Look closely at this image...
When something makes its way "in the wake," how do you deal with it?
It is my hope that this blog-post is truly inspirational to all that come upon it, read it and understand it, for this very analogy changed my life for the better some years ago and frankly - I've never looked back. Why? Because "it's in the wake."
Take a moment
Think of you and your life as if it were a motor-operated boat. You choose what goes into your boat and what does not. You choose what happens on the boat, and what does not. You choose where your boat goes and where it does not.
In short, you make all of the choices as it relates to the boat.
YOU are in control.
Life, my friends, is all about choices. You choose to fear. You choose to think forward or backward. You choose another martini. You choose to eat fast food. You choose to worry. You choose to be angry. You choose drugs. You choose where to work. You choose chocolate! (I love chocolate, btw!) You choose the road less traveled.
Similarly, your choose to fear sailing the boat farther than usual or you choose to take an adventurous risk by sailing the boat farther than usual.
So I have this incredible $5 T-Shirt that I bought somewhere in Dallas, TX. It says, blazing across my pecs, "You Can't Steal My Happy!" Now, of all the brand name clothing that I have in my closet, it is this, no-brand specific t-shirt that gets the most attention every single time I wear it.
A: I've come to learn that it is a reminder to all humans that we are all individually in control of how happy we are and that no one can steal it away. Happiness is your power that YOU choose to give away.
"It's in the wake!"
OK, so what do I mean exactly when I say, "it's in the wake?"
Your life, as we've already analogized is a motor-operated boat. Think about this compelling statement - "NOTHING, that goes into the wake of the boat propels the boat."
It is true. Everything needed to make the boat motor itself forward is either in the boat or in the distance (i.e. the destination, the vision of what's up ahead.) So, that said - why are you focusing on what is in the wake and not focusing on that stuff propelling your boat forward?
def. of wake
: the track left by a moving body, such as a nautical vessel
: a watch held over the body of a dead person prior to burial and sometimes accompanied by cultural festivity
Please do not misunderstand me, or misinterpret this as insensitivity in any way. When people pass-on, transition, die, however one may refer to that event - the memories and experiences of life with that person does (in effect) propel another person forward. The thing though is that their passing is more correlated to the destination ahead versus the wake.
For this reason, a person's death can sometimes be in the wake, but death is not always in the wake.
In the physical sense, the person is gone, so they physically do not have any impact on the propulsion forward any longer. It's up to those left in the boat to keep it going forward. They use the memories of the person, to navigate forward and visualize a new destination. It is for this reason that the death of someone close, still propels a boat's navigation forward.
What is being illustrated here is simply the comparison between a boat's wake and that which has diminished the boats ability to move forward. I mean, there is a reason that sailors have come to call this, "the wake" after all.
Consider this "Pirates of the Carribean"-like story for example:
Captain Hank was a fine man and a fine sea-boat Captain. He was many things to his crew - leader, father, uncle, mentor, coach, friend and confidant. Captain Hank sailed for many years, with the same crew and, as one would expect - trust was fostered.
When Captain Hank died, it was met with much ceremony. The sailors did not place his memory in the wake, instead it was a choice an important choice for them to keep his memory inside the boat and allow his influence to inspire new destinations.
All sailors know, once something "is in the wake" it does nothing to physically propel the boat forward. So, as these loyal sailors have done, the did not place the memory of the Captain in the wake, it remains on-board propelling new destinations ahead.
I'm not a psychologist but much of my time in Corporate Human Resources has afforded me some experience in coaching an employee forward. This analogy has become quite handy (probably because I am speaking from personal experience.)
Yes! Over the years, I have worked with many employees that have felt wronged by another employee. When an event like this happens in the workplace, managers get involved. A workplace investigation is launched. Many meetings are held and eventually, after many discussions - the matter is closed. (Or is it?)
Sometimes, one of the two boats finds itself returning to harbor . . . carrying a lot of baggage with it . . . an inability to forgive or let the other person's wrong-doings go or vanquish the boundaries that were crossed or the shame experienced. The feelings that were felt. The sadness that they cannot overcome. The awkwardness on a daily basis.
Once again, please do not misunderstand me, or misinterpret this as insensitivity in any way. Depending on what's happened, some of these events in our life can be quite traumatic. I am empathetic to this.
What I'm trying to illustrate here is that we already have tremendous power harnessed inside of us. When something (anything) happens to us, we can choose to keep any element of it in our boat (to go forward) or we can throw each item that is unwanted, or unnecessary in the wake and propel forward without it.
For the sailors, the Captain's memory was necessary to keep in the boat and inspire it forward to new destinations. They collectively made this choice.
But this particular boat returns to harbor because it's been overloaded and it cannot properly move forward. It is carrying too much weight that does not propel it forward. It's given it's power to that which weighs it down much-too-much and therefore disallows it to sail properly forward.
This powerful motor-operated boat has given it's powerful motor-operated power away to other sources rendering it's powerful motor, powerless - all simply due to too much unnecessary weight.
Are you doing this to your boat? Your life?
Let It Go
Letting things go is not easy but I must tell you that this boat-analogy has truly helped me let so many things GO over the years. When I stop and take a moment to visualize myself, on my boat, tossing all that is unwanted, un-needed and unnecessary into the wake - I feel much more free to propel my life forward...
...and never look back. (after all, that is not where you're headed.)❤️