WHAT AM I TO DO NOW? WHEN LIFE SUCKS – RISE!
By Sedrick Banks
Pain, struggle, heartache, and loss are not easy. They suck for all of us. I believe we all have the ability and strength to hunker down and then RISE beyond all of these.
I believe this is possible because I’ve gone through some of the most devastating experiences life could muster up – and I’m here. And I’m not just here in a purely functional way because I somehow managed to white-knuckle my way through this misery – I’m actually happy and look forward to waking up each day because it gives me another chance to help others who might be stuck in pain. So if you think life’s been so rough with you that there’s no way you could possibly get through it, let alone find happiness, I’d like to start by sharing the truth of what I know and have experienced directly...
I was orphaned at 14 years of age, when my mother died unexpectedly; my father died when I was six. I’d like to say that having to raise myself as a teen with no support was the worst thing that I’ve experienced…but it’s not. Before he died, my father threatened to take away my six-year-old life by placing me on my knees and putting a double-barreled shotgun in my mouth. Consequently, I feared the mere sight of him. So did everyone else – I remember my mother hiding in the closet. I grew up in a drug- and alcohol-infested environment. Three of my sisters died from drugs. I recall my sister diving off the rooftop. I remember people in my family running down the street naked because they were so drugged up they had no idea what they were doing. I saw good friends go to jail and good friends go to the grave. I watched people ruin their lives right in front of my eyes. In school, my teachers teased me for being poor, so I sat timidly in class, too afraid even to ask to use the restroom; which on one occasion meant I peed through the white pants I was wearing right there in the classroom. The fear of being teased by other kids kept me silent.
I can tell you that I never heard the words "I love you" as a child. I do not remember receiving a hug. I got locked in a cellar, in a dark basement, naked and without food or water.
I fought against the rats while eating food out of the garbage. I grew up often moving because we could not afford to pay the rent. That made eviction the best option.
We lived in abandoned homes in Pittsburgh, PA with no running water, plumbing, electricity, or heat. They did have broken windows -- including during the middle of winter.
I almost got put out of the military within my first two years because I had a deviant leader who took all my credit cards and maxed them out and put me in debt.
I went through Army Ranger Training twice; back-to-back. I broke off two engagements because the women cheated on me. I misled other women, and let down plenty of people.
I saw my friend's brains spattered on the wall just minutes after he committed suicide (we had plans to go out for the evening). We were both Drill Sergeants and we were, in fact, actually responsible for teaching suicide prevention.
The point is this: My story is extreme, yes…but we ALL suffer through painful experiences. We all feel worthless at times because real life is always happening and it will surprise us all.
The question is: What are we going to do with our suffering and how are we going to allow it to develop joy within us?
Our downfalls can either be our most crushing disadvantage or our most significant advantage…and YOU get to decide this!
Life can knock us down, stopping us with a knockout blow…or it can knock us flat on our backs, just rattle us a bit, and then we can muster the strength to RISE.
I truly believe that when we see the life lessons as advantages rather than isolated incidents of our struggles, they no longer have the power to hold us down. This perspective gives us the strength to overcome, and slowly and eagerly RISE.
It sucks finding ourselves flat on our face. I know. I've been there more than once. To find yourself lying on the canvas, mentally beaten and feeling physically done. Having been hit so hard, it seems impossible to get up. I don't claim to understand your situation. I don't know your life. But I did live through and continue to face my own painful experiences.
A genuine value of life shows up when we are in the arena, in the ring of life, uncomfortably cornered against the ropes, knocked down on the canvas, feeling beaten, thinking we are mentally, emotionally, and physically defeated.
Then we experience an awakening that encourages us to RISE back up and say “This is not my end, it’s just a pause – Time to RISE and Fight Back!
We all have a story of pain, suffering, lack of worth, and regrets. Sometimes we feel we’re losing in the ring, doesn’t matter if we’re rich or poor, old or young, male or female. Our story can become a driving force. It is powerful enough to encourage us to get up and show how we can overcome by what we have already overcame. And now we are able to help someone else by telling our story.
We are all in this overall story together; so we can all overcome the pain together – each of us bringing a unique perspective that heals.
