The Coliseum Calls

  Thurston’s Thoughts

The Coliseum Calls

Retired Ego

Ego is much like an athlete who ignores the whispers of time. Often we only glimpse our self-image by the regression of encounters lacking the admiration we once enjoyed. This internal dissonance is a fatal deception until obvious after the realization is glaring. The face of the sport has become the shame of the competition by tarnishing our legacy when our ego stays too long. Now we are tormented like we had become accustomed to tormenting envy. Father time is undefeated not only in sports but also as a delusion suffered by all those whose ego’s time has passed.

Time cannot be frozen or returned, only relived through highlight reels and tall tales remembering when a great coliseum once stood here. The glory that was once present can only suffer by our complicity yielding to a caliber of circumstances unaccustomed to us at our peak. Keeping it a buck, when we are identified by a standard, the standard becomes synonymous with us. This means when the standard becomes a facade our ego fills the vacuum while we resent it because we ignore the reality we refuse to accept. Vanity and narcissism morphed from a raging ego epitomizes the athlete’s pretentious dilemma of a hollow ego gone rogue.

The Five Rings emphasizes not only the proper weapon applied but the wisest defense. However, vanity is not one of them and pride is the double edged sword that now cuts us more than it used to cut envy when our self-image is now shredded. The secret is the shredding is only in our mind double blindfolded by vanity and narcissism. There is never any shame in not being what we once were especially physically because time is a bandit. Quiet as it is kept, our potential sits like a tub on its own bottom aspiring to be the best we can be because external comparisons are dangerous.

The Five Rings speaks of the void. It is the void that attacks us like the imaginary ghost under the bed existing only in our mind. There are times when life takes a lot out of us but resiliency is the remedy for the peaks and valleys of living. We must only satisfy ourselves thereby attracting those who gravitate towards us by their satisfaction and appreciation of us and ours of them. Life comes with many more flavors than Baskin Robbins, so everyone can choose theirs.

This is not a lesson in sports, combat, or comparisons but a lesson in survival armed with self-love and grace as a work constantly in progress. The lesson is adapting to changing circumstances and conditions while anticipating the countermoves needed to rise above challenges by perspective. Perspective leads to perception manifesting the synchronicities of provisions along the journey towards a destination. Ever notice those who are most judgmental of others are the most dissatisfied with themselves unable to live and let live.

Just as the predator is unbothered by the prey, a triumphant perspective is unbothered by the distractions of derailment. Accordingly, the mind is the lens of perception, it is also the projector of perspective leading to triumph. So, there comes a time when the business of retiring self-defeating internalizations must face the integrity of self-evaluation. The anxiety of what others may or may not be thinking is for them to contemplate instead of our preoccupation with their validation of us.  

Even when the referee gets it wrong and the game is over, it is never one play that determined the outcome. We don’t attack the ref, we deal with the outcome and attack our process. Winners never quit and quitters always whine or something like that. It is the pessimism of a loser mentality to think they can whine their way to victory, improvement, or self-acceptance. The power of self-love measured to a full cup has no need for Bounty to absorb the overflow. This messy overflow is vanity and narcissism in need of a retirement without the party. They are the agony preventing the ecstasy of self-esteem and the trumpets of authenticity proclaiming our arrival. 

Whether living a memory or a mirage constantly on stage performing an illusion where the applause no longer are the ovations of approval but the kindly deceptions of memoirs refusing to acknowledge the curtain has fell silent. The gladiator’s conquest is not in reminiscing or hallucinating victory but adapting in the great coliseum of life. This arena’s erosion by time and events still echoes the gladiator’s feats of courage against the lions of self-doubt.

Our epithet of euphoric proclamations roars from the core of our self-determination shining for all who would observe them erected by our demonstration, resourcefulness, and resiliency. Victory of self is the only true adversary we will ever face. Sometimes there is no easy way to face it despite it facing us, similar to an athlete’s dilemma. The greater the distortion, the bigger the arena but not full of applause but instead of self-actualization. We must see it in ourselves or as an example to become it. But more importantly, we must stalk it as a persistent transition pursued as an opportunity for the glory  and serenity of self-fulfillment.

