Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses
I must confess at the outset that I haven’t read Ulysses. If that makes me a literary flyspeck then so be it. Kick copies of War and Peace in my face if you want to. I can take it.
But this verse from the end of Ulysses has always resonated with me, and now that the Code of Extraordinary Change is out there in the world, I think I know why.
The willingness to get involved with what matters to you is what the Code is all about, and striving is simply about being involved.
Striving does not have to equal struggling, suffering or straining, it’s simply the act of engaging with meaning.
None of us have all the answers, and many of us are searching for that thing or things that will feel like it’s always been there. Something to make us better than we are; something that will leave the path ahead better for having walked it; something to bring together the sum of our parts and make them sing.
Don’t conflate the act of seeking with being incomplete – you don’t need to seek something that will complete you. You’re already whole.
Your in-built desire to seek betterment is to be cherished.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” the Wizard of Oz famously said to Dorothy, and sometimes we all get wrapped up in the illusion (or delusion) of things.
But there can be little as joyful as discovering and deliberately knowing the simple truth of what’s behind the curtain; whether it’s a truth about yourself, the world or an insight that leaves you changed.
Finding what is, is rare and beautiful indeed.
And not to yield…
There are challenges on every corner and with every step, and I know you’ve had moments where you’ve thought about giving up and turning back, and times when you’ve done just that.
Our ability to recognise challenge and adversity and to make a deliberate choice to keep going in spite of the difficulty ahead will always fascinate and absorb me.
It’s nothing short of heroic.
And YOU have that ability. Right now. Right here.
Are you striving, seeking or finding? Yielding or not yielding? Which of these elements might be most useful to you right now?