction my soul dictates that I am truly unconquerable.
One would think that after several years of re-rinsing I am statements I would have it down by now. That would be wrong. My writing this past week has awoken me to an I am statement that I have missed, and not an insignificant one either. My last several rinses have started with “I am a curious catalyst.” Today, my belief about the origin of my soul reminds me first and foremost, “I am a child of God, a nonobservant Jew, spiritual, not religious.”
Chet told a while back that my best I ams are still ahead of me. He was right. How about you? Don’t let entropy win. Re-rinse your I ams today and listen for the whisperings of your unconquerable soul.