Even a cat is a lion in her own lair.
There is greatness within every person. Each of us possesses a golden core of native talent—our own personal gift—waiting to be discovered and developed. Not all of us are born into this particular lifetime to play a BIG part on a regional, national, or global scale; nonetheless, every one has a beautiful part to play in their sphere of influence, and, being complementary, each part is vital to the welfare of the whole. One little word or act of kindness on our part toward one who needs a moment of encouragement and support has the potential to send forth untold miracles for the good! Even the Tao Te Ching urges us to “Do the great while it is still small.”
A large part of greatness comes in recognizing that it is already an inner template awaiting activation, something we were born with. Still another piece is pushing through our myriad of fears (which can be significant) in order to nurture our innate gift to the fullest extent in the timely rhythm of our life. Simple, dogged persistence is another central ingredient toward fulfilling our potential. Some achieve an early, easy, meteoric success and honor, while others of us bloom more slowly and largely behind the scenes of worldly life. Above all, however, we must allow ourselves our personal perception of what constitutes greatness in our life.
Here are some brief story elements of a BIG greatness and the inner battles that were fought to prevail over the physical frailty of childhood. Called the “American Lion,” President Theodore Roosevelt overcame a timid, sickly childhood to become the nation’s youngest, foremost leader (at age 42), later to have his memorable face chiseled into Mount Rushmore—the legacy of only four great presidents in our history.
Early in life, he suffered from asthma attacks, which kept him homebound, studying avidly about natural history and animals, and greatly fussed over within the loving embrace of a boisterous, happy, wealthy family. His physical fragility, however, kept the hyperactive, at times mischievous youth, socially isolated from the outer world activities of normal, growing boys. Thus, for him, the outdoors and nature became symbolic of health.
In a letter he wrote in 1903, he described himself as “nervous and self-conscious” and below average in the “point of leadership” compared to boys his age. He went on to say, “It was not until after I was sixteen that I began to show any prowess, or even ordinary capacity… I cannot remember that I did anything that even lifted me up to the average.”1
In his mid-teens, with the steady support of his gentle and devoted father, who encouraged him to combat the invalid within, Theodore began an energetic course of physical conditioning, part of which included boxing lessons. With the power of his mind over body, coupled with heroic gumption, he grew stronger and able to create an extraordinarily virile life, which set him on an athletic course of what he later called his “strenuous life.”
He more than made up for his earlier perceived deficiencies in his aggressive need to conquer his self doubts and to become self-reliant, which he largely did when he moved West to the Dakotas to become a cattle rancher. He went on to prove himself valiantly in military battle, the most famous risk of which was leading the charge—amidst flying bullets and artillery shells—up Kettle hill and the San Juan heights during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. Many decades later, he was awarded the highest Medal of Honor for his courageous, fighting spirit.
His was the innate temperament of the buoyant showman, of the bold, fearless, decisive, competitive, persistent, and looming presence, which, when finally released, came quickly to the fore. Through sheer force of will and the absolute joy of life, he tapped into his personal reservoir of greatness within. He was very much a defender of the overall public good and enacted his “Square Deal” so that all people, not only the powerful and rich, could have a fair stake in life.
As a strident, indefatigable “force of nature” over the course of his 60 years of life, the extent and range of his influence, diplomacy, and accomplishments are staggering, from the first American ever to win any Nobel Prize; to getting the Panama Canal built; to delivering a 90-minute, political speech after having just been shot in the chest by a would-be assassin; to name only a few. At the hands of Theodore Roosevelt, America became a world power. One of the creeds he lived by was “do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”
Not many of us possess such a rigorous life-impetus to put our brawn, brain, and bravado into conquering so many personal peaks of attainment as did Theodore Roosevelt, a triumphant man of high achievement. Many of us set about our lives along unpretentious lines, but in no less meaningful endeavors, working earnestly, faithfully in the background with great effectiveness. In fact, the famed medical intuitive, Carolyn Myss, wrote a book, “Invisible Acts of Power,”2 which examines how each of us is called into action to assist one another in both small and large acts of courage and grace.
Through all the many heartwarming stories contained in the book, she affirms “there is really no such thing as a small act of service or goodness” but that “everything we do counts.” Every single thing. In her explicit words, Carolyn bestows her gift to us: “I want to help you realize that no matter how much money you have, no matter what sex, race, or age you are, you do have power. You can make a difference in your world and in the life of every single person you encounter.” Life is truly interconnected on seen and unseen levels. What I do affects you and what you do affects me—and all the generations to come.
Imagine, for a moment, this possibility. Prior to being born on Earth this time around, you have a deep-hearted consultation with Three Wise Guides. During congenial discussion and upon consideration of the many possibilities, you decide that the primary task in your upcoming incarnation is to practice peace in all your thoughts, words, and deeds in your daily life and in all interactions with others. Your one and only assignment is to be a center of peace inwardly as the hub around which your outer life revolves. As you are peaceful within, you can only be peaceful without. Would this single goal then be a worthy assignment for a lifetime—a perpetual state of peace?
Indeed, there is greatness within every person.
The things that happen to me day after day, the things that
Text © by Zane Maser, 2010. All rights reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.
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