Neglect Not The Gifts Within You

She endured. And survived. Marginally, perhaps, but it is not required of us that we live well.

Oh yes it is! We may come back to enjoy another life - and I'm open to that possibility - but until I know for sure, I don't want to waste the one I'm living right now. I've endured. And survived. And I've lived marginally, but living well is all it's cracked up to be.

Over the years, particularly as I have gradually tried to honor Spirit's unfolding in my life by not neglecting the gifts within me, I have meditated long and hard about this inner directive, this craving for solitude. For I love the company of my husband and child; I'm excited by brainstorming and creating fabulous projects with a professional team; I adore spending time with close friends. But what I have discovered while composing my authentic concerto is that some of the notes require pauses. I yearn for what May Sarton called "open time, with no obligations except toward the inner world and what is going on there." To maintain inner harmony it is essential for me to ransom at least an hour's worth of solitude out of every twenty-four and to defend this soul-sustaining respite against all intruders and distractions.

Deliberately seeking solitude - quality time spent away from family and friends - may seem selfish. It is not. Solitude is as necessary for our creative spirits to develop and flourish as are sleep and food for our bodies to survive. "It is a difficult lesson to learn today - to leave one's friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week," Anne Morrow Lindbergh admits. "And yet, once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before."

I believe that Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who endured more than any of us could even bear to think about, demonstrated with her courageous and creative life that it is not enough for us simply to endure or survive. We must surmount, learn to excel at playing our notes. We must move to a higher octave or a lower one, whichever is necessary to finding the delicate balance between our deepest personal passions and our commitment to family, friends, lovers and work. As for me, I have discovered that the surest way to hear the soft strains of harmony is in the Silence.

-Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy©1995

Dancing Down the Avenue

Rest. Work. Play. Serve. Learn. Teach. Give. Receive. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. Stop. Go. Speak. Listen. Cry a little. Understand more. Pray a lot. Rejoice even more. No matter who you are and what you think you know or do not know, life will teach you to honor and respect balance. There must be discords in order to achieve harmony. There must be darkness that propels us into light. It is the frigid cold that teaches us to appreciate the warmth. Anyone who has ever been an underdog knows about the upper hand. Whether we consciously strive to attian it or in reflection realize it has been inflicted upon us, balance is the order of the day and all the smart people seek to balance their days. Now I don't know about you, but I have not been a smart person most of my life. I admit that for most of my life, I have been totally out of balance.

As children, we learn to measure our worth in proportion to what we do rather than who we are. The more we do, the more valuable we feel - the more valuable we feel, the more we seek to do. We become do-more-better people, not enjoying what we do, and evolve into do-more-better-faster people, making work a chore. And we do-more-better-faster for so long that we will not stop. Even the fun stuff becomes work. We are afraid to lose our value in the estimation of others, feeling that the moment we stop doing more better and faster, we will lose the value we place on ourself. All of this leads to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual imbalance.

Life has many avenues. We owe it to ourselves to spend a little time on each avenue, not taking one road, one path, one street all the time. There are days when we need to stroll down some of those avenues barefoot, or prance down some of them in high-heeled shoes or busted-up sneakers. You must know what shoes to wear and which avenue you want to stroll down if you want to discover the best of life.

Balance. Take time to play in your bare feet. It will keep you connected to the glorious nature and the innocence of the child within. Put on your fancy shoes and go dancing every so often. It will keep you in touch with the rhythm of life. Put on those ratty old sneakers and go help someone. Slip into those penny loafers and go be a student of life. Step into your Sunday-best shoes and commune with nature, with your inner self, and with Spirit.

Balance does not require you to do things better or faster than anyone else, but it does require you to make a conscious effort to enjoy what you are doing, and that you learn to be present in every aspect of life. Balance is the key to enlightenment. Enlightenment is the key to self-value and self-worth. An enlightened person with self-value and self-worth owns many kinds of shoes. Walk, stroll, run, hop, skip and dance down the many wonderful avenues of life.

Here's the Anne Geddes picture I was referring to a few weeks back. Please give it a bit of time to load, it is worth the wait.

The Author
Peace and Light, Michael

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