There are really two ways of going about our day to day lives.
Either we’re striving and trying to maintain control (a fruitless effort, by the way, which leaves us exhausted). Or we’re relinquishing control to God, and trusting that He will bring us what we need each day.
There’s a distinct and noticeable difference between how good our days are, depending on which mode of being in which we’re acting.
When we’re striving, the people around us can tell. It says to them that there is something more important which we need to accomplish. Something more important than being present with them and letting God work. When we’re trusting God with all of our needs and desires, we’re at rest. And people around us can see this, too. They wonder how we’ve found such peace within the whirlwind of our daily lives. We’re a living testament of what it’s like to know God.
What it really boils down to, is that all of our striving and trying to gain control, makes the statement: “I don’t trust God.” And that hurts Him.
He’s already proven to us His goodness, grace, and love. Why would we not trust Him to take care of us on a daily basis?
Life becomes so much easier when we learn to let go, and let God. With every single aspect of our lives.
“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment. Neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it…but it’s easier if you do.”
“In fact, life is our greatest teacher. Whatever we are doing can be instructive, whether we are at the office, or talking to our spouse, or driving a car on the freeway. If we are present to our experiences, the impressions of our activities will be fresh and alive, and we will always learn something new from them. But if we are not present, every moment will be like every other, and nothing of the preciousness of life will touch us.”
― Don Richard Riso, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types
I’ve found the key to happiness!
It hit me like a bolt of lightening after observing other cultures while traveling through South East Asia.
Here it is:
I don’t want anything more than what I have right now. I don’t wish to be anywhere else than where I currently am.
Really internalize these thoughts. When you do, you cannot NOT be happy. When you truly believe that everything in life happens exactly as it’s supposed to (and it does), you release yourself from a desire to control and thus become free to experience joy in it’s purest form (presence and gratitude).
All that you have right now is all that you need. And you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
A good work of art, even a great one, speaks to people of a certain time.
However, a work of genius transcends temporal bounds. It is continuously rediscovered anew by successive generations. In other words, a work of genius isn’t static. It bends (and is bent by) each new audience that encounters it.
For example, the art of the Greeks and the Egyptians, is not art of the past. One could even argue that it is more alive today than ever before. As Pablo Picasso once said, “There is no past or future in art. If a work of art cannot live always in the present, it must not be considered art at all.”
Works of genius live in the now.
Why is it that when things are going good we worry that at any second they could go bad…yet, when things are going bad, we forget that at any second things could turn good?
Highs and lows are an inherent part of life’s cyclical nature. By now, we’re acutely aware of this. So why are we still trying to change this basic, natural law?
Why would we want to disrupt the flow of life?
There is no cure for highs and lows. We cannot “fix” it. And who are we to say it needs fixing in the first place?
If we can stop trying to escape the inevitable alternation of pleasure and pain, we can simply relax and be fully present for the wonder that is our lives.
The other night I turned on the television and Oprah’s Master Class was on. It’s one of my favorite shows. She was interviewing music icon James Taylor.
As I watched, I heard the singer/songwriter describe his experience with creativity and one comment stood out above the rest. He said, “When I’m writing music, I never really see myself as the writer of this song. It’s more like I’m just the first person to hear it.”
What James is describing perfectly captures the spiritual element of creativity which I find so fascinating.
To truly create, we must be fully present. When we’re fully present, we’re closest to God, as God only exists in the Present. God is the present (moment), and as we access it, He gives us the gift of inspiration. So when we’re engaged in the creative process, we’re actually receiving gifts from God, the Divine Creator. Our only duty then, becomes to share those gifts.
Three years ago on this day, and for months after, I wanted to die. I had just lost the man I’d been in love with for four years in a tragic accident. He was also my best friend. When I say I wanted to die, it’s strange because it makes it sound as if I was suicidal. But I was never suicidal. It’s hard to describe the feeling and might be one of those things you can’t understand unless you’ve been there, but at the time, my future looked so black, I couldn’t imagine life without him. Besides, I wanted so desperately to see him and was convinced he was on the other side. I only hoped to die, so that we could be together again. It was the last sort of logic that I had left at the time.
