Disclaimer: This blog is a way of expressing my personal opinions thoughts and anecdotes, as well as my personal understanding of the scriptures, and conference addresses. It is not meant as a statement of doctrine, and may not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

09 October 2012

Jack Sparrow and Jacob Marley ride the serious bus.

"The only rules that really matter are these: What a man can do, and what a man can't do"

This is one of my favorite quotes, but it comes from an unlikely source. Do you know where?
Captain Jack Sparrow. If you've forgotten where he says it, it's in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and to me, it sets the theme for the entire series. The quote in it's entirety is
                               "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man or you can't. But pirate is in your blood, boy, so you'll have to square with that some day. And me, for example, I can let you drown, but I can't bring this ship into Tortuga all by me onesies, savvy? So, can you sail under the command of a pirate, or can you not? "

This is his entire philosophy. He can either do things, or he can't, and if he can, he will. He is an extreme case of this, but how much more would we get accomplished if we did everything that we could do? I don't mean that we need to go out and pillage and ransack, because there are obvious things that we can do that we shouldn't do, and that's where we need to draw the line. It's a little bit like a chess match. People don't play chess very much anymore, but I like it. You can make a large amount of moves, but how many of those moves will result in a loss? Most of them probably. What Captain Jack is attempting to convey is: "What can I do that will help me survive the longest?" or, more motivating and in context, "How can I get from where I am, to where I need to go?" "How can I conquer this?"

Just like in chess, you have to think multiple moves ahead, but even if you get stuck in an impasse, or an undesirable situation, what can you do now? There is little to do with what you can't do, so why worry about it? except for learning from them, there is little else we can do about mistakes, yet a large portion of our thoughts can be spent wondering about them. They can be a burden, and as Charles Dickens eloquently gave words to Jacob Marley:

                              "I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.  Is its pattern strange to you?"

We still must be aware of our misdeeds, and remove them, for they will be a burden if unresolved.

I use a boat as an analogy in finance a lot. A boat will move faster, the less it contains to a point. What is needed? (1) The captain (you), (2) a power source (Oars, sail, motor) and (3) directional tools are preferable (rudder, maps, compass). Other than that, (4) supplies (food, water, clothing, etc) to get you to your desirable location and (5) a desirable location: know where you are needing to be.

The important part of this is balance. If you have less of one, you will need more of another; I.e, if you have less power, you will need more supplies and vice versa. 

In a life-goal or financial management analogy, the parallel is that if you are (1) The captain, you will need to know what to take, and if you have too much excess (meaning too many bills, too much debt, or too many plates to spin), eventually you will slow down, stop or even take on water and sink. If you have too little, you simply won't make it, or will take much, much longer than needed.

So what can Captain Jack offer? Do what you can, when you can! If you can't, then don't worry about it or don't do it. If you can, and it will help you progress in your journey, then do it. The directional tools: a compass (Knowing what is true North: a moral compass), a rudder (an ability to adapt and change direction), and maps (knowing what is around you and how they are beneficial or problematic). 

What can Jacob Marley offer? Recognize the chains before they are permanent and do something about them! This post is not promoting that you should do whatever you want whenever you want (YOLO). It is about finding balance. It is not Hakuna Matata. It is about action.

I was in a car accident when I was 18, and fractured my neck, which left the upcoming summer for a recent high school graduate limited at best and fatal at worst. It was an interesting summer, but became one of my favorites. One of my favorite scriptures were found during this period. (For those of you not as religious, please keep reading! It's very applicable to life in general).

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

No matter what your religious or spiritual preference is, most people will recognize these elements in your life, but the important thing is that one side will not exist with the other very easily. I have tested this on more than one occasion (Usually unintentionally). If you are scared, recognize that one of the three elements that follow will resolve it.

(1) Power (Action, strength)
(2) Love (Forgiveness, strength, friendship)
(3) Sound mind (Logic, critical thinking)

Having a broken neck brought me into recognizing the need for one of these elements at various times. The sound mind one is honestly one of the best. Just think it through and work it out. Power and love are also ...powerful and lovely I guess. But it works! Work through it, either by pure strength, pure will, or pure knowledge and truth.
If something is scary, worrisome, unsure, doubtful, etc., talk through it. I think it works in order also.

First, use a sound mind. that will resolve a fair amount of the problems that we face. George McFly, or maybe Marty depending on the space-time continuum (from Back to the Future) said "if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything". Mostly true.

If it doesn't work, however, then "put your back into it".
"Work will win when wishy washy wishing won’t.”~ Thomas S. Monson, Sept. 1977 (https://www.lds.org/new-era/1977/09/faces-and-attitudes?lang=eng)

Lastly, pure love, undefiled will work through the rest. Lasting forgiveness and lasting love lead to lasting peace and happiness. Just forgive and move on. Forgive yourself, forgive others, obtain forgiveness, and move on. Once the chains are gone, don't ask to be reminded of them, or try them on to see how they fit. You aren't that person anymore. Be a new version of yourself. That can take work. and a sound mind. I am not naive enough to think that people will never get burned by anyone. Life can suck. People aren't nice, and things happen. But that is not the point of life. We are here so that we can have joy. Find it. hold onto it. It will take work, love and a sound mind.

 Find the balance to make it through your daily journey, and that will help your lifetime journey everyday.

Feel free to leave a comment, your thoughts and elaboration, or a topic for another blog.