Contrary to a life-long desire to figure “things” out, and arrive at a metaphorical destination in which I finally can relax, I’m learning that constant seeking…a constant insistence on being able to explain things, instead keeps me stuck and limited. These days I keep finding myself being invited to embrace the mystery of life, and to trust that, when I do, life will carry me along to unforeseen, and unimagined places of creativity and possibility.
And, I’m reminded that I don’t know squat. Most of the time, that’s actually is a huge relief, and I feel something inside of me let go, and relax. My, what a price we pay for being on high alert while simultaneously trying to lasso life and manage it to our liking.
Might life have better plans for us than even our most lofty ideas? I believe so.
This is the scariest part for me – actually to keep moving forward while trusting in the mystery of life. Moving to Italy and throwing myself headlong into all my creative passions (writing, painting, photography) feels like a huge roll of the dice. My inner judge tells me I’m being indulgent and irresponsible. It then tells me “Well, if you insist on this path, step aside and let me manage the process.” Yikes. Talk about a creativity killer.
So, I’m asking life to help me get out of my own way, without really knowing how that is going to happen. I’m also asking for life to mute the voice of my inner dictator, and instead allow me to hear the voice and the language of my inner muse.
Now, wouldn’t it be great if we all knew we had an inner switch we could flip to silence the voices of conditioning and then move merrily along into a world of blue skies and non-stop euphoria? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works – for most of us, anyway. Which brings me to the how love and pain are intertwined in falling into the mystery of life.
Finding and pursuing what you love can initiate life showing up in a way that starts stripping away the extraneous – the things that keep us encumbered.
Often times we fight this, because we start losing ground that feels familiar. As much as we know there has to be a better way, many of us want to avoid the pain of having things change and having old conditioning stripped away. Years ago, when my mom introduced me to The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, one passage leapt out at me, as if to say “Pay attention, because you’re gonna need to be reminded of this.”
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
For me, while I know these words feel true, I have the hardest time trusting this aspect of the mystery of life. I grew up in a culture that taught me to go after the quick fix, the magic pill that would cure most anything. I grew up trying to avoid pain. Now I know I don’t have to label pain as bad. I can see, as Kahlil Gibran writes so eloquently, that it often is the ultimate medicine that heals my soul. When in pain, I can choose to remember that something is happening. Something big is changing to reveal something essential that has been hidden or locked away.
I’d like to say that jettisoning my former corporate identity was simply a big relief. I didn’t realize how much my sense of self, and my sense of worth was so tied into this role. I can’t tell you the number of days that I’ve felt lost, looking to find safe harbor in a new identity, and a concrete, well-defined purpose in life. Right now, I’m smack dab in the middle of not knowing. And, now that I’m finally letting go, and allowing myself to swim around in uncertainty, I’m realizing this is actually kind of fun. It’s like challenging life by saying “Show me what you’ve got!”
Love is worth it. Living a life that is safe, and doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable at times usually isn’t a life of love or passion. But, love will exact a price as you move into its embrace – at least that has been my experience.
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
We are all making our way through this grand mystery of life, doing the best we can, and calling truth to ourselves in the ways and in the languages that speak to our souls. My path isn’t your path. My way of experiencing truth isn’t the way that you experience truth, but I do believe we all gain something from sharing our individual stories.
For me, mystery is mystery. Allowing mystery to exist without needing to solve or explain it is what I’m being asked to embrace. What a scary, yet exciting time in my life!
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