Out of the night that covers me, black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade. And yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
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 by William Ernest Henley
I referenced the above poem about 18 months ago, about how I had to memorize it in my 8th grade English class.
I can’t remember what major life challenge was happening at the time; there have been several in the last three years, but it must have been big for me to draw my heavy gun, Invictus.
The poem has crossed my mind several times in the weeks since my job lay-off. Today it takes on special meaning as friends encourage me to follow my bliss.
The BridgeMaker blog post
About the time I first wrote about how Invictus impacts my life, my friend Alex Blackwell wrote a post on his blog, The BridgeMaker, called “Don’t Rent Your Life, Own It.”
Alex wrote about his fervent belief in Life Ownership Contracts. He views his contract as a way to embrace his power, to underscore how he is responsible for making his life what it is and what he wants it to be.
A Life Ownership Contract eliminates your victim status, so if you enjoy being a victim, stop reading now.
However, if you want to jump on the magic carpet ride of life, read on.
As I wrote back then, life doesn’t happen to you. Here’s the rest of what I wrote (I’ve changed the pronouns from 1st to second-person):
When you take 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life–you find freedom. You no longer blame others for the perceived wrongs done to you. You quit judging others’ actions because you see what they do as the choices they get to make. If you have a run of what could be seen as crappy circumstances, you sit back and ask yourself whether a belief, thought or feeling you’re holding is attracting the current situation and if not, what can you learn and then pass on to someone else?
Write your Life Ownership Contract
Happily, the LOC I wrote in 2011 is still good. I’m renewing it today. I invite you to create your own, or if you did 18 months ago, GREAT! Join me in reviewing and renewing it. Please share it if you choose. Here’s mine:
- I agree to remember the Trinity: God, myself, others.
- I agree to respond rather than react.
- I agree to allow transparency when it is appropriate.
- I agree to treat people and animals with respect and dignity.
- I agree to honor my entire self–from the inside out.
- I agree to not take myself too seriously and to laugh often.
- I agree to walk lightly and appreciate my steps.
- I agree to be present to the people, places and circumstances before me.
- I agree to always believe in miracles and to know that size doesn’t matter.
- I agree to put love ahead of everything else.
- I agree to say what I mean and mean what I say and to use words judiciously.
- I agree to remember that others’ thoughts, attitudes and opinions are none of my business and to remember to accept responsibility for my own.
Photo courtesy of hotblack