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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Be an Admiral and Take the Helm

Jan 31, 2017 04:39PM

by Rev. Elizabeth Thompson 


You have likely heard the expression, life is what happens on the way to making your dreams come true.” But the moment we decide that facts and shifts in life do not define the course we take—that it is when we take command and enter Flagship Living. We are admirals, and we each rule our seas of life.  

The so-called facts of life can always be blamed for hindering the accomplishment of our dreams. Many circumstances are out of our control, but that is never a reason to abandon the vision. I have learned that circumstances which appear beyond my control are disguised opportunities to take the helm of my life and chart my own course. Learning to course correct in the midst of chaos is what Flagship Living is all about. Each year, each day and even each moment, we can chart a new course. On a daily basis, we can decide to become the commanding officer of the vessel of our lives—and we can awaken at the helm of our decisions.   


I am the Master of my fate and the Captain of my soul.” 

––Invictus, William Ernest Henley 


The core of Henley’s legacy centers on this closing statement of his famous poem which expresses his core values in one simple sentence. This line also represents a conscious intention to chart one’s own direction even as hardship, fear, confusion or exhaustion rage in our environment.  In claiming ability to direct the course of our own lives, we must examine our values, others’ opinions and prevailing circumstances, while maintaining a willingness to challenge belief systems that interfere with our personal fulfillment and professional success.  

The story behind Henley’s poem Invictus speaks volumes about what it means to rise above circumstances and command your destiny. In 1875, Henley lost one leg as a result of a complication from tuberculosis. Shortly after his first amputation, the physician informed him that his other leg was also in jeopardy of being amputated. At this point, he felt his soul rise up and declared there must be another way. With the mindset of “this diagnosis does not define me,” he demanded a second opinion.  After several procedures and much therapy, the second surgeon Joseph Lister was able to save his remaining leg. During this recovery process, Henley wrote the verses that became that became Invictus. 

As a young child, these verses touched my soul and remain a guiding mantra even today. Having lived on a sailboat for two years, I know that conditions change in a heartbeat. Life can transition from calm to stormy with no warning. At times, I needed to change course just to make it safely to harbor––but I never changed the vision for my destination.   

This is the basis for Flagship Living. You and I are always on the bridge of the ship at the helm of our lives. We are meant to take command over our habit mind and the turbulent waters of life experience. With the simple affirmation, I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul, we can instantly course correct. The facts of life are simply indicators of yesterday’s choices.   

Facts are not the commanding officers of our life. In Flagship Living, we learn to chart the best course of action that serves us. We make decisions that place us back on-course so that we reach our desired destination. In order to do this, we must look objectively at the prevailing circumstances, regardless of how inconvenient they might seem. This naturally invites ownership—with ownership comes power, and with power comes the ability to navigate life, even in the most challenging situations.   

It was Louisa May Alcott who said, “I am not afraid of storms for I have learned how to sail my ship.” In other words, we make our highest choice in each and every moment. Simply ask yourself, What is the highest choice I can make in this moment? Those who are at the helm of their life experience understand that flexibility is absolutely necessary for maneuvering uncharted territory.  A commander of a ship knows that traversing unchartered waters is no reason to turn back and that changing direction might be required in order to reach a desired destination.  

Flagship Living is being launched at Unity of Sarasota February 26 and will continue through March 30. This is a dynamic, explorative course in personal potential. Over the course of five weeks, you will attend inspired spiritual talks, powerful lectures and hands-on, practical workshops so you can take the helm of your life to reclaim the power and joy that is yours by birthright. You will hold in your hands an exclusive workbook to support your journey. Step into complete confidence and take charge of the unfolding of your experience. For five weeks, you will have access to some of the most enlightened, peaceful and successful practicing metaphysicians who will share their stories and work directly with you to transform yours.   

Flagship Living is about taking positive action to commandeer your life in the direction of your highest and best ideal.  


February 19 is the last day to pre-register for this this five-week program at the price of $75. Pre-registration includes all classes and the program’s exclusive workbook. You can register for the program after this date for the regular price of $99. To register or learn more information, visit  


Rev. Elizabeth Thompson has served as Senior Minister of Unity of Sarasota for the past eight years. She is a transforming change-agent for those who are ready to take the helm of their own vessel of life experience. Life is a spiritual adventure designed for each of us to thrive, celebrate and evolve as we experience it. Her vision of humanity is of all individuals awakening to the empowering joy of being co-creators of their lives. She believes that thriving is always an option. As we embrace this higher calling, we are participating in a world that works for all. 


Natural Awakenings of Sarasota April 2020 Digital Edition