After all, there are only two alternatives, either be it or fake it keeping in mind the real McCoy can only be exposed as the real McCoy but not as the counterfeit of vanity or narcissism. The burden of being the real deal comes with benefits while the apprehension of faking it might get you there but not keep you there. It most likely will prevent you from even getting there when confronted by a real player. So when the coliseum calls, vanity and narcissism are retired to the agony of defeat. From the ashes of ego rises an alter-ego impervious to defeat, only seeing the victory.  Triumph raises above the crowd’s roar for the gladiator who courageously overcome the demons within by challenging the villain of surrender. Life is strange like that but not as much as living as a delusional ego.

Thurston K Atlas

Creating a Buzz

Mistaken Identity

I ain’t cut like that.

This is a personal message of perseverance and carrying the shield of conviction. It is a proclamation to be used as a public service announcement that might sustain and encourage others on their journey as I continue on mine. Only the names and circumstances change if you have been through some things and come out the other side. Not to convene a pity party but a celebration that I will not be broken.

For those who endeavored or rejoiced around the clock for my demise, you have me mistaken for yourself or someone else like you. I am not. I ain’t cut like that, wasn’t raised like that, in fact, was born for that. Ascension from adversity further built my resolve and character, I am the epitome of relentlessness built for survival.

As my witness to your contribution, success will accompany me, triggered by the resolve to unleash my potential unfettered by the concerns or restrictions I allowed to limit my pursuits. Oddly, my liberation came from my restrictions and voluntary suffering as a commitment to walk someone to the pearly gates where I could not enter, but my word and promise entered with them.

So great was my commitment that I was willing to be carried on my shield in its pursuit and almost did several times with a heavy toll being rendered. It was a joint responsibility but a singular journey, having been abandoned to face the demands alone and pay the price extracted.

I am being purposefully vague because the specifics do no good since I already paid in full, but can you read between the lines or substitute your scenario of struggle. The hardship is the point and the blessing earned. When you find yourself on that dark lonely road alone, it is a decision-making time when you realize that the cavalry is not coming.

There is no search party dispatched franticly concerned about your safety. With what choices are you left? If you stay there, you die there or you can find your way back by the tenacity of your character. It takes a tough old bird to weather the storm, but the objective is then to become one, the storm, not the bird.

The spark of tenacity becomes the fire down below that raises to the top illuminating the way. It then becomes the way itself when you really need someone you can depend on when it gets thick. Of course, having someone riding shotgun is a huge bonus, but you only need one person to believe in you that will not forsake you. That is you, what you have always had if you nourished it properly.

Develop a determination that touches down like a hurricane decimating the internal obstacles and restrictions hindering your journey. This natural phenomenon swirls from the eye of your inner character. It is futile to resist thereby reducing external obstacles as mere challenges that will fall either before your presence or in your wake. They are only there to add to your accomplishments and legacy as testaments of your fortitude.

Like dad, the mighty oak, always say everybody loves a winner when the work is done and the victory secured. There is no trouble finding fair-weather people to ride in the cart while you pull it. You’re blinded only seeing the side of them you pay to see, their masquerade. If you ask what kind of people are they? The ones who haven’t been tested.

Despite putting your coat in the mud, they are pump-faking when the shoes get tight. There only for their benefit and exposed by any voluntary suffering for your benefit. Not sacrifice but suffer. Few will emerge or deflect your suffering at their expense, know that. Everybody is not going to go down the road with you or walk you to the gate. Many will jump ship before even the rats abandon. If one emerges, be surprised and eternally grateful for it is no small undertaking or gesture and to be held in high gratitude.  

Rolling your sleeves up and tightening your belt before you expect help replenish your will to move forward knowing that your limits of endurance expand according to your ability not to concede having perseverance as your default reaction to adversity. It creates a calmness or harmony not necessarily to resist the path of adversity but resist surrendering to it.

Being convinced of a victorious outcome even if unsure of the method to achieve it. The method will reveal itself when the persistence leaves no other alternative whereby you don’t win. That is where the calm within the storm resides to remain assured and composed under duress because there is no outcome where you don’t prevail. The wisdom of this adversity has yet to reveal its lesson and improvisation, so your victory is only delayed.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears, but life is often the teacher that enrolls you in the course without your consent. So the lessons begin, and you learn what you need to know. The harder the times, the more you step your game up to weather the storm. That is how you become the storm.

When you can’t make it through today, know that tomorrow will come anyway until it doesn’t. But, before tomorrow comes, know today that you will see it and the day after that, so this too shall pass as surely as the sun rises tomorrow, so will I renewed. This perpetual renewal of the mind and spirit produces your desired reality fueled by any undesirable occurrences and your ingenuity to adapt.

