Frodo throws the ring.
It stops us.
It debilitates us.
It denies us from being the pure shining light we all have the potential to be.
It’s the great shadow, the monster, the darkness that envelops us.
One of my favorite classic protagonists of all times is Frodo Baggins, the Hobbit who goes into Mordor to destroy the ring of power.
After the hardest journey, getting stabbed by the Morgul blade, turning his back to Sam (only to be rescued by Sam in Mordor), Frodo is finally at the mouth of the volcano. He stares at the abyss, holds the ring over it.
But he doesn’t let go.
He doesn’t finish it there and then.
He says ‘No,’ and walks away from the edge. He turns away. He turns into darkness.
It is only the full shadow of Gollum that manages to destroy the ring — and not with the intention to do so — but by accident.
In essence, at the mouth of Mount Doom’s volcano, Frodo gives up to the dark power of the ring, and he never comes back.
For the rest of his life, this shadow follows him, his wound never fully heals, and he surrenders to death by going to the undying lands.
I have thought about this image quite a lot.
What happens at that moment when we let our darkness fears and shadows take over us?
When we actually surrender to it. How it changes everything. It removes the light from our world.
It is almost too easy, to choose the darkness. Why resist any longer? Just let it take over us. Stop fighting. Sink into it.
But what if, at that last moment, before he turns away, Frodo throws the ring?
That’s the big, powerful, lesson Tolkien was offering us.
It’s too easy to surrender and go into the darkness.
It takes all we have, all our power, conviction, courage to let go of the ring.
Let go of the fears, doubts, dig into the pain, push through the suffering.
How do we start practicing to throw the ring?
How do we practice every day, at every moment when we are overwhelmed with fears and doubts, to throw the ring?
Tolkien, in his genius, gave us the solution to that question in Gandalf’s sage advice:
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” Gandalf — Lord of the Rings
It is in the little, disciplined, practices where we find our courage.
It’s not only the external acts of kindness and love, but the moment to moment practice.
Making your bed, cleaning your house, writing the article, putting your affairs in order.
Creating a system for it to thrive. Otherwise, the shadows come creeping back in and take over.
So I offer my little new mantra to you. You can try on for size, see if it works, or create your own.
Whenever I am stopped now with the debilitating fear, whether it stops me from cleaning the dishes or write my book, I will sit for a moment, close my eyes, have a clear vision of it and say:
Frodo throws the ring.