During the Christmas holiday, we saw the movie Unbroken. It chronicles the life of Louis Zamperini, who served in World War II and was captured by the Japanese and sent to various prison camps. I had read the book previously. Although it wasn't easy to read, I was impressed by Zamperini's spirit, resilience and inner strength. One sadistic camp guard in particular, "The Bird," was laser-focused on breaking Zamperini's spirit. He was never able to do so—thus, the film's title.
What strikes me as a take-away from this is that each of us has some "inner song," some core belief, some image or mantra that we hang onto almost as a talisman. That inner core helps us survive outer storms of all kinds in our lives. Louis Zamperini carried an image of his family, particularly his brother who encouraged him to be more than he himself ever thought he could (thanks to that encouragement, he had been a successful runner and Olympic athlete prior to the war) and also his beloved mother. The words of his brother rang in his ears when he endured the most cruel and inhumane treatment at the hands of "The Bird." Those words were, "If you can take it, you can make it." And the image of his mother lovingly preparing food for the family warmed his heart during the lonely weeks and months when he was a POW.
What inside you helps you get through life's outer storms? What images and messages do you carry inside? What mantra do you repeat in difficult times that gives you a boost of strength? I remember a mantra I used (sometimes several times a day) following my divorce and throughout some difficult times in my job: "I am calm and serene, for I reside in God's love." I still call that to mind from time to time.
Since life can change on a dime, it's good to think about what "inner song" you have that just might give you the inner strength to get through a tough time.
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