Many years ago, Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” I’ve heard this repeated in many various ways at several different junctures in my life, relating its meaning to random concepts. However, I’ve never applied this phrase to myself until recently. As is the tendency of many, I’ve reflected on my life and seen what I’ve concluded to be bad choices, wrong turns and errant decisions. Its been easy to minimize my past as nothing more than a futile attempt at groping around in the dark with me vainly attempting to find my way forward. Set along this journey with few tools at my disposal, and a past victim of mental and physical abuse, I wasn’t prepared to move ahead in any sort of enlightened or meaningful way. Most often I operated in survival mode, not knowing what ill fortune would confront me around the next bend in what I perceived to be the dark, dank cave of my life.
Somehow I was able to see beyond the cave. I could make out others who were meeting with success by making good decisions when it was most critical to do so, individuals whom I envied for their ability to see and think clearly. It only heightened my sense of anxiety about the direction I was going in, leading me to make even poorer decisions in my attempts at trying to find a way out of my gloom. Nothing came easy, and I rarely learned from my past choices. At times, the cave felt like a circle, with me destined to move past the same haunting landmarks time and time again. I would stop occasionally to bang my head against the wall, thinking that might cause it to give way and ultimately lead me out of the blackness and into the light. In reality, this action did nothing more than to cause me more pain and anguish. This was not the way out.
I was presented along the way with good people who showed me that much was possible. There were those I presented an idea to who would simply say, “just do it,” later holding me accountable for becoming what I said I would be. This continues to this day. Just over a year ago I ran into a former co-worker I hadn’t seen in twenty years; she asked me if I had ever finished the book whose idea I talked about incessantly when last she knew me. I remembered, feeling a pang of guilt for not carrying out what I had set out to do and what I had openly and publicly committed to doing. Then just a few weeks after that encounter, I re-connected with someone from just a little bit further in my past than the co-worker. He mentioned a great book he had just read by Joe Dispenza called, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.” Through reading this great book I found that I had not been true to myself. I was not the person I was meant to be or really deep down inside wanted to be. But it was totally on me to own the Thoreau quote “live the life you’ve imagined,” and metamorphisize into an individual molded after my true desires. For the first time, I am now something I had wanted to be for most of my life, a published author.
Sometimes it can be easy to hold to the belief that we are defined by our circumstances, that we cannot rise above who we turned out to be. “It is too late,” we might say, “I am too old,” or perhaps if we are really honest with ourselves, just too damn lazy to do the work required of changing our lives. My life is like a giant puzzle made up of a multitude of little pieces with sharp, jagged edges that will cause my fingers to bleed if I hold on to them too tightly. I began life as a sheet of clear, lucid glass. This was then broken into many pieces at many times, yet somehow all of it stayed together. These pieces still make up the whole of me, but they do not define me or represent who I am. I am today now greater than what those irregular, ragged parts represent. I am broken yet complete. I have risen above what my environment, choices and circumstances conspired to produce. I am the creator of my own life now, destined to become the highest and best version of myself.