Years ago, I was introduced to the possibility of seeing life from the physical and Divine perspectives – all at the same time. Imagine that – being present in what is happening in the now (think Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now) AND seeing ourself and the situation through the lens of unconditional love – as the eternal Divine sees.
I liked the idea, and began. My intention was that irrespective of whether I found myself in a pleasant situation or an intense one, I would remember that all of it was part of a broader purpose – one which I might understand or not.
It didn’t take long to realize that when life was going great, flowing as I had thought, wanted or planned, it was easy to see a perspective of grace. Liking this prompted me to feel the love available in every ordinary moment – breathing, washing dishes, petting Chipper the cat, in conversations, watching a bird in flight.
I also discovered that in the moments not going so well – the ones that were difficult, intense, unwanted – it was harder, if not, at times, impossible, to find the broader divine perspective. Joseph Campbell calls these “trickster” moments – reminding us that life is full of the unknown. And, he suggests that, with practice, we can see the broader knowing within “trickster’s” surprise.
But somewhere along the line, I interpreted this to mean that the intense moments would lighten up. And that somehow, I would become an “expert” in circumventing the situations. Looking back, it’s easy to see why I thought this – in school and in jobs, we learn that mastery means we’re done with the lesson and we can move on.
Well, not quite. Over the past couple of months, with great help, I planned a renovation project for my home. I knew what I wanted to do, when, how, and how much. Wow, it felt great – and easy – to consciously create, thinking I had it all under control.
Then the trickster showed up. There was a lot more than what I knew. A well-orchestrated plan for a new floor expanded into jack-hammers in my den and a new sewer line. And, as the construction plan morphed into days of hammering, sawing, and air compressors – the luster of the plan became the reality of disruption, infinite dust, and chaos.
Neale Donald Walsh in Conversations with God notes that intensity is a gift of our physical life. And, being on the path of mastery doesn’t mean that we circumvent these moments, it means that we hold the center of love and peace in the midst of the intensity.
David Whyte in The Heart Aroused shares the same insight in a different way. He reminds us that in filling our lives with structure, ritual and planning, we hope to keep, uncertainty at bay. Yet, we know all too well, that the details of our life, when seen from a physical perspective only, are uncertain.
So the question is: “How do we hold both the intense physical experience and the broader knowing all at the same time?” The truth of the answer is simple: one step at a time.
I found that in the midst of the chaos, my anxiety came from worrying – the noise wouldn’t stop, the problem wouldn’t be fixed, or that my budget couldn’t afford it. Then, I’d take a deep breath and remember that for all the ups and downs in my life, whatever I needed came.
So I began reassuring my anxious, physical self that no matter what was going on in the moment, “All is well”. The perfect help will appear. The matter of dollars and cents will work itself out. And I turned my attention to thinking how beautiful and sound my home was becoming. Not only once, I repeated this refrain often. Vigilant. Patient. Persistent.
Now, writing from some distance, I realize that my internal process mirrored the external one. The process of rejuvenation and growth – whether on the inside or out – is noisy, dirty and takes time. Replacing floors or a learned emotional pattern requires great care – to take up the old, strengthen what’s beneath it, and setting the new in place.
Miracles do happen – every day and beyond the trickster. I’m finding the reminders easier to access. And I know now, not to get too comfy here. There is always more on the way.
Well, back to dusting and settling in to the new space….
Thanks for reading!!!