Being clear about our presentation to the world does not equal control over how others see us, nor is that of any significance to our soul. Egos want to be seen in a specific way — happy, successful, beautiful — while souls want to experience the happiness, success and beauty. Being true to our inner world, sincerely, compassionately, creatively, is doing our part. The rest is out of our hands.
In the end, we only have our own heart to answer to.
What is your story? In other words, what are your beliefs, assumptions, expectations, desires, memories, wants, relationships, friends, childhood experiences, and how do they all fit together?
What we tell ourselves and repeat aloud to others becomes our reality, becomes the glasses through which we see the world, defines our decisions, and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Can you examine the stories you tell the world and yourself, discerning where there is truth, and conversely, falsity? Can you open to what your life is, and the endless possibilities of what it could be? Like many valuable exercises, this will be ongoing. In part because we miss things the first, or even 100th, time around, and also because we change constantly.
I’d like to mention one caveat that I am quite familiar with, which is the desire to bypass the parts we don’t like within the picture. There is a cultural ideal of seeing only the positive or looking at things from a spiritual paradigm. While that can be admirable, this method often overlooks angles that are dictating fundamental life experiences, including our emotional needs.
In a world of pain, this positive or spiritual bypass is a constant temptation. Yet, it can be a detour on the path to genuine happiness and wholeness. In our efforts to leapfrog to something better, we can avoid a crucial part. As the writer Parker Palmer puts it, “I deny my inner darkness, giving it more power over me, or I project it onto other people, creating ‘enemies’ where none exist.”
While there is no need to dwell on these facets, recognizing their existence opens us to releasing them. Palmer also says, “Wholeness does not mean perfection, it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.”
how can we know our values and then shift in how we know?
inquiry for today~ offer your humanity and seek gratitude for your all that you hold dear…..
“Sometimes,” says Mary Oliver, “I grow weary of the days with all their fits and starts.” Same here! Especially as “breaking news” spins like a tornado with every news cycle, kicking up dust, making it hard to see or stay focused on what’s foundational, vital, and true.
In “The Poet Dreams of the Mountain,” Oliver writes about the importance of perspective, of standing in a place above and beyond the frenzy. “I want to climb some old grey mountain,” she says. “I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts. / In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.”
I want to remember the poet’s wisdom about taking slow steps and thinking long thoughts. I also want to remember what Martin Luther King, Jr. said about “the fierce urgency of now.”
I don’t want to disengage from the politics of our time by turning off the news: I’m a U.S. citizen, and I need to stay informed and engaged on issues critical to the common good. But neither do I want to lose my bearings in a flurry of false urgencies.
Memo to Self: Stay engaged, but “think like a mountain” more often than you do. Remember what it’s like to climb to the heights and look back on the landscape of life. Up there, you’re no longer caught up in the world’s madness, but reality remains in view. Now you can see the world steady and see it whole. Now you can get clear about where you are needed and called before you return to the fray.
~Parker J. Palmer