By Carol Reedy Rogero
“The chains of the world exist nowhere but within you. Protect yourself from your own tricks, and the demon itself will give up the battle for lack of allies.” ~ Faouzi Skali
As certain as the sun rises each morning, I’m confident that we’d all agree there are countless abysmally limiting situations that exist in our world. We can talk about issues of poverty, prejudice, political unrest, equality, access to resources, ignorance, and even cultural mores, and I’m sure we’d acknowledge that real, hard steel shackles exist far and wide. Negativity-du-jour (another demon) is but a click of the remote, knob, or mouse away.
Not as profitable and therefore not as readily accessible, are the shining rays of hope stories, the tales when told, warm our hearts, feed our souls, and infuse our minds with confidence and optimism.
I imagine that death camp survivors, prisoners of war, anyone who has suffered and escaped captivity and abuse will likely tell you that at a certain point, they recognized that it was their own thoughts that were either going to lead them to succumb to despair, join forces with the enemy, or instead, free them and loosen the bonds of captivity.
Thankfully the majority of us never encounter actual imprisonment, torture, or enslavement, but in our everyday life we meet with situations that present us with opportunities to choose our actions, to consciously be aware of our own personal evolution, and determine with a clear mind, which direction we’ll take.
However, it is our own “tricks” that deceive us.
The “glaring in the mirror at us” fact is that we are what we eat! Will we accept our perceived “lot in life” and make do? Will we be influenced by the media, by glossy advertisements that influentially shout out what we need to look like, possess, desire, do, or even deserve? Will we listen to often beloved naysayers who have themselves tried and failed? Will we soak up the negativity surrounding us and let it splutter out, when like a sponge, we’re squeezed?
Or will we loosen the imprisoning cuffs and declare our strength of purpose, depth of commitment, and realization of personal responsibility, and choose to do the hard and often seemingly formidable work; embrace self-worth, buck the system, challenge the establishment, and empower ourselves to achieve our greatest intentions, as well as a state of peace and grace?
At midlife, and with much arduous self-examination, I’m working hard to maintain a conscious awareness of my own mind’s “tricks”. Even so, I have to remind myself to refuse to host pity parties or engage in self-flagellation.
I admonish myself and admit that I’ve seen the enemy and she is in me. But she doesn’t have to “be” me. I can toss the chains of imprisonment right back in the face of the demon. I can choose each day to not ally myself with negativity, improbability, or even personal, genetic, or familial history and instead align myself with the clear and present future that I desire and I dream.
I can and must consciously choose the kind of energy I want to surround myself with and be exposed to, and at the same time I must also hold myself responsible for the energy that emanates from me.
You and I, we possess “the key” that removes all of the perceived chains of the world. We need to recognize the “tricks” in our minds that claim otherwise. When we do, the demons, our demons, will retreat from the battlefield and what is left will be the powerful self-proclaimed strength to succeed at whatever it is we desire.
Carol Reedy Rogero is a 6th grade teacher by day, second act poet/writer by night, and anytime lover of books and travel. She scours the beach regularly for trash and heart shaped coquina. She blogs and is on Facebook where she hopes readers feel a connection and find something inspirational that speaks to their heart and touches their soul.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak