And what does the universe require of us to receive the bounty of a life truly lived? Things so small that even in our least resourceful states, we retain the power to express and extend them. Things like, focusing on the unconditional love and trust that the child hugging our leg is offering us or seeing the smile of appreciation when we look past the role of the person taking our lunch order and seeing instead a human being worthy of being treated with courtesy, dignity and respect for doing the best they can, and acknowledging their humanity by looking them in the eye and sincerely thanking them for assisting us. Or recognizing the profound gift we are offered when someone trusts us enough to bear witness to their shame story. Or refusing to buy into a person’s story of being unworthy to receive love, respect or compassion and reflecting instead the recognition that they are not their behaviors, they are not the stories they have come to accept about themselves, rather they are beings of unconditional love trying desperately to penetrate the barriers of self-criticism and presumed inadequacy that bears down on them from all the choices they’ve made that didn’t bring them the quality life they so desperately yearn for.
Yet from the pain and disappointment of all these life-diminishing choices comes the gift of dis-ease that is the most compelling evidence that these behaviors and choices are not who they truly are and not the path to the life they yearn to live. It is by discovering what doesn’t work that we gain the understanding to make different choices, choices that align with our longing for connection, love and meaning. Within each of us resides an inexhaustible life-force of Unconditional love that is impervious to the delusions of inadequacy that undermine our confidence and call our yearnings foolish indulgences and dangerous distractions from the practical matter of surviving in a hostile world. Yet conceding to this view doesn’t bring us the fulfillment of our yearnings. Instead we are offered the distractions of a busy life filled with the practical activities of acquiring as much material possessions, social approval and experiential variety as possible in the waning hope that if we can’t have the life we yearn for at least we can have a little novelty and fun along the way.
And yet the life we yearn for is so much closer and more accessible than we dare imagine. It begins with the decision to shift our focus from things external to us to the voice of our life-force within inviting us to stop looking at the external conditions of our life and start noticing the gifts that are all around us waiting patiently for us to appreciate them. There are people right now in your life who would love and cherish you if you let them. There is a world of strangers who would be deeply touched and enriched if you were willing to look beyond the surface and see a being, just like you, trying desperately to live a better life yet doubting such a life is any longer possible. Your smile, your look of recognition, that they are more than the stories they have come to believe is who they are, may be all that’s required to fuel the spark of hope that a different and more fulfilling life is truly possible for them and by extending that gift to them you validate the same potential within yourself.
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference. You don’t have to change the world and you don’t have to have a blinding conversion to acquire the life you yearn to experience and express. All you need is the willingness to start noticing and appreciating the little things that are within your immediate reach. What would change for you if you made the conscious decision to notice the infinite variety and wonder of the world around you or the hugs and smiles that are genuinely offered you, or the look of respect, appreciation or compassion someone is trying to give you? And what would change for you if you made the conscious decision to look beyond the delusion that people hold about themselves and chose instead to see them as unconditionally loving beings trapped within the armour of doubt, fear and self-condemnation? How would your life change if you started noticing all the love, compassion, dignity, humility, gratitude, wisdom and courage that you possess within you and made the decision today to bring one degree more awareness, appreciation and application of these life-affirming qualities into your own life and the lives of everyone you touch, to the best of your ability, just for today? Just one degree more. The ocean is just a collection of accumulated droplets. The life you experience is just a collection of accumulated individual choices.
You don’t need to burden yourself with overhauling your life. Just focus on making tiny changes in orientation, from what you lack, to what you have, from what you can’t do, to what you can, from who you think you are, to who you truly are. Drop by drop the ocean of life you yearn for will replace the life you’ve been settling for.
May the ocean of your irreplaceable life nourish your life and the lives of everyone who is touched by your life-giving waters.
Love and Hugs in Fellowship