I was reading Edgar Allen Poe’s short story: “The Black Cat” the other day. It is a dark and disturbing story to say the least but it is also beautifully melancholy. As with all great writers, Poe creates a story with many levels and many lessons. His subject in this story was a man who began his life on a benevolent path and ended up with clouded vision and distorted perception that led him to terrible acts. This is a situation to lament but not overlook. There is a great opportunity to learn. What is the lesson you ask?
To be Happy, Create Space
Simple, yes. It is also dauntingly difficult. I won’t ruin the story because I know all of you are going to go out and read this story of emotional torture, all 6 pages of it! I will, however elaborate on the theory of space and how easy it is to lose it and how difficult it is to find once lost.
The thing is, the human brain has infinite potential but we are stifled by a limited perception of our world. We are easily influenced. We are seductively guided by irrelevance into the quandary of ” I have no time.” A loose translation of having no time can also read: “I have no space.” These thoughts can then most commonly be liberated through:
– drugs and alcohol
Let us take a look at an example of a boy. This boy grew up as a precocious kid, always doing “weird” things. It did not take long for the other kids to label him as “weird.” It took even less time for his hypersensitive mother to start yelling at him for doing these “weird” things. The boy did what any adolescent would do and he embraced his title. He actually took solace in the fact that he stood out and was notorious. His “weirdness” became an important ally. It drove him to study and discover things all the other kids didn’t bother with. In fact, it got him into a great college and later a great job.
Although he built on paper a great life for himself, he never actually developed the skills to interact. He was an introvert by association, not by birthright. What I mean is he associated himself with the idea that he was different, or “weird” and this caused him great stress growing up. Yes, it drove him to accomplish great things but it subtlety began to kill his spirit. He began to drink as a way to comfort himself. He began to fail to meet deadlines at work because he lacked the time to complete them. His production steadily declined as his mind steadily increased with stress. He began to worry about work. He even stopped drinking but he still couldn’t find the time to get his production back up.
Worry. Worry. Worry.
Thought after thought about how he wasn’t getting it done!
AKA: clouded head and distorted perception.
The unfortunate truth is that his problem wasn’t his drinking, it wasn’t his work ethic. It was his label that was imposed upon him as a child. It slowly embedded itself in his brain. It became him and he embraced it. BUT because never actually wanted this label, it became an assassin. This killer had one intention; destroy the only thing we have that is irreplaceable… TIME.
As he got older there was no more space for relationships. There was no more space for what he actually wanted to do, what he liked to do. This label, his assassin became not only his intellectual demise but it killed his soul. The label made him perceive he wasn’t good enough. “You don’t belong in the gym playing basketball.” “You don’t belong at social clubs interacting.” It made him perceive that he wasn’t fit for a relationship. It made him perceive, despite being an erudite, diligent worker, that he was bad at his job.
It made him think he had no time and no space. No purpose.
I have gone through this problem myself. I lived it. Not in the way this boy did, I suffered my own traumas. My own indignities. I was able to learn to create space and dissolve my problems instead of letting them carry me down the road our boy went.
Don’t forget that the boy may have become a man but he was too scared to address the one thing that paralyzed his growth… his boyhood trauma. I learned that in order to grow as a person and discover what it truly means to be happy one must deal with the very things that scare us the most. We all have them.
They might be childhood traumas. They might be grave misbehaviors that we are ashamed of. It might be as simple as being called weird or as complex as being abused. The point is that if you take a minute, recognize that you do have haunting issues. Say hi to them and let those issues know that you are watching them.
THEY CEASE TO HAVE POWER
Step 1. Become aware
Step 2. Take away power by dealing with the problem, realize that you are responsible for your happiness.
Step 3. Take control.
I don’t know much about the human brain. I don’t even know much about therapy. I teach what I go through in life. I do know this… we are scared of what we give power to. If you bury your problems and refuse to recognize them then they will creep up and destroy us eventually. It might be so subtle that you don’t even know why or what is destroying you because you are clouded with depression or anger.
There is one last example I Want to give you. If this hits you in the gut then you might take heed to my warnings. Are you irritated when you wake up? Do you argue with your spouse weekly? Do you loathe the job you once took pride in? Do you drink for fun or stress relief? Warriors, if you answered yes to these or if these questions inspired another problem you might have then I urge you to become aware of them! Take control and you will have power!
To create space and discover that time is infinite, you must first learn to be present. Learn to let emotions and fears flow through you. See them, don’t hide from them. That takes away their power and empowers you! How?
BE REAL- RAW- RELEVANT with yourself. Then with your family.
I challenge you guys to look at your lives. How irritated are you? How many fights per week do you have with family and friends? What is your level of happiness because if it isn’t a 10 then I have news for you… IT CAN BE.
Before you can achieve all the things you want in life you have to kill the assassin!
There is a saying from Fight Club that I love. Before you read it I will ask you how you are spending your minutes?
” this is your life… and it’s ending one minute at a time.”