Week 5 – Captain of my soul

“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul”
from ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley

Week 5 – Friday 28 October 2011This week the anger really hit. It was my first weekend on my own without the children home or me visiting them. I was alone when all these negative thoughts and feelings descended on me like a cloud over which I had no control – feelings of unfairness, lost trust, abandonment and betrayal.

I am not by nature an angry person. I do not get angry when people barge in front of me at the check out or when I get stuck in traffic jams or when I am kept waiting for an appointment or when I can’t find something I want or when I get interupted from my work by some trivial query or when people arrive late for dinner that then spoils or even when people speak crossly at me when they shouldn’t. These are some of life’s inconveniences and what is the use of blowing your cool over these minor disruptions to your daily existence.

Your husband leaving you after 37 years of marriage without any discussion, without any warning?  ………….now that is something to get angry about.

Despite that, despite how I had been treated, up until now I had held my head up high and acted with grace and dignity. I had continued to treat my husband with care, respect and compassion. But now as I sat here all alone; now I was definitely feeling angry. This anger emotion was a very strong energy-charged emotion and I was at a loss at what to do with it.

i had written pages and pages and pages in my journal and even though that was helping me face the day to day, it wasn’t getting rid of the anger inside of me. It was overwhelming and it was taking me over.

I thought it through and talked it over with some close people. After a while I realised the difference between feeling angry and acting angry. I was at this time feeling anger. There is nothing wrong with feeling anger. In fact in a way you cannot stop how you feel at all. If you feel angry, then you feel angry. It just comes over you. Tough.

There is, however, a time when those feelings may escalate to angry actions. This is different. Angry actions are ugly. Angry actions could become soul-destroying.

So even though the feeling of anger was foreign to me, I know after what had happened to me that I had a right to feel angry and I finally accepted that I could not stop the feeling of anger that had now come over me and I would just have to wait until that passed. I could not change that. I finally accepted that I would have this negative feeling. However, I could stop letting my angry feelings escalate into angry actions. I could choose to take my own response to the feeling of anger. There is always a finite time between a feeling of anger and its response. There is time to stop and think of a more positive response than an angry action. If I turned the feeling of anger into a negative action and acted angry then I would lose something of myself, the part of me that was and still is a good person. I did not want to lose that. I had lost my past. I had lost my dreams for the future. I did not want to also lose my soul, the very essence of my being. I did not want to become an angry person.

Therefore in the fifth week of being single I made a pact with myself. I resolved to turn the positive energy charge given to me by this strong angry emotion into a strong determination to survive. I resolved that this would be the first day of the rest of my life – MY life – and that it was up to me to make this life a fantastic life. I became determined to survive and be in control of my own destiny. I would not let this crisis in my life destroy who I am or the values that I believed in. I was in charge of my own soul. Only I would control my future and the person I am and would become.

At about this time I had some family around and we happened to watch the movie ‘Invictus’ with the inspiring poem of the same name by William Earnest Henley recited in the movie. This poem supposedly had been one which Nelson Mandela had kept himself positive with during his 27 years in prison. The poem’s meaning is all powerful of there being freedom of choice in all circumstances even difficult ones because ultimately you make own your own destiny, and no matter how much choice has been taken away from you, you still get to choose your own soul and your own values and your destiny. I wrote this poem out and placed it on my fridge and read it every day for months. It became my most powerful inspiration and becoming the captain of my soul was the next step I took in becoming me.

by William Ernest Henley

“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul”

Invictus is latin for unconquerable, invinsible, undefeated.

15 thoughts on “Week 5 – Captain of my soul

  1. I love this post,,,, I love your thoughts on anger…I suffer with this feeling quite abit, but I love your explanations of feeling it,, and then acting on it,,,I will remember your words!

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  6. I understand your anger. I was an angry person most of my life, acting angrily to all the situations you mentioned in your blog, not realizing that the cause of my anger was the anger within, not the external triggers. I still experience anger from time to time, but with the help of a shaman, I have developed a more constructive way of releasing these repressed feelings (I scream into a pillow until I feel better … and it works). 🙂

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