Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Live To Learn

"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well."  Diane Ackerman

Life has so much to offer, not just in it's longevity of days which at times feels like it could last forever, but in it's subtle width that if we're not careful, we'll overlook.  We sometimes tend to carve out an existence and get into a groove that can be repetitive and dull.  We may stay the course even more since we've carved out that path but why?  Maybe because it seems easier to stay the course rather than to try and make a new way.

That reminds me of driving down an old country road.  Sometimes, there are grooves in the road that can actually interfere with your ability to drive in a straight line.  You pop out of the groove and then you sink back into it over and over until you just give up and stay the course until a better patch of roadway pops up and when it does, you're relieved especially when you realize how hard it actually was to stay inside the groove.  Turns out it's much easier to come out, stay out and charter a new course rather than stay inside the groove of that which you clearly do not fit into any longer.

But how do you know when something 'doesn't fit' any longer?  I guess it depends what 'it' is.  For me, whenever I was on a road that was either coming to an end or starting to get into a sticky groove, 'it' had something to do with my mind, my body or my spirit.  I realize that covers everything, as it should, but God in Her mercy always would present me with one challenge at a time, albeit a tough one.  I would come to recognize the area that I needed to change and would draw from my past experiences to devise a plan of attack or action or whatever the situation called for. 

For instance, I quit a terrible, cigarette-smoking-addiction cold-turkey over seven years ago and never looked back!  Yeah, that's a big one and I'm quite proud of it.  When I realized that that part of my life needed to fall by the way-side, I made a conscious, deliberate decision to stop smoking.  I prayed about it, received the grace to change my habits immediately and made a plan to succeed and then, I stepped right out of the groove of addiction onto a new path of freedom and I paved my new way.  I stayed the new course and have had a lot of success with it.  When looking back, I realize that it all worked together for the good.  All of the thinking and decision making and habit changes all worked together to help me gain the success that I had envisioned long before I decided to quit.  I had a goal in mind and I pursued it with all that I had, and I was and still am successful in this regard.  It parlays itself into other areas of my life and helps me to be successful when I set the course in my mind first and then act accordingly and build on my past successes.

But, that's a pretty simple example, I suppose, when it comes to major life changes or challenges in life.  I've had many more difficult ones but the simple principle of the above example really does play itself out in a way that is very useful.  Deliberate action brings deliberate results when planned and executed, right?  At least one can only hope. 

Life sometimes gets a chuckle out of the way we over-simplify it.  We think we've got it all figured out and then the 'rug' gets pulled out from underneath the deep groove we've made for ourselves.  We think we've 'seen it all' and then we get an eyefull of something we've never, ever seen before and that makes us go - uh oh.

I have tremendous respect for the true mysteriousness of life and for life force energy.  Just look around you at all that lives, breathes and grows.  It truly is amazing, magical and precious that we are all part of this magnificent, life-force frequency-emitting-orchestra sending energy simultaneously to each other and beyond. 

We're doing all of this without ever even trying.  We're mostly unaware of the energy that we emit to one another and we are mostly unaware of how insync and connected we are to everyone and everything.  We have the ability to change our state of mind, our circumstances, our health, our relationships, our karma, our state of being, our world.

We can take a bad situation and turn it into something wonderful.  We can use our past experiences to learn from them and to teach others that perhaps there is a better way to live.

Once we embrace the notion that everything is temporary, and all life eventually transcends into something else, we can embark on a journey of respect and mindful elevation that brings the spirit into a love pattern that creates a groove on a much higher plane.  A groove that does not limit or restrict, but broadens and helps growth.  Love is the vehicle I believe, to enlightenment, to change, to health, to spiritual, mental and physical wellness.  You must love yourself first, then you can see fit to love others.  Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:

3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

You really have to love yourself in order to discipline yourself.  The Bible also says that 'the body is at war with the spirit', so it stands to reason that you would need to discipline yourself at times, to say no, to not give it whatsoever it desires and to keep your body somewhat pure to inhabit the grace of God.  Hmmmm.

The body is the temple of the Spirit of all creation.  In my humble life, I have come to learn that.  Sure, I've heard that said before but it was not until I reached a certain level in my spiritual life that I realized certain things about the body and the mind.

And what have I learned?  Quite a few lessons along the way, most of which I wouldn't trade for all the world.  What good is the world if you've not figured out a way to truly navigate through it. 

I thought that life was a little less fragile than it actually is.  I thought that life was a little more predictable than it really is.  You only need to be rushed to the hospital once or hear really unexpected news about a friend or a loved one to appreciate that.

The challenges that sometimes lay ahead are not for the faint of heart.  You need to be as prepared as you possibly can be and then hope, pray and work really hard for the best outcome.  You know the expression, put your best foot forward.  It may sound corny but believe me, warriors wear armour and train for a reason.  A battle can sometimes be just that...a war or a confrontation with something in your life that stands to take from you that which must not be taken or that which you must freely your life.

Death, illness, destruction, war, hatred...these are real things in the world and we must be prepared to deal with them if and when we happen upon them. 

On the contrary, I want to be ready for sunshine and flowers and a salt-filled ocean breezes, but those things seem easier to prepare for. 

You can never really be prepared for some things in your life, but most things perhaps.