By William Ernest Henley

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.


Do any of you use a mantra? Is there a word or phrase that you can repeat to yourself to give you the courage to overcome an obstacle or get  you pumped up to face a challenge? I made some notes to write about this after my friend, April’s, funeral. Now, nearly 2 years later, I’m still reminded of that sweet woman and how she lived her life. When I think about April, I think about her amazing ability to pull a group of people together. Whether it was to do a project, play some games, or deal with a business issue, April had a unique talent of being able to reach out to people and bring them together in a beautiful way. She was outgoing, funny, and talented in so many ways. Whenever I had a perplexing issue at work and just needed to talk it through with someone, it was April’s advice that I sought.  As I was listening to those who knew and loved her best honor her at her funeral, each mentioned that despite her many challenges, April’s mantra was to “Live life to the fullest.” And that is just what she did. You will notice in the description I have given that I never once mentioned that April was in a wheelchair or that she was challenged with several health issues. She never let that be what her life was about. She went about her days loving people, doing good, putting herself out there, trying new things, doing awesome things, loving people with her whole heart and living life to the fullest. Her “handicaps” were absolute non-issues. They impacted her, but they were not her.

I want to be like April.

I want a life well-lived with people remembering all of the things about me that are awesome, with whatever challenges I may face being a supporting character and not the leading lady in my life’s work.

I’ve been thinking about what my mantra would be. What words could I repeat daily that would give me motivation and courage. That would be a reminder to me of the legacy I want to leave. That would help me focus more on what I’m grateful for and what a wonderful life I have than on the challenge of the moment.

My immediate thought was of the last two lines of the poem I have quoted above. I’m not sure that is the one I will pick. I love the poem and those last two lines, but my life is, for the most part joyous and not nearly as dark or onerous as compared to the tone of the overall poem

Do you have a mantra? What words or images light you up? Please share.

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