Rise and Shine: The Golden Opportunity of Our Present Adversities
Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Greetings, my friend, my hero. What a ride this has been, huh?
Who was pumped for 2020 only to be massively deflated and discombobulated? Me!
But that's my fault, and I've gotten my bearings back. I see now that, though things have changed on the surface, shit's the same as it was last year. Just apparently worse, more advanced, more desperate...
In some ways, though, things are much, much better. Our positive anticipation was not misguided, and our courage will not be in vain.
As darkness approaches its zenith, the light within us has a golden opportunity to rise and meet the challenge. As our light awakens, the forces of darkness within and without put up an even greater fight, exposing themselves, and thus becoming more vulnerable to dissolution.
Do you feel it, too?
Do you feel the massive opportunity in this moment, even as things may seem so bleak, even amid such great adversity, tumult, and injury?
Collectively, humankind is in a pitiable state, but this only remains true if we, as individuals, don't see and submit ourselves to the opportunity before us. If we don’t find what is true in us, and commit ourselves to it.
This is a test.
"Know your opportunity." –Pittacus
During the Great Depression, Napoleon Hill knew and wrote:
"Every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage."
Damn straight, my friend, and blessedly true.
Hill's ingenuity came alive in that time of great despair. But even he nearly missed his opportunity.
Muddled by self-doubt, drifting and distracted, he turned away from his calling. But grace would not abandon him.
Cloaked in the pain of his untruth, his dabbling in lesser occupations, grace forced him to his knees, psychologically and financially. He was put to the test, and given one last chance to surrender.
Having surrendered, the greatness in him rose to create works that to this very day lift people out of their depression, inspiring us to honor our power and give birth to our genius.
As another great Napoleon said a century before him:
"Adversity is the midwife of genius." –Napoleon Bonaparte
Great challenges call the greatness in each of us to arise. If only we will answer the call.
And this is our wake up call, our great opportunity, right now, today, in this moment. The choice is ours.
Do we align ourselves with our deepest truth, allowing the creative genius in us to awaken, rise, and flourish, contributing to a global renaissance of human art, authenticity, and next level problem solving?
Or do we continue to engage in the pretense of our false personalities, cowering at the threat of personal and collective annihilation?
Our light will only be extinguished if we let it. The responsibility is ours.
Some of us will rise and do whatever it takes, no matter how many times we're knocked down, and others will fall further into darkness. It's up to each of us, and we do have what it takes.
The solutions to all of our problems are here, inside us, in each other, in the ether, pouring into us, offering themselves to us, if only we will surrender, and stop acting so small and helpless.
If we stop allowing perfectionism and addiction to cripple us. If we honor the true power that is our birthright, and cultivate the masculine love in us, which doesn't accept things just as they are, but which says 'no, we are better than this.'
Yes, it may appear ironic that greatness requires surrender. But it is our small selves, our untruth, our pettiness, our distractions, our addictions, our cowardly ways that we surrender.
"Rise to the occasion. Go ahead, you know you're strong. Nothing can stop you." –Sizzla Kalonji
I myself have been weak, denying my own power, playing small. And I'm done with it. It is no longer acceptable. I have digested the pain of failure, taken the lessons I needed, and gotten back up.
Pain is a gift. It shows us our misalignment, where we sin, where we err.
In the face of pain, we have a choice. Do we cower and cover it up, running, hiding, numbing ourselves, or do we find the larger part of us that can solve the problem?
Do we double down in recreating exactly what caused the pain, or do we dig deep to find the source of our error, double over, vomit out the darkness, and then double up our strength to rise to a higher level than that from which the pain was created?
The greatest injuries and adversities have gifted us some of the greatest human accomplishments. It is always through pain and adversity that genius is birthed.
But genius doesn't always make it through the birth canal of adversity, does it? Because we are taught to coddle our weakness and believe in our pain, rather than overcome it.
We're taught that greatness is only for those other, great, special people.
What can I do? Who am I to...?
I'll tell you: you can do what you were designed to do, and that which is fueled by the truth, fueled by love.
The truth is that you are much stronger than you appear. That you are much greater than you appear.
We're taught by the inheritance of a distorted Christian doctrine to be meek. But Jesus himself affirmed, "ye are gods."
Who are you to...? Do you really wanna know?
You are, in fact, God. You are a God.
Do you feel that?
Can you allow yourself to awaken to the divine aspect of your character, and hold onto it for dear life?
Of course, it's true, you are not just God. (LOL)
You are also not God: a unique, karmically driven individual, with unique limitations. Some limitations which are false, damaging, externally imposed, introjected, but some which are intrinsic to your character, and a gift to us all, as they are what channel God into the world.
Nothing can be created without limitation, and we are indeed limited to doing what is true to us.
So what is true to you? I think there's no better time than now, in this time of adversity, to get clear about what is true to us, and what we most love doing.
Inside each of us is a cast of characters. It is our task to yoke them into a cohesive movement. To author that which is authentic to us.
