The Shackled King

Good evening ladies and gentlemen

I’ve often wandered where my thoughts come from. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about my thoughts you could say, confused by them, endlessly seeking clarity, endlessly seeking peace from all the noise. What does it mean to be free from it all? Is it possible to be free of it all- to be the king of the world? Or are we just animals, sat in cages, waiting for the allotted slot we’ve been given to go out and get some exercise, maybe go for a run, to get put back inside once again, sweating with temporary relief, almost feeling like a king once again.

These thoughts about being a king, about taking “extreme ownership” as Jocko WIllnik puts it got me thinking about zoos and safari parks and more specifically about the lion and his pride.

The lion, out on the African Savannah is a king. Stand up for those behind him and against anyone who dares disrespect him. He lies in the shade, surveying his kingdom, the territory he controls and anyone who dares cross his path without his permission. He is a patient leader, willing and ready to pick the opportune moment to hunt, to strike, to overcome. He will look to extend his territory even, as he works to continue the royal blood line.

This is what we believe and perceive a lion to be. A king, rivalled but defeated by nobody and nothing. Always ready to put it all on the line for his cause. Then, to see that same king in an enclosure, or worse in a cage. I don’t write this for an environmental purpose but what does that do to a mind- even of an animal? Fed on a schedule, given a territory vastly smaller to the one his kind usually rule. In a box, regular food, no need to hunt. No need to dominate, nothing to protect, nobody coming for your kingdom.

I’m not sure that’s even a lion anymore. Just a cat. A Shackled King, once on top of the world, now wandering why it’s so cold.

Maybe they don’t know any different, maybe they don’t know that generations ago they were top of the food chain, kings of the savannah.

On top of the world, locked in a cage.

A lion is an animal, and animals require 2 basic things. To eat and to reproduce, passing genes onto the next generation. This, in essence-is their purpose. This is where the lion develops its uniqueness and garners potential for how we could see ourselves as humans, albeit in a world far removed from the territories of the African Savannah.

The mentality is key here, for everything you are and everything you want to be starts in your mind. The mind is the general and the body are the troops and the troops aren’t going to do a dam thing without the general’s instruction. The general is a lion, he has to be. Continue with the army idea, the lion general is going to be respected, mentally sharp, mentally sound in his decision making, so the troops will respect him and the troops will act. Similar to a pride of lions, there’s always a leader.

So why do we struggle so much to break free from it all- why is it sometimes so difficult to see outside the walls of the enclosure?

I think its all about scale- and its where most of us fall down.

Look at the lion, constantly ready to take over. Use UFC fighter Connor McGregor as the perfect example of the lion mentality- “we aren’t here to take part- we are here to take over!” Dr. Jordan Peterson refers to the strong mentality as the idea that you need to be a “monster” even. We are all exposed to so much about how to change your life, how to pull yourself out of a rut and start living your “best life.”

Point is, when you feel trapped, stuck in the same routine, food coming at a certain time, four walls seeming like they’re closing in just like at the zoo, getting out feels a near impossibility.

Exposed to so much content, so many debates and beliefs presented in whatever media streaming format you happen to be looking at telling you what you need to do to turn your life around, the proverbial mountain to get to the apparent levels of people like McGregor make the mountain seem so much bigger, the incline getting steeper and stepper as you go.

The best example of this i’ve been able to find is from the first part of the 20th century and involves Harry Houdini. At the height of his fame he boastfully claimed he could break out of any jail, anywhere in America, with nothing other than his street clothes and an hour. An old jail in the south took him up on the offer and confidently, Houdini swaggered into the cell. Door closed behind him. Houdini, at that point, was the King, confident the enclosure he had been placed in was no match for his kingdom, to be nothing more than another notch on his belt, an extension of his already vast territory.

After 30 minutes and with a steel wire he had hidden in his belt, Houdini had no luck picking the lock. His once confident demeanour, gone. What remained was a sweat bathed nervous man, worried at what his Kingdom had fallen to, these four walls, bested by a simple lock. An hour came and went and after two Houdini collapsed against the door, exhausted and defeated.

As he fell against the door, it swung open. The door had never been locked. The King had not been defeated by a locked door, or by an old prison. He had been defeated by himself, for the need to conquer and frivolously display his skills and intellectual capability had vastly outweighed the simplest method.


Yes you.

I’m talking directly to you now.

That enclosure you find yourself in, the walls you feel are hemming you in, preventing you for being the lion you were always supposed to be, the King of your own life that you are destined to be. Like a lake in a desert, the walls are a mirage, placed there by you. That door was the most complex lock ever designed to Houdini- he could have been there hours and would have never been able to unlock it.

