Aim high, ride easy, trust the Universe

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Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversation way even after one half of the bond had passed.

FRIENDSHIP is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.

...A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in silent, a companion in our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships are based on a continual, mutual forgiveness, Without forgiveness and mercy, all friendships die.

Original post here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/04/29/david-whyte-consolations-words/

 

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in Thoughts 35

The longer I live the harder it is to discern between the stronger emotions. They all spill into each other where they begin. The longer I go, though, the more I can tell between not feeling and feeling. For this is all that seems to matter.

Not feeling puts me on the sideline, makes the world black and white, and me, a dry shade of grey. Only feeling keeps me in the scene.

This evening I met a woman who I knew from far but far from knew - our conversation started in a shy staccato way and as we moulded into the sofa her stories unfolded. It never fails to humble me the boldness and fear that we all experience and live right along side each other in our living beating experiences of life - she mesmerised me with all of that. I left feeling sad, for very different reasons.

I've worked so long and hard to be able to feel my way into the lives of others, only to realise that we are all this way. Sometimes the skin of mind is torn and we are no longer separate human beings. When the talking is done we become still proofs of life. I'm leaving this story feeling more than one heart should and I can't tell if I'm in trouble or on holy ground.

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in Thoughts 73

In our journey through time, we all struggle constantly with what to bring along and what to leave behind. It feels so hard to let go but if we don't we will drown underneath a weight of our own one-word wonder makings.

A river is a good model - it doesn't own the water that rushes by, yet it couldn't be in a more intimate relationship to it, as the force of what moves through shapes it. It is the same with everything we love. In truth, there is no point in holding on to the deepest things that matter for they have already shaped us. Perhaps the most useful gift we can give ourselves is to lay our lives open like a river.

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in Thoughts 70
A hardness we can’t see, cold and rigid, begins to form between us and the world, the longer we stay silent about what we need. It is not even about getting what we need but about admitting, mostly to ourselves, that we do have needs.
 
Asking for help, whether we get it or not, breaks the hardness that builds the world. Paradoxically, asking even for the things that no one can give, we are relieved and blessed for asking. For admitting our humaneness lets the soul break surface, the way a dolphin leaps for the sun.
 
One of the most painful barriers we can experience is the sense of isolation the modern world fosters, which can only be broken by our willingness to be held, by the quiet courage to allow our vulnerability to be seen. For as water fills a hole and as light fills the dark, a kindness wraps around what is soft, if what is soft can be seen.
 
So admitting what we need, asking for help, letting our softness show - these are the prayers without words that friends, strangers, wind and time all wrap themselves around. Because as Carl Jung said, ‘Please remember, it is what you are that heals, not what you know.’              
 
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in Thoughts 58

We are taught to make plans and keep them, we work our way through predesigned courses of study into degrees and mastery, however, our attempts at real life and living don’t happen that way.

For me, finding where I fit in the world feels a lot like spiritual fishing. The mysterious ocean of experience keeps calling - buckets of questions and nets of honesty - I keep pulling up food for the days and then spending time cleaning and understanding what it has to say.

Every person I have ever loved and every path I have ever been called to has shown itself to me after fishing in the water of my spirit. We are all connected there and, by bringing up and taking in what lives within us can we hope to uncover our common purpose of being.

However, even though I believe in living in the open parts of me I want to hide. I seemingly can’t help it but what I can help is which parts of me - the open or hidden - run my life. What I can rely on in this inexplicable knowing that when I am in the open - seen by the darkest heart or the brightest light - life nourishes even those parts so sorely hidden.

We become so preoccupied with what we are not able to address, what we are not able to mend, what we are not able to leave behind that we forget that whatever we are, in the light of day is slowly but surely, healing the rest of us.

Belonging is a choice - to ourselves and each other.

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in Thoughts 91

Consider how the sun constantly lights our daily world, yet we cannot see the light except in what it touches. Though the sun constantly burns and holds everything living within it’s pull, though it sends its power across millions of miles, it is unseen for all that way, until it hits a blade of grass or makes the spiders web a patch of golden lace.

Similarly, the presence of God powerfully moves among us, unseen, only visible in brief moments we are enlightened, moments we know as love.