Now here I am, three years later, and my perspective is quite the contrary. It’s hard to believe that today marks three years. Three years of pain, longing, and questions but also of healing, growth and indescribable grace. I question whether we can fully comprehend the sweetness of life without first experiencing its bitterness.
Today, as I miss my best friend like always, I realize not only was it an incredibly sweet gift to do life with him, but the lessons I’ve learned since that loss remain invaluable. Here I share with you 5 things I learned from losing my best friend.
- There is nothing more important in life than your relationships. As Max Lucado so tactfully puts it, “When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?” We are called to love others. It is our mission. Our reason for being on Earth. And not just to love them halfheartedly either, when it’s convenient to us, for example. But to love them wholeheartedly, at all times, through all situations, no matter their actions or behaviors. This might seem like a daunting task but it’s this sort of love, relentless and all encompassing, that people most need to see. It is the kind that we need to be most intentional about giving. Develop relationships filled with love like this, and you will know what it means to live.
- The best things in life aren’t things. They can’t be touched, or even captured. To try is fleeting. They flutter around like butterflies, here one minute gone the next. An ever-elusive bunch. And when we grasp for them, we miss. But this is what we have hearts for. Our hearts get it. Our hearts know that the best things can’t be described with words. They must be felt. Our hearts know that the best things aren’t tangible…that these things aren’t meant to be captured or even understood; only appreciated.
- There are angels on earth. And they exist in your close friends and family. People are placed in your life for a reason. They’re strategically chosen and uniquely capable of holding you just how you need to be held at any given moment in time. We’re all just taking turns on this journey called life, so give love to others while you can. Before you know it, your time will come and you’ll need someone, too. It is then, that you’ll find your angels.
- Pain can be a good thing. The good thing about pain is that it breaks down the walls of your ego and forces you into the present – enhancing your awareness of and appreciation for all of the people in your life. When you experience deep suffering, you become comfortable with it. This allows you to empathize with others in ways you wouldn’t have been able to before. It causes you not to run from future sufferings, but to sit with them. Most importantly, it allows you to grow. The best lessons are often found when we are facing unanticipated change and loss. In those moments of vulnerability, longing, and desperation, we learn who we really are and what we are capable of. Pain is not a bad thing.
- Life goes on. You don’t think it will and you certainly can’t imagine it doing so, but it does. Whether you take part in it or not, life continues to go on all around you. Time waits for no one. The good news is, even if you’re deep in grief or simply feeling stuck, eventually you, too, will go on. There’s a hole inside of you from the loss and that hole never really seals back up. But that is the beautiful part. You learn to live with the gap, to embrace it. It becomes a part of you. It allows your light to shine through.
Greet everyone you meet with a warm smile, no matter how busy you are.
Don’t rush encounters with coworkers, family and friends.
Speak softly. Listen attentively.
Act as if every conversation you have is the most important thing on your mind today.
Look your children and your partner in the eyes when they talk to you.
Stroke the cat, caress the dog.
Lavish love on every living being you meet.
See how different you feel at the end of the day.
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
When we’re young, the world is our oyster.
Hurt and humiliation are two things we don’t fear.
Imagination is our kingdom and every moment counts.
Ah yes, when we’re young, creativity abounds.
As we grow up they say, “Fall in line!
Get good grades! Be on time!
Find a job! Pay your bills!”
All things that stifle creative wills.
When we’re young, our sense of presence lasts.
There’s no anxiety about the future. No dwelling in the past.
It’s this innate presence that lets our creative juices flow
but we block it and build dams around it every year we grow.
Now I can hear the sound, traveling through your eyes
of broken dreams and emptiness
as your inner child cries,
“Gimme ink and paper, crayons, brushes, and blank space.
Gimme songs to sing and lightening bugs to chase.
Gimme wood to carve, clay to mold, and games to play.
I’m jumpy and I’m restless. Can I come out today?”