To Dance Magnificent Dreams

Every human culture that has managed to flourish contain mythological stories of heroic legends and fantastic feats. Between the civilizations the stories vary, each tribe with their own unique explanation of creation, the creator(s), and the end times. Yet in spite of how distant on the gulf of time they maybe placed, each and every group of people have all shared a common antagonist. Evil spirits, demonic specters that have plagued mankind, causing mischief and misfortune amongst every single civilization, that has ever existed.  As a suffer of sleep paralysis in many cultures my experiences would have been put down to that of a demonic nature, that I was in fact being tormented by an evil soul hell bent on causing anguish in my life. These experiences that mostly come to me when I have battled with my tiredness and fought to stay awake, as terrify as they are, short lived, nonetheless. Regrettably however there is one demon that shall haunt me forever, a nemesis that I cant reason with, nor can it be bought or ignored; for doing the latter, can only bring me more and more visitations, each harder to deal with, than the last. This demon as hateful and evil as it is, wears robes of pure satin and plays a harp so beautifully, it could be the greatest music I’ve ever heard, providing of course, I’m listening.

Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted, with himself.
Samuel Johnson

There is this old parable about a young man and his grandfather. The grandson who was so discouraged by the experiences of school life that he told his grandfather, his only solace, that he was going to leave school and join the army. His grandfather was naturally upset but didn’t quiz the boy, instead he fetched three pots from his kitchen and filled them with water, placing each above the open fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first pot he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs and the last, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil. In about twenty minutes he grabbed a pair of thongs and picked each pot off the fire. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out into a cup. Turning to his grandson, he asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the boy replied. Then he asked him to feel the carrots, which he did and noted that they were soft and mushy. His grandfather then asked him to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the boy observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked his grandson to sip the coffee. He smiled as he tasted it, strong with its rich aroma. The boy asked, “I don’t understand. What does this mean, if anything?” His grandfather laughed and explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each had reacted differently. “So, which are you?” the grandfather asked. When adversity knocks on your door, how do we respond? Are you a carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, becomes soft and loses strength? Are you the egg that appears not to change but whose heart is hardened? Or are you the coffee bean, that changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the coffee bean, when things are at their worst, your very attitude will change your environment for the better, making it sweet and palatable.

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
Abraham Lincoln

People often talk of content, being the best place to be within ourselves. Loving friends and family, a big prancing dog that runs round and round the furniture when you come home. Certainly I do long for such simple things, however I am convinced that the courage and willing to work and push myself comes from the current upsets of my life. If I were content with what I had, I would be afraid that as a person I might fail to grow and become more than what I am. I have often found that in relationships the ones that are strongest, are the ones that encounter the most upset, for as horns clash, lips do often touch. I am a firm believer that adversity, as frustrating as it is to deal with can only make you more; what that “more of” is exactly, can only really be determined by you, as each of us, as shallow as we are sometimes, exquisite individuals nonetheless; marching to the beat of life that only our destinies can hear and living to dance magnificent dreams.

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21 thoughts on “To Dance Magnificent Dreams

  1. Such an awesome post. Makes one see that every setback is just a realization that you never need give up, just look at things in a different perspective to reach your goals. Never settle.

  2. I agree that adversity can give people a chance to grow, to become better and stronger. Not everyone can take advantage of that chance though. My mom was one of 9 siblings growing up in Europe during WWII…some of her sibs did just fine, some had emotional difficulties, a couple of them never quite recovered from the trauma of the bombing raids and the deprivations of war and ended up broken alcoholics who could never quite find their Happy Place (nature or nurture? Hmmmm).

    I’d never want to skip any of the hard times I’ve been through, even though I’ve spent years trying to undo some of the more “unhelpful” responses I’ve had to my upbringing. I’m glad all those cfazy things happened, but I’d never want to relive the hard times either. Once was enough :)

  3. Some of my quotes:
    Each and everyone of us has a hero inside. We all will do exactly as we need to do when the time comes to do it … or not.

    I only get one day in this amusement park and I’m going to ride every ride that I can get on. I don’t care if some of them suck or not. I want to know what riding each of them feels like. I want to know that that I not only was in the amusement park, but that I rode every ride. As I’m leaving the park, no chance to return, I’ll scrawl my name on the wall at the gates: ‘veni, vidi, vici’

  4. Adversity, though it builds character, we shouldn’t try to embrace it too much. It can get too tiring. Too much might turn you into that carrot.

    I think that I get what you are driving at; I sort of feel the same way. Once you’ve settled in and decided you’re content (depending on your criteria), you might start to lose your edge. Maybe we can treat that state like a coffee break?

    Great post! Cheers!

  5. In Hawaii there is a manifestation of sleep paralysis known as the choking ghost, it is well documented and ties into myths and legends out here. I experienced it once and it was not pleasant but nonetheless fascinating as whenever you get caught between the conscious and the unconscious you are liable to”see things” even feel them but it begs the question do they truly exist? or figments of the imagination?

  6. Pingback: To Dance Magnificent Dreams | Nae's Nest

  7. Beautiful post – thank you so much for liking my blog and leading me here. Your friends are your needs answered, said Khalil Gibran and your thoughts on adversity have given me new-found strength today. I AM NOT A CARROT! xx m

  8. I’ve always loved coffee, and now I love it even more – enough to want to be it. What a powerful story, certainly spoke to my heart and made me reflect…and I find I’ve been all three, at different times. With this new awareness, shared in such a gentle and simple way, I’ll not judge myself…but will try to be coffee more often:-) Thanks for the like – I’m glad to have found you:-)

  9. I really liked this. I think it’s also important to remember though, that there’s an unfortunate 4th reaction to adversity: sometimes, as is the case for many caretakers of people with cancer, you can forget who you are and what you want. Your reaction, and “right” reaction, can be so completely dependent on the type of adversity you face.

    Likewise, I wonder if the “right” reaction for the boy was to stay in school? What if that wasn’t his path? Who knows? I think it’s a great parable though, if you sit and chew on it a while…

  10. Good perspective. Although I love carrots, like hardboiled eggs, and cannot drink coffee for health reasons…so maybe I’ll have to write my own metaphor for the values of adversity. Thanks!

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