If the world I am accustomed to ended tomorrow, I would have to start over again because I will survive and thrive from an unshakeable spirit that must be overtaken and rust out, not given up or worn out. It is the only control we have over circumstances and life being life. So be content and astute at controlling what you can control.

Whether direct or indirect, we cannot escape life challenges, so we saddle up and ride. We get back on the horse, even if draped across the saddle, making it back from the wilderness. The key to conquering the path is giving yourself a chance, knowing that the test will be conquered, sharpening you for the next task to conquer.

Conquering obstacles become your profession. Without apprehension, you become the storm and the refuge from a storm unsubmitted by hardships. The survivor mentality is akin to the warrior spirit. It is built as a fortress.

A steel mind and iron fortitude shape the warrior spirit to adapt to or bend circumstances for your survival and achievements. Fear not the wild lions nearby, for they bring opportunity, so let them fear that they should avoid you because you are hungry too. Just another obstacle to be confronted and conquered on the way to another day.

Confidence to overcome has its own scent, a recognizable smell of respect. So you see, my past hardships, like your’s are insignificant relative to the mentality to overcome them. They will fall before me as many before and many more to come because I will only succumb to father time. The rest can’t beat you, not even mortality, only your perspective and willingness to surrender. This applies to thoughts, emotions, situations, and people.

Like the Wizard of Oz, the forest and path were fraught with danger and obstacles to overcome en route to the Emerald City, which led to the revelation that the fat man behind the curtain was a scam. The Great Oz behind the curtain was the scam representing your self-imposed limitations, while the real power to manifest and conquer was always within you. The superstition is you are fragile.

The reality is choosing to be unbreakable by the perils along your path. When life hits, hit back and let life know this isn’t a free lunch. It is a tussle. I will resist and will not submit to life’s obstacles but improvise. Strength of character is not forged in good times but by overcoming the test of bad times.

It is challenged by struggles, especially ones of a voluntary nature like standing close to our seniors and elderly during their decline and darkest hours or difficult children needing a little extra patience. Perhaps health and financial challenges in need of a kind gesture paid forward. To yield the balance of your strength or excesses assisting someone of lesser capacity demonstrates the character that will be required when you go through your trials and tribulations.

It is a higher accommodation to know that you could have walked away as others did, but your character and commitment made that not an option but your shield to carry. Maybe regardless of your age, when your knee touches the ground, someone will have the grace to extend themselves to you.

We will all need it at some time, but when not available, the solid backup plan has to be the will to endure knowing the sun shines every day the same, only dulled by obstructions such as clouds or weather.

Focus on the knowledge or blessings beyond your vision or wisdom you can utilize, not the obstructions. Neither fortune, small blessings, nor valuable lessons will escape the diligent. My mantra during my hard times is let them know the King yet lives. The great elephant will return healed from his wounds to which a mortal man would have succumbed.

I am hoisted by my mental fortitude and forged wisdom expanding my limitations. I have been sharpened by adversity to be an elite weapon of resiliency and vision to endure and persevere whatever circumstances presenting themselves for conquer. Only one person needs to believe in me, and that is me. That is more than enough.

Like Samson, the legendary strongman brought to heel when stripped of his strength, his locks. The task was to cut them, but the mistake was letting them grow back longer. So there is no need to look for me at the grinder’s wheel. My metaphoric locks have regrown longer, rendering the temple of adversity in danger.

Rest assured that I am not mistaken about my identity, I am. I am that which I choose to be. Life circumstances forged me in the fire for battle and I can thank those who added wood to the fire before leaving the party early because the celebration is just beginning. The old saying is that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

So, excuse me, I still have this temple-crumbling business to handle while I retake my throne as the rightful King. Maybe you have your throne to retake and temple to shake. Make no mistake about it, I am cut like that. Are you? You can be, be resilient. Gain the blessings from adversity if you have to endure it anyway. It is better than being weakened by it.

I must add this disclaimer, this is not my rampant ego ran amok but an internal conversation for an empowering affirmation to make all kneel before me that presents itself to submit me. No weapon formed against me shall prevent my prosperity. Self-talk is therapeutic and strengthens the will, aided, of course, by the legendary Temptation walk. Strong is a state of mind. Survival is a state of being. I am is a state of choice. We all choose, I choose I am! Let the celebration begin!


Thurston K. Atlas

Creating A Buzz