With ample supply of this amazing elixir, I can:
- Overcome pain
- Disregard criticism
- Persevere through obstacles
- Smile at the future
- Heal my dis-ease
- Accomplish goals
- Forgive others’ faults
- Love fully
What is the elixir?
Confidence in my own worth;
Knowledge that my value is equal to the value of any and every created being that ever lived or will live; knowledge that even death cannot destroy my eternal presence and purpose; awareness that my value is something given freely to me. My value does not have to be earned or defended.
What time, energy, and sanity I would have saved if I had taken this elixir early and often.
(originally posted in 2013)
No hustling for worthiness.
No valuing myself by someone else’s measurement.
Shouldering responsibility for my own happiness.
Allowing others to belong to themselves.
Drawing nourishment from the one and only, unique relationship with my Creator, from which all sustaining relationships are born.
Honoring the fleeting, fertile moments in this body, here and now.
It’s nothing new that nature soothes, heals, and puts our senses in order. The problem is often our inability to access nature.
- If I am caught up in self-pity or the pain of disappointment, sucked into my couch’s black hole…
- Someone asks me to go outside, I say no
- And, if I don’t go, it will be more difficult to go later
- If I am stuck inside working (or sick in bed) all day, I can’t visit the “Nature Doctor”…
- That’s when I must go to my stored-up memories of mountains and waterfalls
- Or use my Google machine to call up images
- Or “switch apps” or “change the channel” in my brain to refresh
- If I see nature everyday, but it has lost the power to impress me…
- My callousness to miracles is the most difficult problem to fix
- I have to imagine being confined underground, in prison, or in a hospital
- And see the sun and sky for the first time
- Taste the water, smell the grass, feel the wind, touch a leaf
“The words you speak become the house you live in.” -Hafiz
In the past, when I wasn’t pleased with my situation, I thought that I had been a victim of a cruel fate, injustices, and others’ misjudgments. And, I seldom missed a chance to let everyone know about it. Now I realize:
- my words were defining my experience.
- many “injustices” I thought I suffered were self-inflicted. I was just clueless.
- uncomfortable “accommodations” were part of the journey to appreciating the better ones to come.
- happiness was always an inside job.
In the beginning was the word.
My words are the architect, the interior designer, and the realtor for the place I want to live.
Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes, and injustices. – Paul Tournier
That’s a heck of a lot to accept.
Who wants to accept hereditary handicaps, suffering, psychological baggage, topped off with injustices?
Not me. Not anyone. That’s awful!
Yet, nature teaches that there will be a transformation and a payoff…when I decide to submit to the mysterious usefulness of all the awful stuff that I wanted to be angry about.
Or I can stay angry, miss the blossoming, and make a lot of people miserable in the process.
If you want to find out where everything went wrong
If you want to figure out how all the chaos got started
If you want to discover when the loving stopped
Or the joy vanished
And the easy became hard
If you want to track down the villain in the story
And punish him
Then do it quickly
Track down the fear in your own heart and disown it now
Because it is faster than cancer
And more destructive than the impact and shrapnel from a thousand bombs
It has tutored your ego into malice
And baited your intellect into stupidity
It has sucked your blood until you were the real vampire, the real boogie, the scariest zombie
From the most gruesome nightmare ever dreamed
And it was you all along
You! who gave fear the key
Nothing shakes me out of my self-centeredness, ethnocentrism, and poor-me problems more than reading biographies and fiction about the struggles of passionate men and women in other times and places. The first book that called me out on my bull#h*t was Les Miserables. When I read it many years ago, the plights of Jean Valjean, Fantine, and Cosette, representing the real problems of the time period, shook me hardily out of the illusion of my “difficult life.” Other books followed suit: Roots, Tale of Two Cities, A Good Earth, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Man’s Search for Meaning, The Hiding Place, etc. And, more currently, Jungle of Stone, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Endurance, Pillars of the Earth, Outlander, The Glass Castle, Same Kind of Different as Me, and countless others.
I hope you don’t have the same tendency that I have to become a small-minded cry-baby. But if you ever do, I hope you will let a book rescue you.
I may not be happy with numerous things in the world…but, I am happy with a gazillion other things (like clean water and internet access).
I may have aged a lot in the last few years…but, my face has fewer bumps (because I have a dermatologist who took them off).
I may have a larger waist…but, I have a larger purpose too (because being attractive was never a sustainable project).
I may have fewer admirers…but, I have learned to do the admiring (because, after all these years, I have finally accepted myself, which, by the way, gives me more time to admire others).
Because, it is so important to give myself a broader perspective (on issues both large and small), I have made a pact with myself to always balance the info I allow in my head. If I am fed bad news, I feed myself good news. It’s that simple. It’s not being Pollyanna positive, it’s being productively practical; just opening my eyes a little wider.
I am in charge of the feed.
Thank you Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield for your example: http://www.interestingshit.com/nature/good-news-stories/
Some leaders define Vision simply as imagination plus courage. This definition reminds me that any remarkable accomplishment happens because someone had the courage to stand for what could be. And that…
- My imagination has a purpose.
- I have ideas that can make a difference.
- Many brave people before me have tenaciously fought against unbelievable odds for ideas that mattered.
- Their imagination and courage made a difference for me.
If I have imagined anything that can benefit others and if my dream makes me feel alive, chances are…this is what I was born to do.
And, if I want to accomplish anything, I must remember this on the days my efforts appear useless.
In Kate Braestrup’s book Here If You Need Me she tells the story of coping with her husband’s premature death through the lens of her work as a Maine Game Warden Chaplain.
I resonated with her description of the “parallel worlds” of light and darkness and the “hinge” of death or tragedy that can swing us suddenly from one into the other.
We can live casually, surrounded by the comfort of things and people we love, but, we must always remember the temporal nature of this state. Things will change; our whole life will swing into uncharted territory. And, I am convinced, along with Kate, that if we want to know where God is in all of the upheaval, we must look for love…
…in whatever world we find ourselves.