By Derek Alexander Wilson, Great Paxton.
The only things that will ever change you from the person you are today to the person you will become tomorrow are the books you read and the people you meet…
Christopher McCandless had it all, he was an intelligent and good looking young college graduate with a loving family, good friends and great prospects for the future.
But for all his material security and emotional support he felt empty inside. The true story of his quest to find the meaning of life is detailed in the astonishing book (& 2007 film) “Into the Wild”.
It’s a powerful and moving story which eventually cost him his life. It culminates with Christopher trapped and alone in the grip of a freezing Alaskan winter with the last of his strength slowly draining from his malnourished body yet he retained remarkable clarity of mind.
He realised too late, that only in the face of certain death can true clarity of mind be attained….
Faced with the inescapable truth that death was almost upon him he detailed his physical and emotional journey and his ultimate spiritual discovery in a diary so that his death would not be in vain and that the rest of humanity might benefit from his experience….“Happiness is just an illusion unless it is shared with someone you love”
Deep down this holds true for all of us, sadly only the lucky few learn this early enough in life to act upon it and live our lives accordingly.
I have been blessed with good health, great friends, a beautiful wife and three amazing children. Then at the age of 45, I was blessed again to see the amazing film “Into the Wild” and benefit from Christopher’s discovery.
Following Christopher’s journey and experiences has made me stronger, given me an inner peace and ultimate sense of understanding that for me true happiness is devoting my life to making my family happy.
Almost every school morning one of my twin sons (the boys are 7 now) comes into our room and asks me to help him button his shirt, his twin brother can easily button his own shirt, but Ryan only has one arm, he was born with no right arm.
Ryan never complains, never ever I have I heard him complain or seek sympathy or pity. He recognises there are a few things he needs help with but he never stops smiling and nothing gets him down…..
Not even a serious wrestling match with his very athletic twin brother Jayden, Ryan’s left arm is way stronger than his brothers right arm and overall Ryan is the stronger of the two, he uses his legs like two extra arms and has a six pack and a core of pure muscle. He says its one of the benefits of only having one arm!!
All those who are lucky enough to know Ryan are inspired by his astonishing positive attitude, his enthusiasm and love of life. The gift of life is a precious thing .“All energy is only borrowed and one day we must give it back, so enjoy every moment.”
Ryan is my hero and my role model and he embodies the second of the three secrets of life…..“Within every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater benefit”
The final secret is the simplest and yet the most powerful. It can empower us to do great things or lead us down the wrong path and end in disaster….It rewards us with all the credit and glory for our wisdom and good deeds, but also gives us nowhere to hide from our mistakes and places 100% of the blame for those mistakes squarely on our own shoulders.
It also relieves us from the guilt which many of us wrongly impose on ourselves when faced with the seemingly insurmountable problems of the modern world; from climate change to religious wars, globalisation and greed to pollution and over population….
Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of trying to make the world a safe place for our children.
Understanding the final secret frees us from the stress of trying to change others before we change ourselves.
“All we can do is decide how to spend the time we are given”
This last key may at first appear to simple, but give it some time and when used in combination with the other two keys you will find happiness.