By Kevin Carrel Footer
I have been working lately at making that strong place strong. It is hard work. Often the strong place isn’t so strong as it should be. But it should be strong – it must be strong – if we are to become fully ourselves.
For most of us, creating the strong place is a lifetime project. More than heavy lifting it requires a determination to put up with the tedium of it all: who would not make the most heroic sacrifice just once if guaranteed that that sacrifice would be recognized? But how many of us are willing to endure the tedium of, say, lifting an endless stack of half-empty cardboard boxes without any guarantee that it will result in anything at all? Life is more about lifting half-empty boxes than about great acts. (I’ve started to wonder which is truly more heroic.)
That is what we are up against as we build the strong place for ourselves. No guarantees, no certain reward only the endless tedium of having to get up each day and go back and do it again, one lowly cardboard box at a time ad infinitum.
Would you do it?
Like so many other essential things in life, building the strong place requires faith. (Without faith, the important things don’t get done.) One must believe that one can build such a place without ever having been there, without ever having seen it. One must believe – even though life stretches out before you like an endless line of half-empty boxes all the way to the horizon.
What is the strong place? The strong place is that center which can weather any assault, any challenge, any loss. It is the central place inside one’s soul that is in perfect equilibrium between one’s discrete existence and that of the universe itself. It is the balance point that holds one in perfect suspension.
It is easy to think of a balance point as something that is precarious: think of how you would feel walking on a tight-rope in constant danger of falling. But a master – someone who has found his strong place – someone like Philippe Petit who walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre on a summer morning in 1974 had no fear. The policeman who was sent to bring Petit down recalled afterwards, “I observed the tightrope ‘dancer’ — because you couldn’t call him a ‘walker’ — approximately halfway between the two towers… And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire… And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle… He was bouncing up and down. His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again… Unbelievable really…. Everybody was spellbound in the watching of it.”
Once you find your strong place, there is no one and no thing that can knock you from it.