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Are You Accepting The World’s Invitation?

It was February 19th. I glanced up from my desk and my eyes rested on the lovely rose that my partner gave me for Valentine’s Day. “One more day, and I’ll have to throw it out,” I thought to myself. Then, I continued the one-way conversation in my head, “That’s how it is with fresh flowers. I have to make sure I really enjoy them while I can, because the window of opportunity is very slim.” I was referring to the fact that I had waited several days after receiving this exquisite gift before I realized that I needed to put in my office. Given that my office is where I spend the majority of my working hours, having the rose there, and sooner, would have allowed me to enjoy it even more of the time, before I could enjoy it no longer.

That’s how it is with life, too. It brings us lots of presents, and not just on the designated present days, but every day. Inherent in those gifts are myriad opportunities to experience life more abundantly. That’s only if we fully receive them, however. Otherwise, we miss out on all the richness they, and life, have to offer.

In a sense, the world is inviting us, always, to take in what it has to give us. And I don’t mean physical things. Goodness knows, most of us have enough stuff. (I know I do.) No, by saying “take in” what the world gives us, I am suggesting that we see past the stuff, and/or the circumstances, and glean the meaning from what we have been given. And, I’m suggesting that we do this no matter how we label the new item or occurrence.

Of course, when we experience something we perceive as  “bad,” meaning unpleasant or painful, we must first acknowledge those feelings. No amount of glossing over them will make them actually go away. In fact, quite the reverse will happen: If we don’t allow ourselves the emotions that immediately follow such experiences, then those emotions will begin to cloud everything that we do, even while we are trying to avoid or deny them.

Then, once we have fully owned the truth of our feelings, we can respond with a wholehearted yes to the invitation  and  ask ourselves the following questions (in addition to any of your own):

  • What, if anything, is there for me to learn ?
  • What might I have done differently?
  • Is there a metaphor that could apply here that would enable me to see a different, deeper meaning what I first supposed to be true?
  • Is there an action that is appropriate for me to take now, given this new knowledge?

The most important thing for us to remember when engaging in this process is not to judge ourselves! This only serves to keep us stuck in the muck and will not only not allow us to move forward, but it will inhibit any kind of real learning and/or change going forward.

So, the next time the world outside you offers you an invitation to go inside, I hope you’ll take it.  I think you’ll be glad you did.  In fact, I believe that we must go within or go without all the rich beauty and meaning there is – all around and deep inside us.

 

Be Afraid

 

Really – it’s ok. We’re built for it. Facing up to fear takes courage, and most of us probably have more than we think.  The word courage comes from the French “coeur” or the Latin “cor,” meaning heart.  So there it is – our heart is our “courage muscle.”  We all have it and to make it stronger, we need to exercise it.

Just like putting in regular time at the gym keeps many of our other muscles strong, we can build our courage muscle too – by taking risks.  This doesn’t mean you have to climb a mountain or jump from an airplane (but if you’re moved to do so, by all means, do).  Risks can be large or small, and what might be a risk for me isn’t necessarily one for you.  But deciding and planning to take “risks of the heart” and then taking note of the outcome can help you to Learn about yourself, Love who and what you find in the learning, Live the life that only you can live, and then Lead the world, by joyful example, to do the same. Read more about how others are doing this at my RiskADay blog.

Notice that I didn’t say that you have to be “successful.”  In taking risks, we don’t always get the result that we want.  But trust me, rewards do come regardless of the outcome of taking the risk.  If we truly follow our hearts, there’s value simply in that.  “Cor” is also the root of the English word core.  Isn’t that fitting?  The desires of our heart are truly at the core of who we are.  Perhaps that’s why this can be difficult.

We live in an extremely risk-averse society, and we don’t like disappointment.  Making the conscious decision to take a risk isn’t easy.  We worry:  What if I fail?  What if I look foolish? What if I do get the result I want, and then find I don’t really want it?  This is where a strong courage muscle makes the difference.  The practice of risk-taking helps us to recognize that there will always be reward, rather than allowing ourselves to be stalled in worry and regret.  If we are open to the lesson to be learned simply from taking the risk, we learn more about ourselves, our desires, our limits, our dreams.  We exercise our courage muscle and it grows stronger.  We grow stronger.  The world grows stronger.  But that’s for another post, so stay tuned!

Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway. – Robert Anthony