When we decide to get up and RISE for another – if not for ourselves in the moment – our best life will show up and reveal its powerful value.
Live as one of the few whose deciding to get up. We will all at one time contemplate the worth of our life when we find ourselves lying flat on our backs in the boxing ring of life. The floor of this ring is not where we are supposed to live; it’s just a place to recognize our strength and get back on our feet.
Some of us will lie on the canvas floor way too long, believe it is where we belong, and then make ourselves the victim in our championship fight. We tend to remain too long on the canvas of defeat until our mind, and our whole body believes this is who we are and where we were called to exist.
I continue to RISE and need you to RISE with me...for when we RISE we become the hope for another to RISE.
Life is going to have its moments of testing you; a test of your passion, your drive, your ability to push, your motives, your values, your truths, and your will to live (and to live on purpose).
How you endure through your knockdowns will be the driving force and energy to support you in returning to your feet during the fight to live life in your championship rounds (the chapters remaining in your life starting right now).
When we make our life matter, the results of our story changes, our impact is made, and our story is written to be passed on in a new form to our kids; defining the story of a new generation.
You are the beginning of authoring a new story of overcoming, getting up, believing in yourself, finding value in your existence, and adding value and worth to the book you are writing.
Life will laugh at you; people will laugh at you. You will lose much confidence in your dream of winning and defending this life you are called to live. Then you will stop and ponder…your True Self will come calling from deep within you. Talk with your True Self, affirming you how strong you truly are even while you are lying on your back on the canvas.
Life will observe and measure whether you really desire to live it. It will see if you are passionate about developing and growing. And just when you think you have it mastered, it will present you with a new challenge – a new challenger – placing you in a different fight to overcome. You will find yourself on the canvas more than once to be preparing, and not beaten.
For through experience and living in the “Present” you will learn to RISE.
You will quietly speak. And then you’ll know…
Now it is time; the count has begun. No more pondering. It is time for me to get up... it is time for me to RISE.
It is time to hear these words in my head and throughout my entire body.
It is time to listen to the voice within me – My True Self.
Screaming or softly whispering to me, “Get Up...RISE, RISE, RISE!”
You cannot truly and fully live, lying knocked out on the canvas of life - for no real life is lived lying on one's back. That is not life. It is death before its time.
Many men have stepped into the ring of life and gotten knocked down and knocked out but the strong, the brave warrior, and the one fighting for a true cause understood that sometimes it is part of the journey, the process and have gotten back up to win the fight of life.
The difference between living and surviving is the getting up, pushing forward and punching back with confidence, grit, and faith. Understanding life, as chaotic as it seems, is worth living fully.
The most powerful way to get your back off the canvas: RISE -- Live as the warrior in your life, living Genuinely Present and truly you...from the inside out.
RISE and RISE Boldly: Worry Not In Wait – Take Action
Grow Through the Process of Progress of the Fight
Worry not about the future - Live & Be Present.
Worry not about holding your Present prisoner because of errors in your past - No one is guilty today - It Is the Past & It has Gone.
Worry not about hate - Seek to Love without Condition.
Worry not about age - Embrace the Youth You Have.
Worry not about 'can't do' - Start Doing What You Can Do.
Worry not about hesitating - Truly Commit To Finish.
Worry not about failure - Try Now... Try Again - Never Done the First Time.
Worry not about “have nots”- Visualize and See What You Have.
Worry not about wait - Take a Chance Now, While Given the Present.
Please stop worrying about death - Seek to Live!
We are all given fantastic dreams, ideas, stories, inventions, books, music, discoveries, passions, and amazing purposes to live out...You have to RISE...Your Living Matters!
We can't produce a single one of these things surviving life with our back laid flat out on the canvas... These things only come to life when we slowly begin to let go of expectations, ego, fears, insecurities, future, and the past…and RISE.
The impact of the life we are called to live out is stronger than that fist that knocked us to the canvas. The life we are called to live is stronger than a bad marriage, a bad relationship, a rough upbringing, a painful memory, a loss of self-worth, which has put us all on the canvas of life one time or another.
It is now we RISE again and learn to punch back to “Fight a Good Fight” and Run Our Race to Victory.
Rise and Live Genuinely – Live The Genuine Life.