One day I was seeing my too-pretty-for-her-own-good acupuncturist and talking (for the millionth time) about how truly messed up the world is. I didn’t have to provide proof. There is plenty. I don’t have to tell you. I was saying that my particular life was sweet and safe and fulfilling but that I couldn’t really feel it. All that goodness and, yet, I was kind of miserable. Something was in the way or stuck or closed up. But what? What? Was it hormones? Empathy? Guilt? Depression? Sugar? Ancestors’ legacies haunting me? Did I need more therapy? Was I an alien visitor from another planet where there was only peace, love, and understanding?
So, my too-pretty acupuncturist smiled and said something about belief. Was I carrying a deep belief that Planet Earth was a terrifying place? And, if so, could there be a way I might examine that belief and see if I could open to other possibilities? Now, you can imagine, in November 2023, we might easily make a strong case for terrifying. And yet, my little world was indeed peaceful. And, truth be told, I was probably not helping anyone living in less peaceful circumstances by missing out on my own sweet, safe, and fulfilling life. And, I suspected I did not need to worry that if I believed in the existence of a beautiful world full of wonder, I would suddenly stop voting , listening to NPR, seeking justice for all, and writing/blogging.
What, then, did I do? Well, I got out my trusty journal and wrote a story! I write these stories when I’m needing to get unstuck, or understand something, or heal and grow/expand. Here it is:
The Woman Who Didn’t See What Was Right in Front of Her
Once upon a time there was a woman who thought Planet Earth was a terrifying place. She always felt an undercurrent of pending disaster. But disaster never came. At least, not to her house. But she felt obligated to stay on guard, just in case.
Interestingly, being on guard all the time was exhausting. And it meant she never had time to experience anything else. But let’s face it. There was a whole lot of terribleness going on. All around the world. Fighting. Killing. Hate. For starters. Not to mention fires, floods, hunger, and climate crises. Things were not looking great.
Every day, every night, the woman was so overwhelmed by pending disaster that she couldn’t see the goodness all around her. She couldn’t experience the beauty. The wind in the trees. The generosity. Strangely enough, she couldn’t even feel the wonder of her accomplishments. The appreciation from her clients. The love notes from Brazil. The fan mail from Spain. Believe it or not, she didn’t even appreciate her pain-free body, her still-plentiful hair, the capacity of her heart to continue to pump and her eyes, to continue to see.
It occurred to her that this had to change. She couldn’t live this way. And it seemed that it had to start with believing that Planet Earth was not always so terrifying. That the world was also full of wonder, of beauty, of sweetness, of love. She had to see below the surface of things and tune into the subtle, quiet, yet powerful life energies, invisible and visible realities all around, everywhere. She had to remember what she already knew and what was even actually playing out in her very life!
That was the irony of it all. Her daily life was the proof of the wonder, the beauty, the sweetness, the love. Her very life, every day, every minute was showing her the truth of what was possible. What already existed. In spite of her fear, she was shown every darn day how the world was magical and precious.
Oh. Well. When you put it that way. She gulped, paused, and in that moment realized a few things. One. She no longer had to believe that Planet Earth was hostile, that she had made a mistake coming to this planet, and that she ought to tear up the contract, and return home pronto. Two. She did not have to hold onto the fear for her ancestors’ benefit. They were fine with her good life and were healed by it. Three. Her inner child was more than ready to dance, sing, and laugh with wild abandon. Four. It was totally appropriate that she had a safe, sweet life with beautiful woodwork, a head full of astonishing hair, dear friends, and adoring fans.
And, believe it or not, in that moment, she happened upon, of all things, Jeff Goldblum on Stephen Colbert on Instagram quoting George Bernard Shaw:
“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible
before handing it on to future generations.”
And so, she realized that when she let wonder, beauty, sweetness, and love into her heart, she broke it open! She could “rejoice in life for its own sake” and make her “splendid torch…burn as brightly as possible…” And so she did.
To my dearest bloggEEs: If you want to know more about this journaling technique, my handy dandy new book has more examples. (Just thought I’d slip that in) Let us know about how you find the world to be magical and precious, even in these times. And I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful comments and for your presence here. Love and appreciation to all you forces of nature.