Italian writer Cesare Pavese advises us to travel light if we’re to travel far and fast. “Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” I’ll never arrive at the life I’ve always dreamed of if I don’t work through Pevase’s list. And neither will you. Reading his list, I know he’s right—we let really bad stuff get in our way. It’s not necessary to have perfect days, but it’s necessary to have a life without all those things that hold us back. Like a closet that needs cleaned out, our lives require de-cluttering so we can bring in the God connection, the eternal force within, the incarnation of Oneness, at true and real agape that transcends all we can know. To travel lightly, we need to let go of all the things we don’t need. We need to burn them or put them in a box or drown them in a river. The things that don’t serve us often work against us. To fight them, we find meaning by immersing in what we love, being empathetic, loving deeply, and letting go and letting God. If The Artist’s Way taught me all the ways I didn’t allow myself to fly, life took over and showed me a new path of lightness. What is it inside you that doesn’t allow you to fly? How can you travel lightly into your future?
Archive | May, 2015
Wayne Dyer is quoted as saying “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” At the heart of an excellent life is recognizing its abundance. Taking an art class feels lavish and expansive. It makes me feel like I’m living abundantly. When I was working on the Artist’s Way chapter on abundance, I bought flowers for my desk at work. I paid attention to how the outside light came into the Terminal Tower. I felt like writing Morning Pages was a stolen moment before the family woke up. I gave myself permission to spend time on myself. Here I am at the end of 30 days and trying to figure out how I can get my Mom to journal, but my mission may not be her mission. Remember humility? Remember agape? I pull back from that idea, and try to listen to what she needs, but I ask you, as I’ve asked workshop participants, “If you could live four other lives, what would they be like? What’s the through line, the common thread that causes them to be your choices? How can you live your life more abundantly? Maybe you’ve already arrived at the life you always dreamed of.
To love deeply, we must forgive deeply, because to be human, we are only able to be human. As The Tao says, we must be kind to each other—that is the bigness of love, to be kind to everyone we know, even those who seem to despise us. Living in the moment, being present, humbly serving, seeking privacy—they all come down to loving self, others, and God in a deep Agape way. By being humble on Day 26, I let go of worries because no one was watching. Life became full of possibility, not full of responsibilities. I was feeling expansive. We feel compassion for the homeless, the soul-weary, the sinning adulterer and murdering maniac by understanding we all have very different voices and different scenery playing in the movie that runs through our consciousness. Their stories are our stories. Therein lies empathy. By not being so self-absorbed, I start to understand what motivates people. If I try to listen and understand, I’m loving, and, as Buddha said, “Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds.” All that is required of me is that I be there for others. Bottom line: love God and love others. The more I serve others, the more I’ll just be, the less my ego will be involved, the more God-centered I’ll be.
As the cities of America erupt, just as they did when I was a child in 1968, I understand the struggle of many, but not the destructive behavior of others or the hate behind their actions. Nelson Mandela said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances freedom of others.” That leads to what I wrote about on Day 26: humility is a virtue because it allows us to see into the souls of others. When I arrived home from Lakeside, my daughter said I would never offer up an apology for bad behavior—the idea that my daughter sees me differently than I do, as a self-centered uncompromising person made me look deep to see if that’s true–some of what she accused me of IS true. That was right after I had a sobering thought on the way home from Lakeside that as far as what I’m writing and how much: No one’s watching. And I was fretting about it, worried about making a mistake or not being good enough when no one cares what I’m doing, not really but me. So I’m just a humble warrior who needs to focus on being there for people, whether it’s paying attention to my what-would-Jesus-do behavior or writing well. With great humbleness, I examine my behavior and who I am and help others be free to write and live well. I hope I’m living in a way that would make Mandela proud–with great respect for others and less focus on my achievements.
For those who follow me: I’ve been off track with my posts. Back to Mondays. I’m happy to report that my new book Daffodils and Fireflies is now available, and I am reviewing the final proofs of Canal Country Wineries. But this weekend, as I write this on Saturday, I’m in the same place I was on Day 25 of my 30-Perfect Days Project: at Lakeside, Ohio’s Chautauqua on Lake Erie. The Chautauqua movement was always about being expansive, and when they began, in the middle of Queen Victoria’s reign, the artists and writers and philosophers and abolitionists were intoxicated by expansiveness. At Lakeside, and especially during my Word Lovers Retreats, people exude expansiveness. The tribe of Word Lovers writers are looking at expanding, putting it out there, acknowledging the intoxication we all feel when we put words on paper. And we need the encouragement of each other, as well as the universe, and perhaps a muse, like mine, my more mature self, the woman with the flowing long hair and gossamer scarves who appears beside me, beckons to reveal layers of treasures and the untethered freedom of a bird, meandering on the garden path. With her, I am childlike.