“Yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision. But a today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”
I am not sure of a better way to start or end the day than watching the sunrise or sunset in the peace and tranquility of nature! Nature has three qualities to offer you: 1) It moves medium-slow, not fast. 2) It heals you, and 3) you can access deep reflection via internal stillness. Humberto Maturana, the philosopher, said, “The only way to change your history is via reflection.”
It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting on a high bluff looking at the distance to the horizon, after a trek up the hill on my mountain bike by myself. I can contemplate this as a high altitude point overlooking my entire life building process and the landscape are all the aspects in my life that compose it.
I say to myself, “Now, remember that anything you want to create is up for grabs. This is the moment to rethink everything.” Starting with nothing, you connect with your horizon; your future self for personal cultivation. Turn to the East where the sun rises represents what is ready to begin in my life. I remind myself that life is temporary and all things must end, at some point. Then I connect with the West, where the sun sets, and what is ready to die in me. North is my spirit, and South is my soul down deep into my ground of being.
When you confront that you’re not immortal, the brevity of life suddenly awakens your heart’s desires. What matters to you isn’t conditional anymore. Dreams and aspirations begin to visit you like a piece of music you faintly hear from inside your heart. You fundamentally choose to become the predominant creative force in your life. You’re on the way to something you deeply desire for its own sake, and your love for it is generating the effort.
The Two Connections
As I sit quietly on the bluff, I then start to connect with something pregnant seeking me to come into reality—a sacred project. My inner knowing has come to the surface to meet what is true for me right now. This connection is what is called “the vertical connection” to your deepest intention. From within you is a guiding light or idea that you care deeply about. This idea that has yet to become true orients you at the deepest levels. And it presents you with unforeseen possibilities that come into the now. My relationship with the unknown is a friendly invitation.
Your deepest intention, when originated from the source of being, characterizes your place to take in the ecosystem. When you see the true nature of your work, you develop a love and appreciation for it. And it is organized by your deep curiosity and wonder for what life has in store for you. It is all just an adventure! Your first step is to offer yourself an invitation to organize your life around what matters most to you. This is the invitation to the open heart.
I’d take an empty pocket over an empty heart any day. I’m reminded of the moment when a philanthropist offered Mother Teresa a very large sum of money to donate to her cause. After refusing it, she exclaimed with open heartedness and conviction, “thank you and I’ll say no for the third time, but after this, do something for me instead. If you could today find someone alone and impoverished, and marginalized, and tell him that he is never alone, this would make all the difference.”
To open your heart, you’d turn to journal, and remember the souls who brought you to where you are now. That a vast treasure of unique abilities and figures shaped what you learned, like rich supply lines to fuel your journey. You’re reminded to make everything and everyone your teacher. Even those who insulted you, these are your teachers too. So you write down their names and next to each human being they brought you a gift. What did they tell you? What did they bring you? How did they change you? When you see the qualities in others around you that amaze or inspire you, you develop a deep love and gratitude for their gifts.
This connection is called “the horizontal connection” between yourself and others. It is the capacity to witness the magic in others, distinguished from yourself. You live in a gift economy now. Nothing becomes what it is without the advent of relationship. Patterns between us give rise to properties we can define in ourselves. We all are just being done by the influence of relationships. Cynicism must be let go as vulnerability, intimacy, and depth come forth.
As you gather your heartfelt gratefulness of your special contributors in your past and their impact on you, begin to identify the creative movements that are cueing up right now in your life story. Just remember that whatever you appreciate, appreciates! What you notice expands. What you ignore is reduced. When you acknowledge someone’s gifts or contributions to your life, it expands. You help them see their place to take in the ecosystem.
Leadership is your place to continuously express the highest quality of being you can occupy at any moment. The word in Japanese “ba” means “place.” A genius loci is an intelligent spirit or magical power that resides in a place. Very few genius loci of this form are able to move from their native area, either because they are “part of the land” or because they are bound to it. Your place to take in the ecosystem is a place made for you. To know your place you must know your deepest intention (source), the way others around you move or touch the sacred in you, and through these your best self and truest work is brought into creating value for others.
When you’re intentionally silent and still, reflect on this: What is expanding or contracting in your life? What is gathering and rising? What is flowing in, and what is flowing out? What is settling or releasing? What is wanting to emerge? What story are you telling through your life? You’re in a conversation with creation, and the world is coming to find and confirm you!
“And what does it involve to be consciously in conversation with creation?” I ask myself. It is to be available and open to receiving it. You set an intention and then look to “wise innocence.” Wise innocence is the part of you that knows you don’t know how you know what you know. The cultivated “don’t know mind” yields that everything the future needs is given to you in this moment. It is the source of letting go, to let that which is emerging, come. You’re open to the outcome, yet not attached to it. “Is this God?” I ask myself. It is the force that is behind God.
It’s like clearing the decks for action or passing through the eye of the needle. Something is ready to die, while something else, still indistinct is waiting to be born. It is the point where endings give rise to beginnings, and beginnings become endings. All things must change. Even you will change your mind, and everything will be there for you when it is supposed to be there.
In the scriptures, the camel had too much to carry on its back to pass through the doors of a village. All the non-essentials needed to be left behind to grant passage and set forth into the village. When a singular intention becomes clear, you give your mind big business to attend to, and ignore the petty stuff. You take meaningful leaps into uncertainty, organizing your decisions in service to a calling. Life is constantly renewing your understanding as you live forward into the mystery of what it is unfolding.
We’re all just walking in the dark; stepping down with each new stop on the mystery path with practical feet each moment, only knowing what is implied next by walking. We can see to the edge of our headlamps’ field of visibility like a car driving on the highway in the dark. The enemy is in us—fear, resentment, cynicism, and judgment. All three cloud our window of the world ready to relate with us just as it is coming toward us, not what we make up about it.
Even volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, all bring you vision, clarity, understanding, and agility, as the dream becomes the catalyst for assimilating and learning as you live forward. That you learn what is emerging and embody it because you make life up as you go along. There is no cure for uncertainty. You can only truly reflect, while in action. This explains why there really are no experts. All that can be given are direction and connection (the vertical and horizontal connection), and an open will to live into the mystery forward, with willingness and alacrity.
The universe is a wildcard with very little cooperation most of the time. Can you trust betrayal? Can you work with the negative and positive aspects that life surfaces? Can you welcome everything, and expect nothing? In your life as a creator, you make room for the present moment just the way it actually is. The present moment is an acquired taste and learning ally. It is the beholder of truly being grateful for all that life presents you.
Even the hardest or most negative moments you can use the energy and information at play to awaken and learn. To really assimilate the most from it, leave your concepts at the door. Perceptions, interpretations, and expectations are downloaded from the past.
Instead, mindfully position yourself to accept the present moment as your invited guest at the dinner table. Make room in yourself for disconfirming qualities in reality that fall outside what is familiar. You don’t have to bring your hard-handed preconceived judgments to everything. After all, isn’t life just a giant boot camp anyway?
Just consider what life make available to you if you entered this moment with no anticipation. Your past is history. Right now, none of your conclusions of who you should be or not be are necessary. And that whatever others are doing or thinking isn’t at issue. What’s left? NOW! All you need to bring is your intention, and wise innocence and the best is yet to come into place.
Have you forgotten that life is beautiful? The field of possibilities is revealed right now. Every step along the way be grateful for the brevity of life!