Just as we can look at a spider's web and never see its beauty until it reveals itself in the sudden light, we can look at a face - again and again - never seeing the beauty and depth in each other until one, or both of us is suddenly revealed. Spirits show themselves in just this way, or rather a gentleness of little secrets and slightly dark hearts allow us to see and be seen.

It makes our search for love a humble one. For what is there to do but grow in the open and wait.

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in Thoughts 116

I was talking to a tree the other day and it said to me "Universe when I come back I don't want to just be wood." So I thought out loud 'What's wrong with being wood?" 

"It's hard," the tree said, without cracking a smile. "I want to come back soft and furry so that I can be loved by children.

So I thought and thought and thought and finally asked 'Why not be tall and strong, just as you are, and be loved by children?" and the children came to play.

It begs the question, time and again, do you really think you have to change, to have what you want?

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in Thoughts 91

When we count with our eyes we stall the heart -  for the eyes can see clearly what is broken without ever feeling the break, and the mind can calculate the loss without ever sewing up the wound. Without touching the life coming apart before us, we can race to rebuild before the wrecked dream ever hits the ground. While this makes us resilient and efficient as ants, it also keeps us from living in what we build.

What makes us precise and efficient can also begin a life of neurosis, not touching what we see, not feeling what we know. This is how the mind skips the heart's step. How we forget that blood on the news is real and that the cry from the street is attached to something living. Such a profound and simple lesson: to count with our hands brings us deeper than all counting, numbers give way to notes and sums give way to song.

But one the hardest blessings to accept about the heart is that in the image of life itself, it will not stop emerging through experience. No matter how we try to preserve or relive what has already happened, the heart will not stop being shaped. The curiousness of life brings me, time and again, to this realisation that - despite my resistance to accept what we've lost is behind us, despite our need at times to stitch wounds closed by reliving them, and despite my heroic efforts to preserve what is precious, despite all my attempts (at times) to stop the flow of life, my heart knows better. I know - at my core - the only way to truly remember or stay whole is to take the best and worst into its tissue.

The heart keeps us going by moving us ever forward, though I walk around thinking I can direct my heart, our hearts are endlessly shaped, like the land, often against our will.

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in Thoughts 92

Everyone personalises and projects, personalising is mistaking what happens in the world as always having to do with you. Projecting is the reverse, it occurs when we place the things that happen in us onto the world around us. Often unknowingly, we attribute our fears and frustrations to others. Rather than accept my own anger I see you as angry.

The truth is that no one can avoid personalising or projecting - there are only those of us who are aware of it and those of us who are not. Those of us who own it when it happens and those of us who don't But this difference is crucial. Not owning things can end relationships. Owning them can deepen them.

Humans have spilt soup for eternity, and generations have made excuses saying "It was the Earth, the Earth shifted" and generations have secretly thought "He meant to do it."

I was the cause of soup spilling earlier this week. As ever my one-word wonder and I were at a crossroads, this one of my making; she projected onto me and I personalised it in return.  I sat with her, after I had spilt the soup, and listened to the emotions in her words and, at the moment, I knew that the difference was crucial to our deepening or ending.

If you want to save the world, when you spill the soup, simply say 'I"m sorry, I spilt the soup."

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in Thoughts 98

Living long enough we each find ourselves surrounded by an old way of being, thinking and loving that is going up in flames. In an unexpected moment I read the words, of my one-word wonder, that said 'You'd don't share, I'm not sure if you realise or not..'. In that moment I was stuck in fear, feeling trapped by an old way of life coming in on me.

It's understandable to stall at the wall of flame, not wanting to face all that is burning around us; yet old ways can burn forever and waiting for the flames to go out seldom works, we can waste years in waiting. Like a frightened man in a burning boat, in that moment, I chose to trust her, to believe that the greater sea I was about to jump into would douse whatever caught fire as I moved through it - this is what faith is all about.

Without trying to be brave and with great fear I have stumbled and jumped through many walls of flame. The first time, I think, was in leaving home - needing to go, burning at the edge, afraid I wouldn't survive beyond the flame of anger in which I was raised. Buoyed by youth the wall of flame seemed to burn brightly and in my favour but all too soon I had to move through the flames of utter despair in death and lost love.

