I had an image stuck in my head today while driving through the freeway that runs through my hometown.
As I drove, to my right hand side was a wide and open farm field. A wide and tended field rowed up and only months away from a harvest.
The image I saw was an image of a person sitting among a fertile soil-in-waiting field; I came to see this image as an illustration of our lives.
Our lives are a vast field of potential harvest and the harvest is the substances of the crop that is our lives and the parts of it that we invest in.
We all come from different soils as various as the variety of actual soil that is this Earth's surface and its' accumulated dusty history; and similar to all these soils we all hold the potential to bear unique and illustrious harvests. There is one distinct different though between our soils we grow up in and the real thing is we are not limited in what we can grow; we are not just sand and cactus or just roses, blossoms, or potato plants.
It is a difficult idea as people that we all face that we are the farmers of our lives. Some of us take issue with being born in the desert and not being able to grow strawberries...others seek to become successful producers of cacti...then, equally impressive, some people change their soils producing some of the most inspiring harvests.
Our Harvests Are Our Investments...
Choice is our greatest ally or adversary.
There is the saying we "become what we think". Also, I would like to venture to add, that our lives are the reflections of our personal energetic investments and mental focuses (mental focuses qualified as focuses that translate into action or effect our actions). I am no psychologist but an observer and reader of people. From when I would tend bar or work pub door and/or security jobs. Learning to read people makes your job in these modalities significantly easier and more effective. Drawing from these and my own personal experience I simply share my observations and deductions.
There are a string of many references of developed success that can be called upon. Historical or current (Teddy Roosevelt / Stephen Hawking) , fictional stories (The Alchemist /The Man with a Thousand Faces), and all of independent era and upbringings.
As we pull upon these examples to learn from we begin, like Joseph Campbell did, we start to draw lines of parallel and connection between all these people or stories that we make the attempt to learn from and apply some nuggets of wisdom distilled from the work and life of another whom's shoulders we wish to stand on above our own feared soil of mediocrity that we wish to escape.
One of my most favorite movies is A Knights Tale. The main character, William, asks his father, "Can it be done, father? Can a man change his stars?" To this father replies compelled with conviction, "YES, William! If he believes enough a man can do anything."
Man, that always hits me hard.
In all these comparisons we draw between inspiring people or stories and how we apply them to our lives we must analyze first how they came to produce that bountiful harvest.
Malcolm Gladwell's masterful work, "Outliers", transcribes different examples of success and how the arenas forge their gladiator's as much as the gladiator's acts within the arenas lend to their accolades.
I agree fully with Mr. Gladwell; our surrounding do affect us, but I believe there still lies more.
Returning toward the topic of our soils and how Gladwell's work correlates; it is indisputable that we do not choose the soil we are born around, but we do choose how we turn that soil. In the chance that our chosen crop of passion that we wish to invest in doesnt not thrive in the type of sediment we currently stand in then we work to change our soil or adjust the crop itself. Then there is the small percent of those who learn to botonize ( I know this is not a real word and, yes, I just crafted this word up to serve the purpose of this article :D ) and splice species and MAKE their crops grow in adverse soil conditions.
This by no means implies that this is easy. It is NOT easy. It is a struggle everyday; and what Dan Millman calls in his book's ample title, Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Hence the term in this being "warrior".
This accurately implies that the tending to our soils into potential harvest is a constant trial.
It is a struggle to fight against or build upon the soils we start with at birth and a lot of the times it IS unfair, brutal, and harsh. But we are beautiful beings with potential to overcome great things and do even greater things. The historical evidence to this is staggering. :)
Flourish The Crop So We May Spread The Harvest
Les Brown, motivational speaker, has a great point that, "to make the most out of life (your soil) you must find your passion (your crop into which you have vested) in life and then you must give it away to benefit the world in your own unique way (your harvest and distribution of your crops).
This does not imply that you do what you love for free only. Of course not! Trade for goods is a base action of our human socioeconomic history. We must simply make our harvest available to the world.
As I mentioned about drawing from inspirational figures to stand on their shoulders, we too, to be our own versions of inspirational peoples, must lend our shoulders for other to learn from as I am attempting to do now as I try to stumble my way through sharing what little ideas and thoughts I have.
Through all of this how does this return back to OUR individual soils?
Simply - our soils yield a crop based on the experiences and actions we invest into it. Perhaps for the sake of this topic metaphor we shall call these collectively as fertilizer.
Our fertilizers our built on both the combination of nutritious soil enriching compounds found in nature and equally the soil enriching qualities of animal shit. I think that this comparison lends itself to shit we make in our lives ourselves or the shit that is flung unto us by outside forces.
The good and bad both fertilize our soils.
We are not our thoughts we are our actions. Equally we are NOT our soils; we are the the fertilizer then feeds our soils ( both by choice and by life) and we ARE our harvests that we present to the world. History does not remember our thoughts or feelings...it remembers what we do.
How can we add to the quality and value of life to our fellow inhabitants of this planet - our fellow persons, mammals, and animal species alike?
This is what history remembers and nature embraces and lauds.
Then how do we find our elusive harvests that stem from the crops that are the passions we are so inspired by?
Well that is something that can be found only through the process of tilling our soils, the trial and error of mixing components of our personal ever evolving fertilizers, and trying...TRULY trying to be honest with ourselves and what inspires us to be the best and (ala Elliot Hulse) strongest version of ourselves so that we may be the most capable and productive harvesters and "botonizers" of the, almost alchemistic, work of creating opportunity through experience or even tribulation.
Alas agriculture is a manual labor endeavor... and life even more so.
It will bleed and bruise you before the yieldings can be enjoyed. All we can do is keep tilling and improving that soil, keep experimenting, keep investing and enriching your fertilizer, and do not give up on a crop that makes your heart pump in such a way that makes your bones shake with purpose.
You are NOT your soil, but you can become an amazing product of it that can inspire, save, and/or propel all of us.
Happy New Year, Legion.
Let's make this new year's and the following year's harvest history shaking.