All You Have Staked Will Be Lost if You Look Back

“There is a point at which everything becomes simple and there is no longer any question of choice, because all you have staked will be lost if you look back.”  Dag Hammarskjold

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We all want to create something. We all want to be the lords of our own little worlds, to create caverns of new realities that others can enter and look around with awe-filled eyes.

We want to start a business.

We want to have a child.

We want to write a story.

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But then the problem: we want to create, but we are so rarely willing to give up ourselves completely. We want to grab the fresh new thing without letting go of the old self. We want to cross the stream but hesitate when it comes to leaving the bank we are on. But these streams are too wide to straddle.

We are frightened of giving ourselves up, of ratting ourselves out. We are frightened of telling the truth. The many masks we have taken on are not easily removed.

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In the journal John Steinbeck kept while writing East of Eden, he wrote about how the story took over his mind. He told about how, night after night, he would go without sleep while contemplating the tale’s twists and turns, the character’s intricacies, the setting’s subtleties.

I did not sleep last night and I look forward to those nights of discovery…And after everyone is asleep there is such quiet and peace, and it is during this time that I can explore every land and trail of thinking.

Yet I shy away from writing too late – not enough sleep, and my eyes dry out. I don’t feel like feeling tired the next day.

I am scared of writing plot lines which echo my own life, or are the complete opposite of it, keeping me stuck in this muddy middle ground of mediocrity.

* * * * *

This year, don’t look back.

Lose yourself in a new creation.

Take yourself to the point at which choice no longer is an option.

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They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.  ~Francis Bacon

6 Replies to “All You Have Staked Will Be Lost if You Look Back”

  1. How true this is and how strongly it rings in my life. I have been ‘straddling’ a long time. It’s very odd. It’s like there are still things left undone on the one side before I completely cross over to the other.

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