Here the broken part of me was almost willing to be burned alive. I felt certain there was nowhere to go and nothing that could soothe me. I more fell through this wall than jumped, it seemed the entire sea was on fire. Even, once overboard, drifting farther and farther from the flames I thought I might drown. How could I know that the greater sea was the womb of a deeper life. But and, of course, once in the sea of life beyond myself, the world continued and I healed.

But the subtlest ring of fire, it seems, is that self-centered way of thinking that starts to suffocate us with smoke. For we carry the smouldering self-centered everywhere we go. It lives off us and eats up who we are. Being a commitment fence-sitter was hard to hear and I struggled with the reality of the words she gave me but she has shown trust in me with such boldness I realised it was about time to look her in the eye and love her, in that way, in return. 

So how to jump from the burning boat of me? I think it's about jumping from the boat of ego into the sea of spirit. Finally, perhaps, I feel I can find the courage to surrender my stubbornness and dreams of control, let the edge of my ego burn and jump through. I will do more than survive I will be carried to an unimagined shore.

 

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in Thoughts 137

I've lived a transitory life. It has its moments - I've seen and been things, I've grown up and into those places but it has its jaded edges and one of those is that you don't necessarily lean into the experience and fully embrace it.

We moved house - again - and because it's the nature of my beast I kept moving; things don't and can't gather under my feet - perhaps another conversation with my one-word wonder.

It's a wonderous thing arriving at a point and it's not really the point at all - it's just another brick in the wall. It's a beautiful brick but just a brick. 

On we go.

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in Thoughts 113

Hard as it is we cannot shrink from our relationships or we simply become an audience. I have struggled this with my whole life, being fearful of what might happen if I actually voice my concerns and needs, surprised that in doing so, whilst not always easy and pleasant, always enables me to be myself more fully.

The philosopher Martin Buber believed that God is more deeply known through relationships and he spoke to the heart of this paradox.

He said that before there can be a true relationship there must be two separate beings who can relate. Most of our life experiences bear this out. Unless we work to be ourselves we can never truly know others or the numinous world we live in.

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in Thoughts 144

I've grappled with self-doubt my whole life. My reward for being recognised and loved was based on a performing monkey basis, that was my motto until the cage became too small and the falling down meant staying down.

The deeper my cry the more my choices became clear. And this cry makes those of my loves more distinct.

My one-word wonder is calling into question whom she should love and, with it, opening a field of complexities - life quickly becomes an endless consideration of possibilities and allegiances. What I've come to understand is that all decisions to be made about who and where and when were really heartfelt distractions from a deeper cry. Underneath all the painful ambiguities and assessments, her very soul is sinking out of reach of the feel of life.

Once we hear the deeper cry our choices become very basic and straightforward - how do I regain my wonder at being alive? Time and again we are shown, by the quiet courage of others, that if we can let the deeper cry through the next step will come plainly into view.

Our falling down but not staying down reinstates the trust she seeks out and speaks of, ours is deepening.

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in Thoughts 118

I have a deep and rich home with a person whose cells are connected to mine and, in which, the fabric of our life forms a tapestry, a cosmos of colour which is both complicated and simple all at the same time. 

My soul mate, however, is someone quite different and that realisation has both startled and settled me.

I glimpse at the context of her story; in the moments she reveals them to me, and only briefly do I turn around to see her face because, in that moment, there is a perfect beauty in our staying anonymous.  It's those times, simply and deeply, without us ever knowing, the moment of pointed and unexpected truth, when we're more at home together than in our own skin.

The life of spirit is everywhere - in dust waiting for light, in music waiting to be heard, in the sensations of the day waiting to be felt and in our eyes that, together, finally see.

Being spiritual is much more useful and immediate than the books about books would have us think.

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in Thoughts 100

Unintended hurt is as common as branches snapping but it is unacknowledged hurt that becomes a wound. What causes hurt to each other? It's hard to say really but, it seems that - being human - we are subject to many ancient and powerful opposites found in life. Light and dark, yes and no, fear and peace.

It is out of fear that we feel the need to isolate ourselves and control others. When not afraid, when in a moment of peace, we feel quite a different need. We feel a need to connect and belong to other living things and it is then, in the act of true embrace, that we love one another.

Still, we're not exempt from both sleeping and waking, feeling both fear and peace, being both hurtful and loving. But the world is kept whole by those who can overcome their fear, however, briefly. 

