Working With Hammer And Chisel

in Cultivating Clarity
Stone carver's hand


“How do we cultivate such clarity that our lives take on a meaning and a direction that is overflowing with purpose, wonder, love and adventure?”

This was the key question we asked in our latest blog post, Death: A Catalyst For Crafting A Legacy, as together we explored the idea of seizing the day and being proactive about living the life you have.  In truth, learning how to craft a legacy will ask you to dig deeper, as it will require you to have a vision for what it is you truly want – what you are seeking to create in this life.

Our mission here at Unitas Project is to hold a space that inspires and equips you to turn your self-limiting beliefs and behaviours into a catalyst for writing a new and compelling story for your family, your career, your health and your world. Cultivating clarity of being (Who am I?), along with nurturing clarity of purpose (What is important to me?) are essential steps on your path if you are to experience clarity of action, and to that end, craft a legacy.

In the post, Leverage Your Body, you learned how fear can play a significant role in causing you to forget your own resourcefulness, skills and natural abilities. To that end, you often end up playing small and engaging in addictive patterns of protection and preservation. If these patterns are left unresolved, your life could be shaped and influenced by disappointment, regret, shame and despair.

Debbie Ford shares a story in the movie The Shadow Effect, which could help you see yourself in a new light, and thus become a metaphor for crafting a new story for your life.

In 1957, a monastery in Thailand was to be relocated to make room for a new highway.  The monks arranged for a crane to come and move the giant clay Buddha to its new location.  When the crane started to lift the statue, it was much heavier than expected and it began to crack.  Wanting to protect the priceless shrine, the monks lowered it back down and decided to wait until the next day before continuing with their task.  In the dark of night, the head monk took his flashlight and went out to check on the giant statue.  When the light of the flashlight shone into the crack of the clay, he saw a glimmer, a reflection of something underneath the shroud of clay. With his curiosity aroused, the monk got a hammer and chisel and immediately started to carefully chip away at the clay Buddha. As he chiseled away piece after piece of clay, to his delight, he discovered the clay Buddha getting brighter and brighter. After hours of work and with all the clay removed, he found himself in the presence of a Buddha made of brilliant solid gold.

Debbie Ford goes on to explain how historians believe the Buddha had been covered with clay by Thai monks several hundred years earlier because of an oncoming attack from the Burmese army. The monks covered the Buddha to protect it from being destroyed or stolen by the invading army. In the attack, all the monks were killed so it wasn’t until 1957 that the lost treasure was uncovered.

Just like the “clay” Buddha, the truth is your brilliance – your beautiful, courageous, and authentic brilliance has been with you from the moment you were conceived. However, through your years of living you have been well conditioned by your parents, teachers, coaches, the media, books, movies, music, religion, and the voice of fear that you are not enough, that you are not whole. As a result you lost touch with who you are – with your unique voice, your giftedness and resourcefulness. To that end, you began to adopt the fears that you were not enough and like the Thai monks, you covered your unique, brilliant treasure with “clay” in order to protect yourself from the oncoming attack.

A Very Important Truth:

Our deepest need as human beings is to be loved, cherished, accepted and valued. Therefore, our deepest fear is connected to not being enough.  If I am not enough, I will not be loved, cherished, accepted and valued.  And this, this would be hell!

That is why playing it safe, playing small, and living within the confines of the status quo are so prevalent in our society. Each one of us is motivated by this deep need to be loved and accepted. Yet the irony is that we are also created to shine and be a blessing to the world around us.  We can’t have both. You and I will not craft a legacy as long as our lives are driven by a fear that keeps us playing small in order to be “loved” and “accepted” by God, family, friends, or the world.

If you and I are going to truly craft a legacy in our lifetime and experience life abundantly, we must hold a space for each other that inspires and equips each one of us to skillfully work with hammer and chisel in order to reveal the brilliant masterpiece we already are.

Today’s Unitas Project:

  • One sunny spring day while enjoying my morning coffee, I was listening to singer/songwriter Stephen Fearing and his song, The Brilliance You Need, instantly caught my attention and resonated deep within me. It’s a beautiful and lyrical song that gets to the heart of what Unitas Project is about. I invite you to slowly read through the lyrics of the chorus and take notice of what you see, feel, and hear:

“It’s what we can’t face that destroys us
What we can’t feel makes us bleed
Unbind your secret shadow
Find the brilliance you need
Unbind your secret shadow
Find the brilliance you need”

  • As you reflect upon these lyrics, what do notice? What do you notice about the way you see your life, or feel about yourself? Sit quietly and allow those hidden or buried places within you to emerge. It’s okay. You are in a safe place. Relax into this moment, breathe deeply in and out through your nose, and write down any of your observations.

Until Next time…

Be You. Be Unitas.



Photo from iStock Photo