THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
Monday 21st 2021
This is the art of the soul - to harvest your deeper life from all the seasons of your experience.
This is a quote from John O’Donohue, an Irish poet and philosopher who died in 2007 but has a huge body of work which continues to influence and challenge people today.
This week we are reflecting on how we are the sum of our parts, of how we are shaped by our experiences and how we can choose to use these in which ever way we want to. As I have said before, we are in charge of ourselves and our lives. Things will happen , both positive and negative, but it is our choice as to how we respond, our choice as to what we do next.
Across the years in my teaching career I have encountered students and families who have experienced events which are hugely traumatic – sudden deaths, acute illness, financial issues, all manner of things which would shake the most sturdy of family roots. It has been a privilege to see the way that these families move through such crises and often emerge stronger as a unit, battle-scarred but looking forward. Sometimes people are unused to dealing with difficult situations and that is why we try and teach our students to be resilient. It is a terrible place to be if something happens suddenly and you are not equipped to deal with it. Just at the time when you need every ounce of your character, you are having to learn new coping mechanisms.
Is it the case that without negative things happening you cannot develop the soul, as in the quote? I don’t think so. It may be that you are naturally skilled at pre-empting things and you are capable of heading off disaster. It may be that you have had a dose of luck as well or instead. There is no point in proudly declaiming all the bad things that have happened to prove how resilient you are. We are all different, with different abilities, aptitudes and character.
The important idea which binds us together is that you use whatever you experience to form the full you. You will have made a series of choices to contribute to the person that you are or are becoming. What a responsibility, but also a huge privilege to know that whatever happens you can be the best version of yourself by the way that you react to your life. When your soul and your life events work in tandem together then you will achieve your deeper life.