Even if our awareness of being hurtful comes after delivering the hurt, the smallest word or gesture - owning what we've done - reopens the heart.

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in Thoughts 96

An old feeling settled into my cells over the past few days - I even felt a little comfortable with it, like an old pair of shoes your feet slip naturally into even if you don't like how they look on you anymore.

Fear has been a constant companion in my life and, over the many years of trips around the sun, I've both shunned and befriended it. This love-hate relationship has threatened to define or defeat me as I've realised that, the only way to stay close to the pulse of life is our ability to change, to shed off whatever we are carrying that is no longer alive. To cast off our dead skin because dead skin can't feel. Dead eyes can't see. Dead ears can't hear. And without feeling, there is no chance of wholeness, and wholeness remains our chance to survive the pain of breaking.

This fear encompassed and encased a deep fear that I wasn't, as my true self, enough. Whole enough, strong enough, rich enough, wise enough and, in showing my authentic self, in casting off the layers that no longer served me, would leave me exposed to the elements and the deep sense of abandonment would finally be realised.

I understand that this dead skin takes many forms, a dead way of thinking, seeing, relating, believing or a dead way of experiencing. In essence, shedding opens up to self-transformation. Those of us who refuse such renewal will, sooner or later, be forced to undergo transformation anyway as a result of being broken or eroded by the world. Very often both occur at the same time, we shed from within whilst being eroded from without. 

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in Thoughts 221

We were discussing what made us good listeners, or perhaps what made people come to us with their Hamlet questions. Sometimes I'm stretched thin by it but, for the most part, I'm deeply humbled because I think listening comes from a deeper place and it seems we can only hear the living to the extent that we have truly lived, only understand pain and joy to the extent that we have allowed ourselves to be touched by life.

I have heard so much in my life but it's only after the fact that I've felt their pain and even more their true joy in caring for things. To be sure we do not have to experience the same things to receive each other but we do have to experience what is ours to live through before life will show its roots.

What does it take to truly listen? The breakdown of everything that parades between our hearts. If I dare to hear you, I will feel you like the sun and grow in your direction, and you in mine. For when we hear each other, it all becomes a garden, it all becomes edible.

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in Thoughts 116

These big Hamlet questions play in my head sometimes and, despite the day to day activities that keep me running, these questions are my real purpose.

Why are we here? Why did I eat what I ate? Drive that way to work? Smile that thought? Say that sentence? And why did she saunter into my contained life? The big why?

I think this is the trick to life, to staying well, isn't it? To feel the sun even in the dark. To grow just the same. To know there is love even when we're lonely. To know there is peace even when we're in this uncertainty. And then it shifts. Then I know.

The stubborn persistent truth is that we don't get to choose who we love or who loves us - the big why is that we're all here to connect. I am powerless to her and her to me because we are within each other. There is a profound connection to everything and love is the only way.

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in Thoughts 105

"Did I show you love... because your silence never says ...." This song echoes in my head when I speak to her. My one-word wonder.

I know that over the years, through fear and expectation, my mind has gathered and hoarded places I needed to go, things I needed to have, selves I needed to be. But here I am, without most of them, the goals and wants all used up in learning how to love. But love I do - deeply.

How frequently do we search for a song of guidance that can only come from inside us? The search continues.

 

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in Thoughts 124

My very best friend said, just the other day, she thought that words were 'meaningless sounds that fill the spaces between'. Her reference showed her insistence that actions are what really move life forward and the endless talking is just unnecessary.

It didn't sit well with me, lover of words and creator of stories that, in my mind, were nothing if read as meaningless. But, as with everything she says, I sat with it and watched her play out in my life.

"How can you follow the course of your life if you do not let it flow"? Often the pain of resisting makes us rust like iron and in order for us to re-enter the flow of life we need to be scraped back to our original surface.

Like windows filmed by weather, I wait on her loving hands to be rubbed clear. For human beings, the process of living stains us repeatedly, with pain and disappointment, action and inaction, which can sicken us if harboured or make us whole again if released. Again and again, more than any other life form, we have this majestic and burdensome power to harbour or release the impact of our words but more importantly our actions.

Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant ride life rushes in and in constant release, we must let it all backoff.

My words, her actions, symbiotic and stretching, for this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind, how we, are carved upright - again and again - with a collective spirit that sets us free.

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in Thoughts 190