In an interview with the BBC in 1999, David Bowie said, “I have no knowledge of who I am, but I am extremely happy.” Yet clearly he was a great creator. Somehow he disentangled stories about self and purpose and creating in a way that allowed him to be free, prolific, passionate, effective.
As you reflect on your purpose, I invite you to notice the difference between choosing a purpose as a creative expression and “finding your purpose.” Let me know how it goes by sharing your thoughts in the comments. ♥
This week’s video is an exploration of the freedom to choose. I invite you to reflect on two quotes, one from William James and one from Viktor Frankl, and notice where you go when you consider them. What happens when you focus on the pressure to make a right choice? What arises instead when you focus on your capacity to choose?
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.” – William James
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl
I love the sound of the word miracle. It rings with amazement, delight, and a sort of innocence.It evokes the wide-eyed wonder of childhood, the confidence that anything is possible, the hope that good things can arise at any moment from any conditions.
It’s a lovely word, I think, with which to start a new year.
But as always, it behooves us to reflect on what we mean by the words we use. When we use words unconsciously, especially in the service of setting and realizing intentions, we risk in the best case a loss of potency and in the worst case unintended and potentially dire consequences.
So what is a miracle?
A miracle surpasses what is known
A miracle is something that surpasses what is known. It is a marvel or wonder that we cannot fully explain or for which we cannot entirely account given our current grasp of how things work.
When we see clearly, everything is a miracle.
Science describes but cannot account for life, the universe, and everything
Science, which I happen to love, is a system of collecting, correlating, and extrapolating upon knowledge.
By definition, it is limited to what we know and to exploring the edges of what we do not yet understand.
And what we know about life, the universe, and everything is minuscule compared to what there is to understand.
We know so little
Though research abounds and opinions proliferate, we don’t know for certain what people should and shouldn’t eat. In my lifetime I have seen a number of scientifically vetted dietary schemes pass in and out of fashion.
I’ve seen the Big Bang Theory pass in and out of fashion.
I’ve watched as we mapped the human genome only to discover that being able to do so doesn’t actually give us the leverage we were seeking. It appears that life as a living process doesn’t operate as a static system of interlocking pieces.
Rather than affecting each other in predetermined ways, it appears that each building block of life influences and is influenced by other building blocks, and not all of them are observable.
And yet we live
The Charming Prince lives on oatmeal, ramen, celery, cheese, and popcorn with lots of butter and salt. He has the blood pressure and cholesterol of a healthy 17-year old boy.
I live on protein shakes, raw vegies, and chocolate. My blood pressure and cholesterol are borderline.
And, by the way, the significance of blood pressure and cholesterol measurements are under question, as are the factors that are thought to affect them.
The point is that each of us manages to live, until we don’t, and that we live is a miracle.
It exceeds our understanding.
We’d never get out of bed if we had to figure out how
Everything we do is infinitely complex. If we stopped to figure out how to get out of bed before rising, we’d never get up.
If I tried to figure out how to write this post before writing it, it would never get written.
If you are a writer, you have probably fallen into that particular black hole. If you have done any kind of creative work at all, from baking to painting to starting a company, you are likely to have spent some time in the endless pursuit of understanding how to begin a project.
If you do it at all, eventually you simply begin.
Miracles begin with beginning
Miracles begin when you decide to begin.
So often we look for the right place to begin. And like trying to figure out how to get out of bed or how to write, looking for the place to begin is precisely what keeps you from doing so.
The beginning is here and now with you.
Because you are the miracle that matters.
Begin your miracle-making this year by realizing that you are the miracle that matters when it comes to creating your life.
You are a unique part of the unfolding miracle of life, the universe, and everything.
The miracles you will make this year don’t depend on how you stack up against anyone else.
They depend on you being yourself.
Wanting what you want.
Trying what beckons to you.
If you want miracles in 2016, start by noticing that you are one.
A friend told a lovely story on Facebook recently about coming across a young Jedi knight. When, while walking her dog, she greeted him the five-year-old Jedi, he first collapsed into himself and mumbled that he wasn’t a real Jedi. When she and the dog circled back around, the same thing began to happen. She stopped, drew herself up, and, looking him directly in the eye, saying, “We mean you no harm, young Jedi. I ask permission for my dog and I to pass.” The boy’s jaw dropped. He snapped to attention, turned on his sword, and said in a voice filled with purpose, “Permission granted.”
Each of us generates a stream of identities ranging from Jedi warrior to perfectionist to mom to coach to hero to failure. Often we are unaware of how we suppress some of our most vibrant identities while giving air time (and thus life) to the stories that pull us down. It’s innocent, and, once we are on to it, unnecessary.
Here’s to giving life to your most life-giving version of yourself. May the Force be with you!
Last week I talked about our breakable but indestructible hearts. A viewer wrote:
Thank you, Molly. A delicate and paradoxical dance, learning the difference between caring for our hearts and “wrapping them in cotton wool.” And essential to being alive!
As I reflected on her comments, I realized that my friend and mentor, Bill Cumming, has taught me something essential to sustaining that open heart. Life is a miracle, and when we experience ourselves as part of that miracle, open hearts come naturally.
You might well ask how you can connect more deeply to the miracle of life? Notice what makes you come alive. Make time each day, preferably at the beginning, for spiritual self-care, for care of the soul. If you’d like to experience for yourself the reality that all of us have within our heart and mind the ability to create a life of value and purpose, Bill Cumming’s online program, “What Every Person Can Do.” It is about accessing the power that already resides within each of us.