You know how weight loss promoters show people “before” and “after” clients use their methods or products? Or when there is a house that has been re-vamped and made spectacular? Well I had a thought this morning about where I am on the “Before and After” continuum and it is here: I am so in the before of my life that I’m not able to see the after like I used to be able to. More often than not I run around saying “I know things are going to be really wonderful later, no doubt!!!” and “It’s already wonderful and there are some things that aren’t here yet but I know in the long run they will be.” But today, just in this moment, I’m showing up in that place of the “before.”
It’s odd because a part of me is feeling a scarcity urge, that “I better make sure I really lean into how it feels here because once I’m in the after, well, I’m going to be hard-pressed to remember what THIS was like” place. Isn’t that funny? Like the before that does become your past is something you want to hold on to! That is hilarious. We do all this introspection, psychological and spiritual work around our “before’s” and then something comes alongside it when it is getting “right –sized” and says, “Not so fast!!! You better not forget about ME!!!!” As if we could.
All I can say is that I think I’ve come up with more evidence (like we need any more!!!) for the rapturous wonder of the present moment. There’s no before or after in this place. No tugging for attention from “before”, who’s saying. Don’t forget me!!! You need me!!! I made you who you are, after all!” or from “after” saying “It’s so good to be here, so good to be away from before. Before was soooooo yesterday and soooooo hard. In rapturous presence all that is true resides in this amazing quiet knowing. Right here I’m in the ok of all that is. No polarities of right or wrong, good or bad. Present moment of loved and loving, worthy and honoring, blessed and alive, spectacular even. I wonder, how many present moments can I stand? How about you?
When a thought arises in me twice in one day I know myself well enough by to see it as a signal that something is alive and needs shared. Earlier in the day I was listening to Brene Brown’s CDs on vulnerability and the topic of empathy and compassion came up and particularly her insights on foreboding joy. The notion that sometimes one of our most difficult places, if not the most difficult places involving our vulnerability is actually around experiencing joy. This floored me as much as it floored Brene. We actually have a hard time inviting in joy, experiencing joy fully and staying with the moments of joy that are brought into our lives. She shared that her research uncovered that the people who were able to most handle joy, in the thousands of interviews she and her team did, were those who had an active gratitude practice. I loved learning that. I loved the reminder that it is not the “attitude of gratitude,” but the living practice which allows us access to this oddly scary place of joy. Who says humans aren’t complex??? I certainly have room to expand my gratitude practice, as I was reminded today, and at the same time a tender place in my heart was touched by this entire discussion. That place was around my obsession with why I am on the planet. While my over-arching purpose is to love and be loved, to teach love, to inspire love, to remind anyone I meet about the amazing gift of our original true essence that is pure love, there is still a piece of me that says: “And?” The fact that the “And?” question arises gives away that there is still work for me to do because some part of me, after all my human development and spiritual training, is still thinking “Well, that isn’t quite enough.” I am aware that this certainly is just not the truth. But what is? What is the truth lies in my second inspiration today, and that was when Brene was talking about how people who survive a traumatic experience will often report that what they miss the most about their pre-traumatic experience life are the ordinary moments. That’s when it hit me. I’m absolutely also here to remind you to cherish your life. Cherish. From here on out, when I feel like sharing some ordinary moments of my life that are just stunningly amazing to me, I am not going to hold back, edit or worry about how it might land for you. I’m here to live my cherished life out loud. What I want for us all is to live from a place where we love AND cherish ourselves and our world. It would be even more amazing if we could keep opening to the experience of this kind of existence without the traumatic experiences to “shock” us into that place. Trauma will happen, don’t get me wrong, but I definitely want to keep living into this here and now present moment awareness of a life loved and cherished. I am compelled to share the gorgeous, “ordinary” moments of life that don’t escape my noticing so that we all can get a glimpse of what is possible for us around living into that joy that Brene says we so often avoid. Welcome to the joy of a sacred, ordinary life!