30 August 2011

Quote for today on self-reliance

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. – Louisa May Alcott

As a women's suffrage advocate, I suspect that Alcott may have meant this as a personal feminist statement. Still, this American author's education included teaching from Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, so it's possible that she was thinking of a broader self-reliance.

Either way, this quote speaks eloquently of the peace of mind that comes from self-reliance.

Part of achieving this state is in the physical world. When we have set aside some necessities for lean times or a disaster (when we practice preparedness), it helps put our mind at ease.

However, this quote speaks to deeper issues within us. As we prepare ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we are making ourselves more capable of responding to the unexpected. In other words, we are "learning to sail our ship," i.e., we are becoming more self-reliant.

As we've grow our self-reliance, the storms lose their terror for us. Continuing the metaphor, it's like we're gaining a more experienced crew and trading up to a larger, more capable boat, with a captain that's becoming more and more seasoned. When that happens, it takes a larger storm to really shake us or cause us anxiety.

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