This a piece from the Forging A Life: Truths in the Making of Katana.
At the very beginning there is only a round steel bar. One and a half inches in diameter by six inches long. Smooth sides, flat ends. It is of little use. Not even a good door stop. What it will become is hidden.
This is much like ourselves at the start. Smooth, plain. You can not tell by looking what we will become. The steel will be put through heat and hammer. It will be shaped outside and transformed internally. Life, our experiences does the same for us. The interesting thing about steel is there are hundreds maybe even thousands of different steels. What differentiates steel is the makeup of the alloy. The elements. A specific steel can have as many as a dozen elements. What’s really interesting is most steels are 95 to 98 percent iron. The amount of other alloys (copper, chrome, magnesium, molybdenum, vanadium) is tiny. Yet the those tiny differences in the composition of the steel is enough to make the alloy unique.
Each type of steel alloy has almost unlimited potential. What uses it can fulfill depend on the shape it is given and the heat treatment it is put through. Forces are applied to shape, harden, temper (soften), and form the molecular structure so the steel can perform it’s intended function. Steel accepts what comes and responds according to it’s make up. Steel does not complain if it is made into a ball bearing instead of a kitchen knife or vice versa. It does not look at other steels and believe those steels have it easy. It does not wish it did not have to go through the processes of creation. It does not try to side step the work of becoming.
We are the steel. Each of us with particular makeup. Each of us on a unique path of becoming. The events of our lives, the forces at play, the stories we tell ourselves about those events and forces is the process to fulfill our purpose. We can envy those who seemingly have succeeded without effort. We can play the comparison game and decide our process is harder than it should be. We might believe what is in our steel is not enough.
The truth of the steel is that it already has everything inside it to become a pinnacle of perfection. To become katana, a beautiful blend of aesthetic and function. This, also, is the truth of your steel. You already have in you everything you need to be and do what you desire. To live your life of joy, fulfillment, significance and purpose. You just have to remember it’s a process. Step out of the comfort zone and into the fire of life. Take a few hits. Show your steel.