Sunny rays reflect
off masterful ice crystals
warming bitter winds
Our most fundamental relationship is the one we have with our self. Until that relationship is made whole, all of our relationships will suffer, and any step we take towards fulfillment will ultimately be unfulfilling.
This is actually good news. It means that enduring fulfillment is entirely within our control.
Our relationship with our self is reflected back to us through our everyday experiences. Each experience is a teachable moment where we can heal misconceptions, express humble gratitude, dismantle behaviors that no longer serve us, respond rather than react when our “buttons” are pushed, and bring new insight to a conceptually deadened reality.
In the process of healing my most fundamental relationship, I learned invaluable lessons about trust from my innocuous “everyday” activities such as laundry and cleaning. This prepared me for a deeper “relationship detox” as I turned my growing confidence towards increasingly complex relationships. My unwavering commitment to healing gave rise to a deeply rooted sense of personal mastery.
The most powerful teachers in our lives are also the most subtle. What lessons are your everyday experiences waiting to teach you?
We want our lives to count for something. We want our actions to impact the world in profound ways. Yet that notion can undermine our ability to even get out of bed in the morning. Unless we feel we have some ambition or some person to devote our actions to, we often feel incapable of doing anything.
I have been on all sides of that coin (including the edges). There was a time when I felt hopeless and useless, like a target in need of an arrow. Other times I have felt inspired but ineffective, like an arrow in need of a target. It seemed like this unsolvable riddle. I didn’t know what to do, so I wouldn’t do anything, hoping instead to be found: by some person or some ambition.
Then one day, quite unintentionally, the riddle was solved. I was in the midst of a crisis in the summer of 2009. The debilitating quandary at that precise moment: “I don’t know what to do. What can I do?”
The question arose from a place of utter futility. Those words were the last of everything I had. Once spoken, even though it was just to myself, those words emptied me of any hope of finding an answer.
In the pristine stillness that followed, a steady, rather nonchalant question met mine: “Well, what can you do right now?”
I looked around: I was standing in the midst of a kitchen overflowing with dishes and papers and spills and chaos. I answered emptily: “I can clean the kitchen”.
A disinterested reply followed: “Then do that.”
Heaving a sigh at the pointlessness of it all, I resigned myself to the task at hand. As I started hurrying through the dishes, awareness shifted away from the task and onto the rich warmth of the sun on my face. My pace slowed, igniting a spark of curiosity. What other richness was I overlooking?
My actions slowed even more, and I began to notice the wonderful play of energy within and around me. All of life had led me to this one epic moment. The miracle of it all unfolded before me. This was no dish I was washing: this was a pinnacle result of a rather extensive and daunting chain of events.
I felt humbled. My actions slowed even more as I created space to take in the magnitude of it all. As I moved through the kitchen, each area revealed a deeper sense of wonder. Each area served as an opportunity for me to experience and express humility for my prior arrogance of discounting these every day activities as burdensome.
Somewhere along the way I realized: I wasn’t cleaning the mess in the kitchen, I was cleaning the mess within myself. By the time I was done, I felt cleansed and alive. I was inspired: I was an arrow that had found its target. This was something tangible that I could share with the world.
The answer to the riddle: Purpose is not a question of what profound thing we can do, but simply a matter of doing what we can do in a profound way.
So let me ask you: What is one thing you resist doing because it seems burdensome? Is it possible that this task can become a gateway to inspiration? Perhaps our purpose is not a matter of what we do, but a matter of how we do what we do. A far more empowering question than “what can I do?” is the question: “What can I do right now?”
Chances are you landed on my website because you are looking for instruction on how to expertly answer essential questions and reignite a sense of personal mastery in your life. You have proven exhaustively to yourself that employing other people’s “recipes for success” does not work (despite the guarantees and the raving testimonials), yet your own recipes have also failed to pan out.
You no longer trust yourself the way you once did, and perhaps you are unclear about whether lasting fulfillment is even an option for you. The only thing you are clear about is that you do not want to waste any more time, effort, or money wandering down blind alleys.
Perhaps you are actively taking steps toward a direction that “feels” most authentic, but there is an undermining uncertainty about whether the steps you are taking will actually lead to fulfillment. This is a difficult predicament because there are so many choices to make, and you have no reliable compass to guide those decisions.
Perhaps you feel you are on the brink of a breakthrough, yet your lack of clarity combined with your abundance of self-doubt precludes you from stepping in any direction. You are faced with the possibility of resigning to a “life less lived”, yet you are not entirely without hope or you would not be here.
I know both those scenarios all too well.
The weight of this elusive American angst leaves the bulk of our society feeling lost and alone. I have found my own map through the perilous jungle of despair, yet experience informs me that my map will ultimately not be of much use to others.
What I can offer is help dispelling the myths and misconceptions that cloud your vision, creating the possibility for you to find your own map and compass.
For those who feel they have exhausted all viable avenues in search of fulfillment, I personally know the black hole you are in. Having “slingshotted” out the other side, I am in a rare position to offer a perspective that few can, yet I also know it is not a perspective that is easily heard let alone trusted.
I am told that I can be rather blunt at times, and that the things I say can seem overly simplified and without a shred of compassion. I recognize that truth, but I know that it is out of deepest compassion that I feel the occasional need to be so blunt. Coddling often serves to undermine efforts towards personal mastery, whereas drawing cold distinctions can effectively set personal mastery ablaze.
If you do not genuinely want to break free of uncertainty and own your life, then I am the last person you should be spending any time with. While I would deeply value your friendship and support, know that my primary interest in you is in helping reignite your experience of personal mastery IF that is something you are interested in as well.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
You can’t fall once you have realized you are the foundation from which it all arises.
We crave in the external world that which we cannot sense within ourselves.
No sense rebuilding a house without first replacing the defective foundation.
Conditional gratitude is not gratitude.
If I was not the way I am, then I would simply be another way.
Going out to play.
Love, heartbreak: Two sides, one coin.
Home again, shoeless.
Quiet frog sitting,
Itch slips away unwitting,
Nourishing the bug.
Resounding silence cradled the war-torn battlefield as soldiers fell dying and the opposing Generals met on common ground to discuss terms, each resolute that their sovereign nation remain intact. Meanwhile, the nearby King warmed himself with a hearty oat and berry cookie and a steaming cup of imported tea.
The tempestuous walls ran incessantly, for there was nothing for them to hit.
The farmer cannot feed the world if he hasn’t grown the grain.
The past stands revealed as the storm before the calm.
Healing stillness saturates even the most insidious heartbreak, brutality, and devastation.
I used to climb mountains. Now the mountains climb me.
Courageously, appreciation sprouts from the pestilent turmoil of fear, giving way to a startled flowering of gratitude.
The willingness to be uncomfortable, if only for a moment, contains within it the very essence of courage.