I’m entering into a new…what should I call it? phase of life, era, mindset? a new journey… yet another grand experiment.
What has triggered this big shifting? Internal divine discontent combined with the external joyous event called “ordination” that I experienced on Friday, April 8, 2011. As I feel the rumbles deep within, I’m drawn back to poetry. Here’s one that is resonating with me to the core…by David Whtye from his book entitled “The House of Belonging.”
If you’d like to travel with me on this deep and amazing journey, be sure to register to get my email notes announcing our various teleconference groups and workshops -I’ll be offering a discussion/sharing group soon (that is not for the faint of heart!). Together we’ll discuss David Whyte’s book “Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity.” You can get on the mailing list here: www.authenticlifeinstitute.com
Igniting your Spirit,
WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN WAKING
In that first hardly noticed moment
in which you wake,
coming back to this life
from the other, more secret,
moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment
you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small
for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly
Will make plans enough with
the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden
as a gift to others.
To remember the other world
in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest
on this earth.
You are not an accident
amidst other accidents.
You were invited here
from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now looking through the slanting light
of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be,
what urgency calls you
to your one love?
What shape awaits
in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the shape of the life
you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page
on the waiting desk?
Big topic huh? One of the my favorite books about life meaning is “How Then Shall We Live” by Wayne Muller. In it he poses 4 questions. I share them here with you to get you thinking about the bigger picture of your life. My ultimate goal in sharing this with you is that you will be gentler with yourself and that you will live YOUR life doing what you love. Onto the first question!
1. Who am I? Are you saying, well, I am a business owner, writer, teacher, mother, etc? Muller encourages you to go deeper, to find the places beneath those names. Consider that what you call the “self” is always changing. If you get too focused on just one facet of yourself, you may feel smothered by the smallness of who you have become. Consider this, your true nature can take the shape in a million forms, all unique and useful in their own way. You are not a prisoner of your history! Try this: for five minutes complete this phrase: “I am.” Without judging keep speaking for five minutes. Notice what you say and how you feel when you say it. Are there repeating themes? What stands out for you? Which sentences seem the most troubling? Which feel most true? When you’re finished, try to name the single phrase that feels most potent. What does this want to reveal about your current sense of self?
Jack Kornfield, a leading Buddhist teacher, said, “the path is not so much about changing ourselves as it is about listening to the fundamentals of our being.”
2. What do I love? Whatever you give your time and attention to becomes the focus of your life. What is at the center of your life? What activities? Which people? Are these the people and activities you hope will receive your love and devotion? Whatever you are giving your time and attention to every day is the kind of person you will eventually become. Is this what you want? Try this. Grab a stack of magazines and make a collage of what you love. As you look through images hold in your mind the thought “what do I love?” When you’re done take a break then come back to it. Are you pleased with what you love? Is anything missing? Pick the single image that seems most powerful to you right now. What does it reveal about what you love? Choose one image and make a commitment to include it in your daily life more of what that image holds. You can choose another image next week!
3. How shall I live, knowing I will die? If you walk through life thinking that you will live forever, you’re not alone. It’s an illusion most people hold. The danger in it is that you think you can waste all the time in the world before you are ready to live. Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun states, “if you live your life as if you actually only had a day left, then the sense of impermanence heightens that feeling of preciousness and gratitude.” Muller says that many of us are exhausted by a desperate search for answers, as if our life were a big problem to be solved and we haven’t yet found the perfect solution to the puzzle. We figure we’re not working hard enough and continue to push harder. What if the “don’t know” is an indication that it is time to be quiet, listen and wait? There is a time to act and a time to remain still. A time to engage and a time to retreat. There is a natural expansion and contraction in all things, and when you feel the truth of this, you will be easy and at peace. And you will find, that much will be accomplished!
4. What is my gift to the family of the earth? Most of us have had some hurt in our lives. And when you feel broken, you can feel useless and undervalue your gifts. Jesus declared we are the light of the world and must let our light shine. The gifts you give can be simple yet powerful. A kind word, a laugh, a meal. It is impossible that you have not gift. You may be unsure of it, afraid it’s not good enough, or waiting for the perfect opportunity. Don’t wait. It’s alive in you this very moment. You are given countless opportunities to offer your gifts to others every day. Take a day and examine how you give. Does it feel like an obligation? Which gifts are given most freely? We all need what you have. Be not afraid. Muller says, “a kind life is a life of courage, the courage simply to bring what you have, to bring what you are.”
Those of you who’ve been hanging out with me for awhile know that my credo is “Everyday a Vacation Day.” I want to wake up every morning with anticipation of new adventures ahead of me. I love feeling excited, fresh and light – light in spirit, mind AND body. And like many others, in my pursuit of enjoyment I sometimes overdo. Combine that with some genetic tendencies towards a full body, and my scales have gone into the obesity realm several times in my life.
I’m happy to report that I’ve been heading back down the scale away from the obesity category and it’s not so difficult this time. I think I’ve finally got a handle on the balance between eating/drinking what I enjoy, moving my body and feeling light and healthy. I’m also motivated when I realize the high cost of obesity. Not only do those extra pounds make us feel less attractive and make it more difficult to move around, they also lead to diminished health and outrageous obesity related medical costs.
Here’s a report from the McKinsey Quarterly that gives more detail. You have to register on their site to read the complete article -it’s free.
“An obesity pandemic has put pressure on health care systems throughout the world. The United Kingdom, for instance, spent more than £4 billion on obesity-related medical costs in 2007, and that could rise to £9.7 billion by 2050. The United States currently spends about $160 billion—twice what it did a decade ago—and that amount could double again by 2018.
Yet these huge numbers represent only a fraction of the pandemic’s total economic burden on societies. Obesity indirectly costs the United States at least $450 billion annually—almost three times the direct medical cost. The situation is comparable in other countries as well. To learn more, read “Why governments must lead the fight against obesity” (October 2010).” http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Why_governments_must_lead_the_fight_against_obesity_2687