For a while now, I have had this Rudyard Kipling poem on my mind, and when today arrived, I knew that I had to share it …
This poem for me, is one that makes you just stop and think and truly consider your life. It is so simple and yet so profound.
It makes me think of the Runes — it reveals uniquely different and important messages and insights to each person who reads it.
It inspires tremendous self-reflection, and leaves you with the quiet gift of asking you to continue to take stock of how you feel about yourself and the world around you long after you have finished reading.
I have always treasured things like this that continue to move through me after I have physically left them–because they possess a subtle power that wield their weight like the ocean tides, washing over our consciousness and whispering undeniable, essential truths to us in the face of chatter and chaos, truth that rises up out of the foam and the fray like a lighthouse beacon, illuminating the path of purpose ahead.
My mother was the one who sent “IF” to me many years ago, and during this Mercury Retrograde, I chanced upon a photo of the two of us when we were on a camping trip when I was just three years old. The photo, to me depicts the freedom and peace of mind we can all feel when we practice non-attachment and gratitude for all that we are and all that we have– for all that we cannot hold in our hands.
The best things in life are the things that cannot be captured, that are ephemeral and that leave their indelible mark on our hearts changing us and moving us towards embracing what it means to be truly alive!
I can think of very few other poems that better express the Buddhist idea of non-attachment as well as this one does and reminds us to acknowledge what is truly important in life; for each one of us, I’m sure there are a variety of answers, but as spiritual beings living a human experience, I know from what I have observed over the years, that we all share this in common: we all care (to varying degrees, of course) about evolving and becoming better people, more aware, more mindful, more generous, more patient, more kind, and that we all know that our health, our loved ones, and nature are truly the most important things in life.
So why then, are we all given so easily to attaching ourselves to what really doesn’t matter at all? And I could list a plethora of items of course … but instead I will ask this question:
What is most important to you? And how do you make what is important to you a priority in your life for the short time we all have here on this planet?
I know for me that stillness is the way in … movement and meditation are the winning combination, and I want to hear from you about what you do to become purposeful and authentically empowered, so that you can manifest the things you wish to create in this life of yours.
More on non-attachment tomorrow- for now, please enjoy this brilliant pearl of a poem, and see what kind of gift it gives to you …
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son!
*OR “-you’ll be a Woman, my daughter!”