Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nelson Mandela: I am the master of my fate: I am the Captain of my soul

When asked who I would most like to have dinner with, I would answer Nelson Mandela in less than an eyes blink!

I am not the only one inspired by this powerful leader. 7.2 million Tweets flew across screens in the five hours following Nelson's death; at their peak 95,000 messages were tweeted each minute.

This winter on holiday as I soaked up a generous dose of December sunshine I pored over newspapers which made the journey with me. As I read obituaries and quotes Nelson's voice spoke of my personal journey...

Coping with diagnosis and surgery:

…I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear

…and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Dealing emotionally with the tumour and its consequences/complications

No time for bitterness there is so much to do (to recover, learn to walk again and get on with life).

Survivorship...living with and beyond a tumour

The greatest glory in living, is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Nelson realised his smile was part of his power. He stood rod straight and was always first to greet people because he believed that: Appearances matter…and remember to smile (Smiles and strong body language helped me to combat stares during the months I wore a helmet and since due to my ‘funny walk’)

After climbing a great hill one only finds that there are many more hills to climb...but....A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.

It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Whilst in prison he read verses to fellow captives. In particular:

Invictus
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.
 William Ernest Henley
1849-1903

As I watched the ward's action from my bed I was surprised to see others unwilling to help themselves. When it took me two hours to pull my anti-embolism stockings onto my floppy legs Charlie, one of the a nurses said, you never give up do you?..why would I? I replied.

So this final quote resonated:
Once a person is determined to help them selves there is nothing that can stop them...

Because I am the Master of my fate. I am the Captain of my soul

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
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