Go To Life

I was home this morning and feeling emotionally flat. The world was lying heavy on my head. As in the poem Casey at the Bat, “there was no joy in Mudville.” How strange, I thought. I’m not usually like this.

I could feel myself slumping, both physically and spiritually. And the pull was strong … to bed. It was 11:00 am. An Internet call with members of Evolutionary Collective Global was on tap for noon. Those calls are such an opportunity to be with other human beings in a very deep way but I was already saying no.

Clothes off, covers pulled back and soon the comforter was tucked under my chin. A day of rest and isolation beckoned. Sometime in the afternoon I’d meditate for awhile, just me and my soul. Maybe there’ll be a hockey game on TV tonight … I could veg to the skating artistry of Mitch Marner. Eyelids fell towards sleep.

And then …

Go to life.

What? What did you say? (You heard me) And indeed I had. The voice within jolted me awake.

There are times to hunker down and rest. This is not one of them. Go to people. Give them all you have. Start with the ECG call. There might be twenty men and women from all over, folks to contribute to. Then go volunteer in the Grade 6 class – twenty-four kids and one teacher need your presence, your words, your kindness. And then, get to the gym. One hour on the elliptical would do just fine. After that, have supper somewhere and then go to the folk music concert at Acoustic Spotlight. Once all that’s done, go home and go to bed.

Well, aren’t you a pushy fellow.

You need it.

No, I don’t.

Yes, you do. Get out there and live your life.

(Sigh)

***

I did. I’m in Wimpy’s Diner as I write this. And then it’s off to hear the music of Larry Smith and Tara Dunphy.

Sometimes you have to heed the call.

Every Act

Everything you do counts forever

I don’t know who said this but I’m glad they did.  I’m imagining the building of a gorgeous temple – stone by stone, wooden beam by wooden beam, stained glass by stained glass.  This edifice is in my hands.  Every kind act from me adds a bit and every meanness or distancing takes something away.  There’s a worldwide village under construction, about 4.5 billion homes.  Will we create a city of light or a ghost town?

When I was 18, I asked a girl out on a date.  We arranged to meet on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.  At the appointed time, I didn’t show up.  Years later, while I was on yard duty at school, a young girl cut herself badly.  I applied pressure and love until the ambulance came.  What if those two moments are just as alive today as they were when they happened?  What if the entire world still vibrates with that fear and kindness?

If that’s true, do I become hypervigilant, walking through life looking over my shoulder to see who’s watching?  Do I tighten, immersed in the fear of doing something wrong?  Do I roam around trying to find opportunities to be good to people?  I say no to all of that.  There’s a flow in the universe that I can launch my raft into.  Natural moments will draw natural responses from me.  May there be far more of building up than tearing down.

At the end of this lifetime, I hope to gaze out on shining streets from the window of my sweet sanctuary.  Until then, I act, again and again, trusting in the person I have become so far.  For, in a Christian context, which is as fine as any other …

Let us build the city of God
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our love
Has turned the night into day!

Day Two

So many human beings with things to say in Colorado.  And such a blessing to me.  I love hearing people speak from the heart, and more and more I’m doing that too, even sometimes at the Belmont Diner, around the horseshoe-shaped lunch counter.  It takes courage to speak out, not full of opinions about the events of the day, but rather about what’s supremely important in my life: love.  May we all sense the stirrings of the heart and bring that energy to our lips.  May “sometimes” turn to “often”.

Here are some sweet thoughts from the presenters on Day Two:

“What we value, what we think about, what we identify with, is transformed.”

It seems like a natural process happening within me, “on the road to find out”.  No effort.  As the Buddha said, what I think about … I become.

“In the last 20 years, global poverty has been cut in half, and will likely be wiped out in our lifetime.  In 1950, less than 10% of the world’s population was considered middle class.  Today it’s almost 50%.  A century ago, just a few countries were democratic, and some of those only partially so.  Today nearly 2/3 of countries are democracies.  Two hundred years ago, only 12% of the world’s population could read.  Today 86%.”

I had no idea of the advancements mankind has made.  My focus has been almost exclusively on the problems.  While naturally we need to address these problems, we also need to celebrate our emerging goodness.

