Cataclysm: A Dramatic Positive Force For Change

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Second of the essays on my journey away from negativity towards freedom and happiness.

Submitted: January 29, 2009

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Submitted: January 29, 2009



Cataclysm: A Dramatic Positive Force for Change

By Nathan Howell

Since I was fourteen, there had been a house where I have gone to dream. It had grown to mammoth proportions and contained every room I’ve ever escaped into or wished for; and every single person I’ve ever liked or loved, requited or not. Needless to say, its many rooms and hallways were filled with many regrets, many mazes that kept me “safe” and comfortable. My mind had constructed it for these reasons, to keep me “from doing something stupid”. Because of this house, I’ve been pretty close to stationary for almost twenty years.

I started building it in eighth grade. It was about this time that, like every other teenager of the last hundred and twenty years, I was very frustrated with the way the world was turning. And I felt impudent and powerless to change it. The way I dealt with my lack of power, how my tongue made me gag in front of girls, and not having the Voice that I felt I deserved was to write in my omnipresent notebook. I wrote poems, rants, short stories – whatever needed to come out. One day I lent it to a friend and it was accidentally left on the cafeteria table, where it was picked up and examined by our lunch room attendant/gym teacher/athletics coach. He then turned it over to the vice principal, who consequently called me down to the office where I was interrogated about my “violent” fantasies and learned to keep my anger and frustration close to me and if others were to see my musings, I endlessly edited them to the point of altering all of my meanings. A friend at that time said, “Nathan, even when we’re hanging out, you are hanging out by yourself” and that was and has been true for nineteen of the last twenty years.

I began to ditch a lot. It made me feel terrible and ashamed and so rather than face the teacher whose class I’d ditched, I’d ditch again; which would exacerbate everything and became a vicious circle. I screwed up once and ran into my algebra teacher after I had ditched his class that morning. He told me, verbatim: “Nathan, you will never be more than a broom pusher.” And just like many people in my frame of mind, I hated that man so much; I did everything in my power to prove him right.

I’m not stating these cases as an excuse, but rather because often we overstress the importance of external events of our lives. I’ve lived the most of the last fourteen years of my life proving those teachers right by (subconsciously purposely) fumbling every opportunity I’ve had and pushing everyone away. For what reason? Because I was dwelling on everything I didn’t know, feeling that everything I wanted didn’t matter, and trying to control every outcome. I held every heartbreak and missed opportunity hostage and locked them in my dreaming house. I turned my life into a circle of doom and despair. Start a new project (this is it! Awesome!) – work it to death – hit a roadblock (I don’t know what to do! I don’t know enough…) – start a different new project (repeat cycle). So making sure I was staying precisely in one place, and proving my doubts about myself TRUE. 

In comes Cataclysm. It isn’t important to wonder what form it will take or whether you will recognize it. It always comes; and you will know it. What is important is what you do with it. Mine have come in small doses (finding What the Bleep, The Secret, or Man’s Search For Meaning); and in large doses like my spouse leaving. It’s important to understand that the Universe hates static. It loves dynamics. Something will always come to bring change. This is what I call Cataclysm. So what do I do with it? I only really have two choices: Embrace or Resist. I spent most of my adolescent and early adult life resisting and trying to control any Cataclysms that came my way. That’s one reason I couldn’t move and why I virtually abandoned my beloved writing.

Andy Dooley has Four Principles; the third of which is “Let go and Let It Happen”. This concept is not new. In popular culture it’s exemplified in many areas, like Yoda for example; but most notable is the Serenity Prayer. You’ve heard it, and if you been a recovering addict, you probably know it by heart. But for those you haven’t been a recovering addict, I will repeat it here:

“[God] Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

I am unconcerned, for this article, with the religious side of it, being more of a proponent for its connotations which are typical to why I and many other people have become mired in a destructive redundant cycle. This is probably one of the hardest and most dynamic concepts I’ve ever had to grasp. It didn’t help me in quitting cigarettes other than giving me initiative (and I’ll go into that in a later article). What the concept of allowing dynamics has done is to enable myself to let things go and not concern myself with things that are beyond my control. It set me free and enabled me to destroy that house that I went to dream so that I could find that pool of Boundless Potential that is Me. It’s you too.

Cataclysm is going to happen. You can’t control that. Accept it, embrace it. What you can control is what you do with the lesson that it imparts. My wish for you, dear reader, is for your next change to be the one that frees you.


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