There’s a false polarization in some groups that places spiritual insights such as “Love is the answer” on the opposite end of a continuum from action. Nothing could be further from the truth. Love is the foundation, motivation, and power for action.
This week I share reflections on not needing to know where you’re going, how it is going to work, or what is “right.” What if we don’t need to know these things before we try something new? What if life will teach us what we need to learn? I talk about this in terms of my experiment with the gift economy, and it looks to me like it applies to every area of life.
Where are you holding back because you don’t know what comes after your very next step? What are you not doing because you can’t be sure how it will work out? Play with the possibility that each step you take will show you something about the step after that.
Please share your questions and comments!
In January, 2016, I wrote:
Miracles begin when you do.
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…. If you want miracles, start by noticing that you are one.
Perhaps you recognize truth in that, but right now you need to pay the rent, find love, or get clients.
It’s a lovely idea, but you’ve got problems to solve before you can lounge around grooving on yourself as a miracle.
I get it.
Some days stepping into miracle seems like denial, delusion, or avoidance
Problems can look so compelling that, while we would dearly love a miracle, we’re pretty sure that looking for one would be a phenomenal waste of time and a diversion of energy from doing what has to be done.
But ah! I’m not talking about looking for a miracle
There’s a gigantic, spectacular difference between looking for a miracle in a “Please, Universe, get over here and save my freaking butt” way and stepping into the miracle that underlies everything, including us.
Stepping into miracle is not passive. It’s not the desperate act of a delusional victim seeking rescue from a cosmic magician. It’s a turning toward the creative source of all innovation, beauty, and love and taking step after modest step in response to the inklings, insights, and ideas that arise in each moment.
Stepping into miracle is eminently practical
Artists do it all the time. So, in their way, do the best scientists, physicians, athletes, and parents. They feel their way, drawing from an energy and intelligence that can’t be adequately captured in words.
We’re actually already there
In reality, there is not stepping into or out of miracle, there is only realization of what is already here. But stepping into miracle can be a useful metaphor, because it reminds us to act. To engage. To step into life.
Insight reveals miracle
The deep miracle that permeates life is invisible to the intellect, but insight makes it palpable. If you’d like to see and feel and dance with miracle in your life, join me for The Art of Living, Rediscovering Magic and Meaning in Life and Work. We will be exploring the Principles behind miracle so that you can see it at work and lean into it. The Art of Living begins Wednesday, July 5th, and I would love to have you in the group. Click here to learn more.
Here’s what others have said about The Art of Living
Molly’s guidance broke me through some long-standing blocks that had been frustrating me in life and business. Now I feel that I have a new set of references, and I’m on a whole new ball game. She is a wonderful, generous teacher and guide. Twelve weeks was a perfect span to make essential changes. Deborah Clare Proctor, New Ways of Being Me
I am writing my first book (never having got past an outline before). If you are at a crossroads or have some part-buried creative aspiration that you’ve always found reasons to suppress, then this course can open things up in ways you can’t predict. Juliet Fay, Writer, coach and social entrepreneur
The Art of Living starts July 5th
Timothy Gallwey, author of The Inner Game of Tennis, has said that life is a perfectly designed workshop. The part I didn’t realize when I heard that, and which I see know, is that each of us is also perfectly designed for our lives. There is no test we need to pass. Nothing to prove.
I’m still experiencing a bit of brain fog post-surgery*, so I made this a very short video. I invite you to watch it to catch the feeling, and then to play with what shows up for you. Do let me know what you see!
*On April 11th I had surgery to complete breast reconstruction following my mastectomy in 2015. If you are curious about it, you are welcome to visit my CaringBridge journal. Everything’s going swimmingly. 🙂
Update, May 31, 2018
This Spring I’ve felt unusually challenged by stress and low moods. Since much of my work is about finding freedom from both of those, there have been times when feeling stressed out, anxious, or blue has caused me to question my expertise and the value I provide. While I was often at peace with simply not feeling the way I might prefer to feel, I sometimes wondered what I was missing such that I would be having such a dark time.
It’s easy to fall for the illusion that how we are feeling is telling us about how we are being and doing. As I wrote the first time I shared this video, “Insight often leaves us with a good feeling, so it’s understandable that we may conflate feeling good with being wise or insightful. But our underlying wellbeing and access to wisdom don’t go away when we are in low moods or experiencing emotional pain. They may (or may not be) obscured, but they are certainly not absent.”
I went on to observe: “It seems to me that nothing can be truly wasted in the universe. That all of life is interconnected and of immense, if sometimes unknown, value. Perhaps when we experience dark nights of the soul our hearts are being educated in ways that language cannot capture. Just as the beauty of flowers is nourished in the darkness below ground, the beauty of our hearts may be nourished by sadness and other challenges.
“This is not a call to figure out what your heart is being taught during tough times. Far from it! If analysis and figuring things out were adequate to the task, there would be no call for this silent, deep education. Rather, simply know that nothing, including your pain, is ever wasted. Trust that your heart and soul are unfolding just as perfectly as the crocus or the flowering tree. Give yourself over to your experience and know that it is not the measure of your value or your possibilities.”
If you are having a difficult time for whatever reason, I hope these reflections remind you that beauty is often created in the dark.
Approximate transcript of the video
It’s spring in the Pacific Northwest and crocuses have been bursting through the ground for a few weeks. Some of the flowering trees have begun to blossom, and I’m reminded of the beauty that is created in the dark.
This morning I was reflecting with a client on how freeing and healing it is to realize that our well-being is not defined by our experience. There is an essence that’s independent of the fluctuations of our moment to moment and day to day experience, and that that essence is always whole, always resilient, always creative. At one point it occurred to me that sometimes when we realize this we may get hung up on the good feeling that realization gives us or seems to give us. It may seem like feeling good and being happy is the payoff for insight.
It’s certainly often been my experience that insight has left me with a really good feeling. But then it occurred to me as well to that nothing is wasted in the universe. When I remembered that, I saw that feeling good is not actually the point. As lovely as it may be to feel the joy of realization, sometimes we experience what John of the Cross called dark nights of the soul. While I don’t pretend to understand what the heck is going on in those dark nights, it truly seems to me that something beautiful might be being created in the dark just as the beauty of the crocus or the tulip or the daffodil is created in the dark underground.
So, while I would wish for everyone watching this to experience oodles of good feeling, a multiplicity of insights, and a lovely elevated state of mind, it also feels really important to equally wonderful things are happening even when you feel low and in the dark. In fact, I think it must be that, on some level, your heart is being educated in those dark times, and that you don’t need to figure out what the lesson is any more than the tulip has to figure out how to bloom.
I would wish for you to know when your low times that you are always okay, and that you don’t have to feel okay for that to be true. And that your not feeling good is not an indictment of anything about you. That beauty is often created in the dark.
Let me know how that lands. Take care.
Whether it’s replacing the memory in your computer, swapping out vacuum cleaner attachments, or improving your state of mind, forcing things never works. The key to finding grace, resilience, endurance, or whatever we really need in a given situation is to be with what is happening, not to fight against it.