A statement I have heard many times and was probably brought to prominence for those whom are not avid Hemingway readers by Peter Sarsgaard in the film Jarhead. The actual Hemingway quote from The Snows of Kilimanjaro and other stories is “That in some way he could work the fat off his soul the way a fighter went into the mountains to work and train in order to burn it out of his body”.
In context to the dark night of the soul the fat in this case burdens the soul; it weighs it down, casts it into and encloses it in darkness. This modern world now of comfort zones and conveniences where such fat is easy to accumulate and it brings us down. Unfortunately like any case of the dark night of the soul when someone has no goal they inevitably grind to a halt very quickly even though they appear to be fighting. Mouth open and choking on the sand they are sinking in. Someone without a vision for the future always returns to their past and dwelling on the sands that have already passed through the hour glass will be your end. Over time this has caused the accumulation of unnecessary fat, toxic and heavy it assists in grinding even the most determined of us to a halt.
Even though you may not be ready to move towards a goal, that which has brought you to where you are now will gladly keep you there forever, in the darkness, in the emptiness and the void. Whatever that darkness means to you, whatever form it comes to you in (and there are many) will never turn back into the light of day by itself. The dark nights feels endless, and guess what? It is endless if you choose to stay there. While time is often our enemy, time is not is the enemy of the apathetic landscape you find yourself in, it will stay dark there forever. You don’t have time, thinking you have time is delusional. If you give yourself x amount of time to do something then that’s what it will take. Waiting on this darkness to expire will only end one way. Denial will only end in one way. Don’t cling onto a mistake or mistakes because you spent such a very long time making them. All of these things will continue to push you further downwards. Many do not want to enter the tunnel of darkness, mistakes and anguish in fear of the pain they may encounter there. However it is important to consider that nothing ever becomes polished without friction.
Not everyone wants to be stuck in this place and they may want to move toward a goal but still do not know what to do. Even if you don’t know what your goal is you must remember to start moving if you have stopped. Stasis will kill you. Get out and do something. Start with something small. Ten minutes of doing something is better than ten hours thinking about doing something. You will need to stick your chin out and push out of this sand and through the darkness, face your demons, put one foot in front of the other. There is no pill to fix this. Nobody is coming to save you; even if they did they cannot. You have to save yourself. Dostoyevsky said that “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have a great sadness on earth”.
We make our peace in the wilderness of this world. Fat was used for hundreds of years as fuel to light the way. Get out and burn the fat off your soul…
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