You are the author of your own story, so why not make it a good one? Be patient and understanding with yourself, listen to your mind and to your body. Take breaks where you need to but never give up. Be ready to learn and prepare for stuff to go wrong. It will go wrong along the way, its how you deal with it that’s important. Houdini gained a mark against his name that day, but the humbling he received, the challenge he faced took him somewhere new, somewhere bigger, somewhere better.

A lion doesn’t materialise out of thin air, trust the process, trust in your own growth. Learn from your mistakes and how to do better next time, not problems to linger on but obstacles to overcome. A lion doesn’t lament on losses but works on how to use them, make them part of the overall victory.

You placed the shackles on your wrist because of the quality of your thoughts about yourself. About your mind, your body, your ability to be happy, to be capable, loving and powerful in equal measure.

Control your thoughts, or they will control you.

This is how the shackles are broken.

And the King gets that taste of freedom so badly desired.

Thats how lions are created.

The Shackled King no more.

Yours, with love as always.
D. R x

Free Close-up Photo of Lion's Head Stock Photo

Time’s Trick

Good evening ladies and gentleman.

The passage of time is an illusion and life is the magician. Wearing a black hat and waving a wand with a fancy gold watch in its pocket, the constant passing of time is a cruel trick to convince us that we have more time.

Time. The gold piece on your wrist, the numbers on your car dashboard. Seemably endless, so sure there is always going to be time, that “I’ll get round to it” lifestyle is becoming more prominent these days. It comes down to a point I’ve made before that modern life is faster than ever now, as if “instant” gratification is the only way to do it . All in the pursuit of spending less of your life on minutes- because why stand in the queue to get a coffee when there’s a machine round the corner.

There is a rather simple way of showing the passage of time to be an illusion, a figment of your imagination created by the earth revolving round the sun and the moon revolving around the earth.

When was the last time you had a good day? Maybe you went on an adventure with a friend or maybe you stayed in bed with your partner and did nothing at all. How much something there was to be found in the hopelessly imperfect act of doing nothing. Did you notice how fast the day passed? How you blinked and the sun was setting again, moon rising to prominence as king of the night. Furthermore, do you remember the last time you had what felt like a bad day?

Those days when it feels like the whole world is against you…maybe you car didn’t start and you missed the train to work. Sat through meetings and work calls, made appointments you didn’t even remember agreeing to. Your computer crashed and lost all your work and you broke your shoe on the run for the train home. All normal things to happen, but all in one day- your set to explode. All you want is the day to be over and take another run at it tomorrow. Even so, every minute seems to drag, hours barely pass as you struggle to maintain composure, your eyes getting heavy as you yearn for the comfort of that warm, soft pillow.

Time passes based on how you feel in any certain moment. When tired, why does it feel like the dark never wants to close in. When you see that person’s face and watch the wry smile crawl from side to side, what makes that moment etch itself into your mind, what makes you feel like that moment could last forever?

This is Time’s Trick- the illusion that time is constant.

Time. Minutes, hours, days, months…years even. I would argue they don’t actually exist- nothing more than a measurable construct created by society. Yesterday is gone, not something that has passed, that was existence and now you find yourself in the field of today. While in today, there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow. Only now.

Think of this- how many times do you look at the clock in a day? Maybe the clock on the wall of your office, the watch on your wrist or the screen on your phone. Do you notice, when you wish the day would end, when the bad day just seems to be getting worse- you find yourself looking at the time more than usual- as if there’s an allotted time for the bad day to end. Whereas if you’re having a “good” day, living out a dream, doing everything or even doing nothing at all, the time is the last thing your mind. Only being present in that moment- nothing else.

In reality the clock is nothing more than a measuring stick- a construct to tell you where you should be and what you should be doing at that particular part of the day. I’m not ridiculing this idea as time along with money are the foundations that society as we know it, but i really don’t think it’s that simple. I think we are barely scratching the surface of the time, there is so much we think we know about life and so much we couldn’t even begin to imagine.

Time doesn’t pass, life does.

How do you tell the difference?


Time is always trying to convince you there’s more time.

Life is yours, and it is blissfully short. Gone in a flash- never to return. Blink and you miss it. Open your eyes and let it in- where you go from there could be anywhere you want.

Life is memories, is love adored and love lost, pain felt, tears fallen in sadness and laughter, hugs squeezed, moments shared. The thrill, the awe, the beauty to be found in the world even with all its pain, misery and powerlessness. Fall into it all, for without it, life is not life. Its just watching the clock, watching the minutes go by- wandering why you’re so tired.

Life imitates art. Without art, life is dictated by time

Time waits for nobody. This is Time’s Trick.

Regards, with love as always.

D.R x