“How shall we respond to challenges?  We have choices:

1. Do nothing
2. Blame, cope, give our opinions
3. Transact – Do something!  Anything.  (a recipe for burnout)
4. Transform – Do something that gives life”

Whatever I do, may my heart dance with my mind.

“Think about what’s true for you.  If it doesn’t motivate action, if it doesn’t guide intuition, if it doesn’t settle emotion, if it doesn’t build resilience, if it doesn’t guide what you do now, it’s not deep enough.  It won’t save you.”

I need to sit quietly with myself and let my deepest truths bubble to the surface.

“Focus on the other person feeling understood and respected.  Look for what’s best in what they’re offering to influence you.”

Let go of rehearsing my next speech.  What beauty is held by the person sitting across from me?

“He acts whenever action is required.   He cares for whatever needs his care.  He destroys what needs to be destroyed.”

Not a suggestion for violence but a commitment to stand up for what enhances human life and to resist what doesn’t

“Spondic love is the experience of a deep sense of ‘I am’.  And may you be.  You want to give life force to the other person.  You want them to have everything.  And you can feel it, from your belly and heart.  You want them to be blessed, exploded with life.  It’s a kind of communion.”

Oh my.  Relationship so beyond any self-help book.  A deepness of “we” that can transform the world.  Reverence.  Connection.  Love.

Lifesaving

Just south of me is the village of Port Stanley, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Erie.  Jackson’s Fish Market is a local landmark, and one of its exterior walls is graced by a large mural – about 20 feet long and 10 feet high.  It depicts a rowboat heading out in wild seas to a stricken ship offshore.  Here is the inscription:

On October 29, 1902, in a savage Lake Erie gale, the three-masted American schooner Mineral State went aground and started to break up off the high clay bluffs east of the Port Stanley harbour.  The gallant Port Stanley lifesaving crew, watched by a large crowd of Port Stanley residents, braved the towering waves and rescued the entire crew of the schooner just as dusk was falling.  In recognition of their bravery, the lifesaving crew all received gold medals from US President Theodore Roosevelt.

I studied the painting.  The gold of sunset lit up the waves and the sky, as well as the faces of adults and kids who were watching the rescue.  The wind blew back their hair.  In the rowboat, a helmsman urged on the six rowers, who were cranking on their oars and straining in their faces.  On the horizon, the schooner’s masts were tilted at a 45 degree angle.

Oh, the fear that must have coursed through those men!  Was this the end?  Would their names be added to the list of fatalities?  How would their families carry on?

As I sat in my cosy car, I wondered how I’d react in an emergency.  I’ve never saved anyone’s life.  In the moment, would I have the courage to do that?  Or would I fold my tent and slink away, comforting myself with thoughts about the people in this world who needed me to stay alive?

Right now, I yearn for the chance to save someone.  And in the next breath, I hope never to face such a crisis, such a call for action.

And when the moment comes …?

 

Just Do It

To laugh often and much
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends
To appreciate beauty
To find the best in others
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child
A garden patch, or a redeemed social condition
To know even one life has breathed easier because you lived

The last line.  Is that enough?  That at the end of my life, just one person would have been enhanced by my time on the planet?  What if I let this be okay, rather than indulging in grand fantasies about making a difference worldwide?

And then again … I wonder what freedom I’d let in if I completely let go of contributing to the lives of other people.  Experiencing no need to have any particular result show up in my life.  Perhaps I’ll do the experiment.

I could say goodbye to “Action > Result” and say hello to merely “Action”.  If my mind wasn’t being bothered with the ramifications of what I do or say, wouldn’t that free up a lot of energy?  And what would that look like?

Just love

Just smile

Just give

Just nurture

Just help

Just look

Just trust

Just meditate

Just empathize

Just write

Just kiss

Just caress

Just persevere

Just commit

Just initiate

Just forgive

Just adore

Just cherish

Just work

Just encourage

Just mourn

Just accept

Just giggle

Just include

Just enjoy

Just make love

Just empathize

Just lead

Just hold dear

Just do things

Just celebrate

Just thank

Just move

Just dance

Just cry

Just give

Just eat

Just walk

Just think

Just speak

Just rejoice

Just act

Just assist

Just buy

Just teach

Just create

Just reach out

Just listen

Just shine

Just live