This is the final instalment of my Three Part Post on "The Edge of Life". So far we have discussed mostly what I call the Misfit Paradigm. That is, that there is a group of Humans that have this inherent feeling that they do not fit - Mistfits.
This inherent feeling is elusive and unshakable and manifests itself in this particular Misfit as restlessness, discontentment and an inescapable feeling that there is something missing - something more out there.
|Photo Credit: www.onlineradio.hk|
Jeff Goins' book "Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life" is based on young people working in some of the poorest parts of the world and how they become Wrecked from the experience (among other things).
He describes being Wrecked as follows:
".. to be “wrecked” ... means to have a redemptive transformation, often catalyzed by a brush with the pain of a dying world... being wrecked means that everything you believe about this world, yourself, and your destiny is now in question. Because you’ve seen something larger..."
As a Misfit I immediately identified with being "Wrecked". I have always had a deep sense of something larger, of the inequities in our dying world and how the priorities of our consumer culture have become distorted.
In my case this knowledge did not lead to a noble pursuit such as working with missionaries in poverty stricken regions - I took a more classic, rebellious approach - such as lighting poop-filled paper bags on fire and running away. Rather than providing service I engaged in conflict. My heart was in the right place but I was acting out of anger and frustration rather than adding value with tolerance and compassion.
As a result my Misfit status took a negative connotation and my conflict with the Humans became more acute. As a twenty-something I was spinning my tires in frustration. The ineffectiveness of my approach had become apparent.
|My Newest Misfit|
My "redemptive transformation" came after I was already Wrecked. I came to understand that I needed to move towards the positive rather than away from the negative.
This simple change in thinking marked a profound paradigm shift. My ability to affect change increased exponentially. I went back to school and became educated far beyond my intelligence. I found a career in Community Development working in Rural Indigenous Communities building houses, playgrounds and employment opportunities. I created a successful consulting business, a home and a family. I became part of the solution - being a Wrecked Misfit, once my greatest weakness, became my most valuable asset.
Don't get me wrong, freedom from the shackles of negativity is a work in progress. I learn the hard way and I seem to make every mistake at least once. My Uncle once called me "the King of Adversity". I took this as a great compliment. I didn't bother to point out that I created most of my own adversity. My ex recently described me as a "train wreck" ... well she's half right.
This is how I am Wrecked and why I don't fit - and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Today I am moving in the right direction. I embrace the Misfit Paradigm as the heart and soul of my internal compass. I root for the underdog and listen to those with no voice. I believe the strong should protect the weak, not eat them (well not all of them). When I stumble and give into one of my litany of shortcomings I am able to draw on the experience of those Misfits who went before me, dust myself off and move on. More often than not I am better for the experience. I believe that there is a relationship between my ability to fail and succeed - and as a result I embrace both success and failure.
Life is short and there is allot of work to do. There is no time to waste on the small stuff.
Through this Three Part Post I have moved through some of the big chunks of who I am and what I believe.
I hope some of you Misfits can relate.
I mentioned in the first installment of this series that my Blog Title is riddled with double meaning. Parts 1 & 2 were titled "The Edge of Life". The underlying meaning being, as a Misfit, I have felt I am on the outside looking in on much of Life. This 3rd and final Part is Titled "The Edge on Life". The underlying meaning is that with our new perceptions of being a Wrecked Misfit we now have an advantage, or an Edge, on Life.
Respectfully, From the Edge.