Knock, knock, knocking at Heaven's Gate

Create the self you wish to be.
This used not to be controversial: That we pilot our own ships.

But the zeitgeist has changed.

Disempowering Beliefs
One of the recurring counseling problems we see in our office is the belief that there's nothing to be done about bad things: poverty, substance abuse, environment, health, crime, human freedom.

Perhaps that's true about society at large -- and the frustration that comes of increasingly splintered political factions. Certainly we have little individual influence over large political movement -- no matter how powerful the feeling that comes with marching for change. (How well I understand the madness of crowds, for I was living in Asia during the Tiananmen* Square protests. In a wave of hope, my kids and I joined the crowds in Central Hong Kong, chanting slogans and waving signs protesting government crackdowns in Beijing. But after the massacres of June 4, protest went silent and hope for change died...for the moment at least.)

The Bald-Faced Lie
The unfortunate side effect of futile protests against social wrongs is that we perhaps particularize our large disappointments about societal disarray onto our own individual lives. And it's an ugly fiction: that because we cannot personally engineer broad social change, change isn't possible.

There's a subtle murmur underlying news about criminality and poverty and every other social ill, a rumbling that mumbles "Nobody can fix anything." It's a lie.

In fact, every sentient human being has immense change one particular life: Their own. Human history is notable for one thing: We claw ourselves out of bad circumstances and create better ones. We've been doing it since time immemorial. Don't let the dark whispers drag you down into the pit. You're not a victim. You're better, stronger than that. You have significance. Your existence has purpose. Find it. Live it. Be it.

*The paradoxically named TianAnMen (天安門) Square is translated as Heaven's Peaceful Gate. And hence the title of this article.

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