I grew up with these words ringing in my ears. My mother would often quote lines from this poem by W. E. Henley and its sentiment is worth remembering, because it is a measure to use when sizing up where we are at in life.
If you are not happy with your “fate” right now, then it is most probable you have not been taking charge of your own Soul journey. You are failing to stand in the centre and direct your ship of life, like a good Captain.
These famous lines prompted me to use a sailing ship metaphor when I teach The Abundance Formula, which explains how to effectively use the ten “Laws of Creation” to create a life that you can enjoy at both a spiritual and a material level. This is why today’s movie is Master and Commander, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, a captain in the Royal Navy during the early nineteenth century, when the Napoleonic Wars had been raging for some years.
Today’s Daily Law is the Law of Leadership, which describes how, in order to successfully manifest your Divine Contract, you need to take the helm and set your own compass. You must conscientiously steer your “ship of life”. Life satisfaction depends on recognising and working with the Laws, so here’s a quick recap so you can see how the Laws are shaping up so far.
The title of Henley’s poem is Invictus, meaning ‘unconquered’. He had been suffering from tuberculosis and one of his legs had to be amputated. Then he was told the other leg also had to go. But Henley demanded a second opinion and another surgeon performed numerous operations on the remaining leg, and managed to save it.
The opening lines of the poem give us an insight into Henley’s determination not to surrender to despair:
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.
Later, he describes how he has not winced. Even if his head is ‘bloody’, he remains ‘unbowed’ by circumstance. ‘The menace of the years’, he declares, will continue to find him unafraid. No matter ‘how strait the gate’ — how tough things get — the poet claims his right to be master of his own fate.
In the movie, Russell Crowe as Captain Aubrey needs to make unpopular decisions. He is beholden to instructions from the Admiralty and cannot allow personal issues to override his loyalty to the naval command. Here, the Admiralty is ‘Divine’ — Aubrey must follow the plan, despite any considerations for the men on board his ship. Tough call!
Even in less desperate circumstances, such as those faced by Henley, or the fictional Aubrey, we can see how the Law of Leadership encourages us to take full responsibility for our outer life choices, based on the inner direction of our Soul and its need to fulfil a predetermined map.