Some characters are more important than others. Imagine a movie in which every character is given equal time and importance. It wouldn’t work.
But, determining what is most important in us, who is the protagonist and which are the supporting roles, the disparate parts of us can work together.
As we author our own story, we must come to see what is true for our central character to do. If a protagonist acts out of character, the story falls apart.
We are called to determine what is the central movement of our character, and to allow that aspect to take the fore. Surrendering to it, giving it what it needs to flourish, writing that into his or her story.
As the great father of psychology, William James, wrote:
“So the seeker of his truest, strongest, deepest self must review the list carefully, and pick out the one on which to stake his salvation. All other selves thereupon become unreal.”
As we awaken to our truest self, the other parts of us either join the campaign or fall away.
This is the greatest imperative and opportunity in this time of adversity. To find our truest selves, and to give them expression.
To say what is true for us. To do what is true for us. Not on the level of superficial thoughts and theories, but what is true, in the deepest depth of our heart.
No matter how we may be opposed or criticized, we must have heart.
To have heart is to have courage. It is to harness one's will to break through illusion and false limitation.
As tyranny encroaches and falsehoods about human health are peddled on a terrified populace, as corporations destroy everything that is precious on Earth, as a web of next-generation control technologies are deployed, who are you in this plot?
Who will rescue you? Who will rescue us?
God will rescue you, through you, if you take responsibility for your godhood.
We will rescue ourselves.
If you are downtrodden, great. This is an opportunity. You are closer than ever to rising into your greatness, if you refuse to believe in your weakness. If you do not turn back to your distractions. If you answer the call to be who you are.
Don't think only of yourself. Think of what you can do for the world, however small. Think of what rising into your greatness does for others.
We all fall down sometimes. That's OK. We deserve unconditional love, and it's all part of the process. But don't stay down. Take the lesson, digest the pain, and get back up.
Be like Rocky: beaten to a pulp, but refusing to stay down.
Or like Hellen Keller: deaf, dumb, and blind, yet showing us all what we're capable of.
Find your indomitable spirit.
"...an indomitable spirit that works for the good can turn a temporary loss to advantage. You have suffered a setback that seems crippling at first. But do not be discouraged. Rouse your spirits. Let this state of affairs spur you on to something genuinely worthy that serves the interest of everybody concerned. By focusing on others rather than pitying yourself, you will gain strength and purpose. Remain calm and balanced now, and you can turn apparent defeat into victory." –Jack M. Balkin, The Laws of Change (Hexagram 36, line 2)
Of course, I’m not advocating you act rashly, or with hubris, exceeding your true limitations.
We need to keep our heads about us, acting in alignment with our true selves, and the necessity of the moment. Only you can know what is true for you to do, and what is appropriate now.
There are times when one must wait.
If one is hunting, one doesn't just start firing when one sees movement. You get the target in your sights, you steady yourself, then you shoot. You also practice shooting before you go hunting.
For you, this may be time for bold external action, or it may be more of a time of preparation.
Either way, we can always be bold internally, and there is a kind of active waiting, in which one generates one's strength and marshals one's resources.
If you have missed an opportunity, that’s alright. Discover your error, and get back up.
Every moment is opportune. Don’t let a chasm between who you are now and your vision of who you will become stop you from taking action.
Take the steps you can, which prepare you for the most critical moments. If it is time to wait, compose yourself. Write your story.
Use your imagination. It is a gift.
Imagine the world you want to create, and how you contribute to it, however modest or grandiose your role may appear. What it looks like doesn't matter, so long as it is true and enjoyable to you.
Some are called to be on the stage. Some are called to draw the curtain. Some set up the lights. Some place the props. Each role, if done well, has its greatness.
What matters is that we each rise to the occasion and play our parts in contributing to the harmonious order we're capable of as a species, together creating the New Earth.
In this moment and every moment, learn and play your part. Play it with gusto. Play it with heart.
This year has been shocking, our lives upheaved, but shocks are opportunities to be roused from our slumber. They are tests, and tests are opportunities to know our true strength.
"A sudden upheaval tests your inner strength. Fate has struck you a grievous blow. Do not lose your head. Stay calm and collected. Maintain your composure. If you can keep your presence of mind, you will see a way out. Let the shock revive your ingenuity. Do not let the shocking event throw you, but instead allow it to spur your imagination." –Jack M. Balkin, The Laws of Change (hexagram 51, line 3)
Especially if you’ve been living in falsehood, as you become truer to yourself, people around you may not get what you're doing or see your vision. That's OK. What you do will make sense in the end, so long as it is true to your central character.
"Do not be afraid to act alone. You are connected to a creative force." –Stephen Karcher, I Ching: Navigating Change (hexagram 51, line 3)
This moment, every moment, and especially each moment of adversity is an opportunity to be clear about why you’re here, to find what you’re really made of.
Again, I say you're made of God, and by God, you are powerful. If only your little self will surrender, and assent to the call.