I have learned (the hard way) that without gratitude, we can quickly lose that which we neglect. How often do we take notice of something only after it is gone? I had all but stopped my practice of being grateful for the vividly colourful life I live. In essence, when this happens, I think to some extent, we stop living. And to some degree I had. I was struggling, and looking to what I was [imaginarily] lacking as the reason. My heart-filled mission is to share love, inspire people to be their unique selves, and foster understanding and connection in the world, yet I was stuck. Sinking in the quicksand of my mind’s tricks, swimming in the resultant emotion. Not living my purpose, and despite the frustration that came along with that, not having the courage to act. I was afraid.
In my integrity, I knew that I didn’t feel I was being as loving and understanding as I could be. Sometimes, I was horrible. I was disconnected. How could I possibly present to the world this grand, noble dream of mine, when I was not living it each moment of my life? That’s the great thing about life. We are continually learning about our life’s work, being challenged, growing, evolving. I felt like a fraud and I paralyzed myself with fear.
Now I realise, that’s the point. Everything I was feeling and experiencing were the exact reasons that my purpose is so important! Sadly, there will always be some degree of love under a clouded blanket, misunderstanding, and disconnection. We are human beings on a journey. I am a human being on a journey. At any given moment, we do the best we can, and we strive to learn from our errors and misgivings. Its the later part that makes the difference. How could I promote such lofty ideals if I had never been challenged with their counterpart? It’s easy for people to preach when they have never been tempted. It’s also easy to hide under a rock when one succumbs to temptation. This is me crawling out from under my rock.
If the seemingly simple ideas of love, sharing ones true self, understanding and connection were indeed simple, wouldn’t everyone do it every moment of each and every day? Wouldn’t I, who carries these notions so close to my heart? I’d like to say yes, but in reality the flaws of our humanity gets in the way. These are lessons we’re here to learn. Granted, there have been some shining souls who have adhered to such principles (Mother Teresa, Ghandi…). I’m not there yet, and it may be a great many lifetimes before I even come close. I do my best. At times, I fail miserably. To those who have been a casualty during those times, I humbly offer my sincere atonement.
One of my favourite quotes says, “Peace comes from remembering that only Love is real.” Along our journeys, there are going to be people we harm, knowingly or unknowingly. We are all interconnected, and in the grand scheme of things we play roles in each others’ lives. Sometimes these interactions are joyful; others are painful; and sometimes both. From these experiences, we learn more about who we are, and who we are not. If we explore our deepest hurts, we can discover that those who so graciously participated in that pain, were some of our most powerful teachers. For in the depth of that pain, we find clues to our purpose here on earth.
So often we run around in search of our purpose, while at the same time trying with every ounce of our energy to avoid pain. The irony is that wrapped poetically within our pain lay the very keys to our purpose. Now, I am not suggesting to go out and seek pain. What I am saying is to look toward the pain that you have already experienced in your life. Sit with it. Penetrate the surface and make an honest inquiry to it’s origins. The thought of this can be scary. I understand. It was terrifying for me at times when the emotions were overwhelming. You may have heard the saying, “what you resist, persists”? It applies. Avoiding what is uncomfortable, draws it toward you at some level. And when we least expect it, it resurfaces seeking to offer information and gain resolution. Wouldn’t it be better to make the choice to go on an expedition and come out the other side with the treasure?
Trust yourself. Trust others to be there to support you through the process if that helps. I didn’t trust myself. Not trusting ourselves can be a downward spiral. Once I surrendered and was willing to go with the emotion to find out what was underneath, I discovered that it wasn’t some big bad scary place. It was simply the place of contrast. How would we understand full if we didn’t know what empty was? How can we understand our purpose if we don’t understand life without it? Each moment in our lives, builds upon the previous one. Good or bad, it is all part of the same treasure map. What fortune is waiting for you? I can guarantee that whatever it is, it will illuminate your unique and magnificent self. The world is waiting for you to shine in the way that only you can.
Shine brilliantly. Dazzle. Be grateful for all you have to share, and to all who have shared with you along their journeys (good and bad). Forgive. Forgive those who have caused harm. Most of all forgive yourself. Love cannot radiate underneath a clouded blanket. We are all connected by our sameness AND our own unique ways. Underneath all the fog, there is only love. If we take a moment to remember that only love is real, we find peace. Peace within ourselves and peace with one another. xo