Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
– Steven Pressfield in The War of Art
I wrote about Katrina Kenison’s book Magical Journey here. This is her most recent blog post entitled “this (good) life”, which offers such an inspiring, poignant and soul-filling message: joy and heartache can co-exist; remember to see the sacred in the now, the blessings of today.
Here it is. Enjoy 🙂
I had a science fiction-y idea a while ago that goes something like this. Imagine that, in addition to your existence here on planet Earth, you have a parallel existence, a “Parallel You”, living on another plane, alongside planet Earth you. Now, maybe Planet Earth you has a partner and children, or not, and goes to school and/or has a job, and in your spare time you like to ski and make awesome quilts, or cook fabulous meals or renovate your house. But when you think about what Parallel You might be up to on that other plane, you might think that maybe she’s travelling all over the world, stopping here and there to do some humanitarian work, while working as a journalist. Or, maybe, Parallel You is living on a farm growing vegetables and chickens and running a C.S.A. program. Or, maybe, Parallel You works in a day care centre supporting children who have special needs. Or, maybe, Parallel You lives in a small tourist-y town and runs a bed and breakfast.
If you get my drift, Parallel You could be doing 1,001 things.
You see where I’m going with this. Dreaming about what Parallel You might be doing, can give you free licence to tap into what you really love, and what your Soul longs for, no questions asked, no buts or maybes. Tapping into this other version of yourself might give you some insight into some changes you might want to make, or even, a life course correction that’s needed.
I haven’t fully immersed myself into dreaming about what Parallel Me is up to yet, but I just know that she’s doing a lot more travelling, enjoying a retreat somewhere and going on a mission trip to a third world country. I’m sure she’s also well on her way to writing her first book!
I would think that the best way to do this exercise is to go to a quiet room where you will not be disturbed, sit comfortably as in meditation, close your eyes, and let your mind’s eye focus on an image that relaxes you. Then, just let yourself imagine and picture what this other you might be doing. Sweet dreams!
One of the topics discussed in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Peace is Every Breath is “Contemplating Aimlessness”. He says,
Contemplating aimlessness helps us stop feeling compelled to go around seeking after this and that, exhausting ourselves mentally and physically.
Aimlessness means not chasing after anything, not setting any more objects in front of ourselves to run after.
Happiness is available right in this present moment. We already are what we want to become.
It’s like a wave who goes looking to get in touch with the vastness of water. When she realizes water already is her own true nature, her very substance, she no longer needs to go looking elsewhere for it.
Everywhere you turn, life is full of wonders. The Kingdom of God, the Pure Land of the Buddha, is already right here, within and all around us; and the same is true of happiness.
Contemplating aimlessness helps us be able to stop our rushing around and experience a sense of contentment and joy.
I’m lingering on these words as they bring me peace: Happiness is available right in this present moment. We already are what we want to become.
I’ve been reading a book called The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte. It’s about figuring out what your core desired feelings are. That is, the feelings that you most want to feel in your life. Such as a sense of freedom, joy, tranquility, abundance, security, etc. The reason for doing so is that it helps to know how you want to feel when setting goals or making choices. It’s like having a compass by which you can gauge whether you are going in the right direction. For example, one of my core desired feelings is freedom. Having realized that, I can now assess any new opportunities as to how or if they will provide me with a sense of freedom in my life.
The idea is that instead of just setting goals, you can ask yourself whether the goals you are contemplating are going to make you feel the way you want to feel in your life when you accomplish them. Sometimes we pursue a goal and then, when we get there, it leaves us feeling hollow, not filled up like we hoped it would. That’s because the goal didn’t align with what we were really wanting. I’m totally not doing Danielle’s book proper justice, so you’ve got to read this book yourself!
When I asked myself what is meaningful to me, I came up with being inspired and inspiring others. Another principle that is important to me is telling the truth. Truth is such a fundamental principle to me and is an important theme in my life as I learn to tell my personal truth (which is sometimes suppressed because I don’t want to ruffle any feathers or when I don’t want to shine a spotlight on myself).
When I let my truth come out, it feels so good, like my chest is clear and I can breathe deeply with ease. Following my truth and telling my truth is like keeping my eyes firmly affixed on my own North Star and trusting that it will ultimately take me home.
The Desire Map is definitely a great tool for discovering one’s truth!
If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know how much I enjoy walking in the woods with my dog Farley. When I’m surrounded by the trees and greenery with tree mulch at my feet and quiet all around, except for the bird calls, I feel that I’ve gone to another realm – a spiritual realm. It is the tonic that my soul longs for in a day otherwise filled with pressure, constraints, obligations and responsibilities. Walking in the woods, I notice that I can breathe without consciously having to remind myself, like I sometimes do when my body sighs in order to get more oxygen. I feel expanded, joyful and in awe. I feel a huge sense of gratitude for all the gifts I’ve received and a sense that all is well or at least all is as it should be, and for good reason. That there is a cosmic force at play in my life leading me (sometimes kicking and screaming, or crying) towards my greater good. At these times. I get a glimmer of the big picture just for a second maybe, that gives me hope and inspires me to keep trekking along and have faith that it’s all good and will ultimately be all good.
These moments of inspired hope that I get from walking in the woods re-kindle my trust and faith that I am being taken care of and guided. That despite moments of doubt, all is well. All…is…well.
I am reminded of the quote from Begin with Yes that says:
As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.
Is there something that you do to help re-align and refresh yourself when you’re overwhelmed with the pressures of life? I’d love to hear about it!
Just.Like.That….those are the words that keep replaying in my mind. How everyday there are so many mundane things that happen and then, just like that, something huge happens. Something that changes your life, maybe forever. Something like someone’s death. Even when the person is ill and it’s perhaps foreseen, it’s still a shock. Just like that, one moment he’s here and in the next, he’s gone. Everything around death is so mysterious and so final.
What I tell myself now, when someone dies, is that he completed his mission. And I definitely believe that once the soul is released from it’s earthbound human clothing, it soars again. Soars freely and joyfully back to where it came. This realm on Earth folks is what I believe to be the tough part. The pull up your sleeves and work hard part. The sometimes clench your teeth, and reach down deep part. The I don’t know how I’m ever going to keep going part. The what is the point of all of this part. This realm is definitely the hard part of existence. Because existence on the other side isn’t questioned in my mind, and neither is the quality of said existence. Although I won’t know for sure until I get there, I feel a knowingness about the other side…that all will be well there. That, as I may have said in these pages before, we will be debriefed and then we will understand and be at peace with it all.
The challenge for all of us, I think, is to invite that peace into our existence on Earth as much as we can, and share it with each other: In spite of all the challenges we may face here.