Carve the statue of youHumanities
“A man is both a seed and in some degree also a gardener, for good or ill... I am impressed by the degree in which the development of ‘character’ can be a product of conscious intention, the will to modify innate tendencies in desired directions; in some cases the change can be great and permanent.”
J.R.R. Tolkien: Letters
Self Made Man by Bobbie Carlyle, photo used with permission (you can order posters and statues of various sizes at http://www.bobbiecarlylesculpture.com/ )
Michelangelo said he didn’t carve statues, rather he liberated the forms that were always there hidden in the stone. That’s a great metaphor for the human process of becoming the person you are meant to be. Throughout life you are given tools – at home, at school, at church, at work, in this book. You can use those tools to carve away those parts of you that do not reflect you at your authentic best and to liberate those parts of you that do. This magnificent statue by Colorado artist Bobbie Carlyle is a beautiful representation of that metaphor. To become your best self is a lifelong process of carving away the excuses that hold you back, the complaining and self-pity that make you small, and the emotional baggage that holds you down. By carving away the small and petty, you liberate the sublime and the wonderful aspects of who you are.
There are numerous Biblical references to the fact that no one would light a candle and put a basket over it, yet that’s a very apt metaphor for what most of us do, at least on occasion. As Marianne Williamson wrote in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principle of a Course in Miracles (a quote often attributed to Nelson Mandela because he included it in his 1994 inaugural address): “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
It takes courage to remove the basket from your candle, to carve away the accumulated rubble that conceals your authentic best self. In a paradox we shall see repeatedly in this book, it is often when you are flat on your back that you find the courage to stand tall.
It’s often when you’re flat on your back that you find the courage to stand tall.