For two weeks I’ve been sitting on this point I want to make. I tried writing about it several times. I just keeping thinking about it and not being able to fully flesh out the idea. So instead of being stuck on it, I’m just going to share it. Here it goes…
We often hear the phrase Rain or Shine, it’s basically saying; it’s happening regardless of good or bad, ideal or undesirable. Which is a good thing. I like that idea. But why is it that after all these years, we can’t see that both exist at the same time? Life is always both at once. It’s only our thinking that makes the two feel separate and distinct. And of course that is totally okay and normal, but the problem is, it kind of f*cks up our lives at times. It causes us to be disappointed or feel victimized, or wonder why life could be so cruel and deal such bad hands. No one wants to play a game where they feel they will suffer or receive unfair treatment.
The other day I was walking home and I was looking at the mountains. It’s an amazing view, I wish I could share it with you right now. But see if you can imagine it. The southern Oregon mountain vista was vast, and it was peppered with trees dusted in white snow. In addition to that, there was a rolling stark white mist that looked like dense San Francisco fog. This white fluffy opaque mass masked much of the view. It made it seem as if there were no mountains, much in the same way that the clouds or moon can fully eclipse the sun. If I were only focused on the mist, I would not know that the mountains were right behind it.
When I was crying in the emergency room about my dog being ill recently, if someone were to tap me on my shoulder and say, “Aimee, wow, don’t cry or fear the situation. It will be resolved soon and everything will be okay. Help will eventually be on the way.” At that time, when I was so angry and distraught, I couldn’t see it. All I could see is what I was focusing on. And focusing on it only brought me more suffering, not solutions. It wasn’t until I changed my focus that things started to change for the better.
The same goes for people that were alone during Christmas Day. I was so happy to be alone! It meant that I could do whatever I wanted! But I knew people that told me Christmas Day was very sad for them, and they wished they could have spent the day with friends & family. I thought that was interesting; two people, same day, same situation, but one loved it and the other hated it. Nothing was different. Only our thinking was different. Only what we were focusing on was different. This is why experts advise people that are overweight to not focus on losing weight, but focus on a higher goal. Make it about something else — something more inspiring and empowering.
If you focus on being fat, and how sad or hard it might be to lose weight — you will get more of the same. I think the same would be the case for anyone lonely, broke or in trouble. If you focus on what you dread, it’s only going to bring you more of it. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Bringing it back to my main point, if you are broke, fat, sad or lonely — abundance, health, happiness and companionship do exist in the world. You just have to go out and connect with it! Just like the mountains existed beyond the clouds, or hope existed for me in the emergency room. It was there! It was simply hidden, but it could have been seen if I changed my focus or investigated a bit further.
Another point I want to make is… If you want to shine, you have to go through the rain — literally! Life isn’t always easy, it’s not supposed to be! If we stop thinking in polar opposites, or in a constant state of duality, life would be so much easier. Because we would stop being so hard on ourselves and so hard on life.
No one ever did anything great (or anything gorgeously human) without risk — without rolling up their sleeves and getting all up in it! You have to get up and get in life’s face. You have to challenge it. You have to see what is behind the clouds. We forget that each day of our lives we are at risk. Nothing is ever a given — ever. Tomorrow everything could be different, or over.
We are vulnerable. It’s what makes us so exciting. Think of a rose or a fine meal, or a shooting star, or a baby’s laugh — it’s magical because it’s transitory. Just like our lives are. We are nothing but flowers living for our best season. That’s why I suggest we aim ourselves towards the light and bloom the best we can. We can stay hidden or tight in a bud — that’s actually gorgeous too. Sometimes I like buds, but it’s often undesirable because it’s too safe. It’s too tight, too restricted, too withholding. There isn’t enough self-expression or risk there. There isn’t enough unfolding. In order to do that, we have to be uncomfortable and risk falling apart. Did you hear that? (I should say, did you read that?) You have to risk falling apart. Life is about falling apart. Life is about letting go. Life is about only seeing clouds but knowing that everything else can exist at the same time. It’s not either or. It’s not, Life is Perfect or Life is Imperfect — therefore I’m happy or miserable, I’m either extremely pleased or suffering terribly.
Right now there is so much pain and suffering in the world. I hate to bring this up, but it’s kind of haunting me. Last night I watched a video titled Shaming Fashion Victims on the Street of NYC. (<– click link to view it.) It’s about wearing fur and how cruel it is. At one point, about 3 minutes into the video, there is a scene in a fur factory, where they rip the fur off of animals while still alive. During this scene the animal (who is on a pile of other animals), is alive but skinless, with all of its muscles and ligaments showing. It tilts its head up and looks directly into the camera, with blood dripping off of its doe-like eyelashes. It was alive and fully aware, being completely present and intimate with the camera — and it had an expression on its face that I will never forget.
After watching a video like that, of course I have the thought “How could people wear fur?” As well as, “How could people create factories like that?” and “How could anyone do this to another living being that is completely innocent, fully alive, feels pain and wants to live?” Those are all good questions. So are “How could evil like this exist in the world?” and “How can I go on living with injustices like this happening all around me?” And the best question yet, “How can I help?”
Yes, all those are great questions. But another question might be, “Is there a way I can fully realize that life can appear both bad and good at the same time — and if so, how can I help to make a positive difference in the world, while loving life as it is?” This is what unconditional love is. It’s love in its highest form. When we love like that (and live like that), we have compassion for the animals, and compassion for the one’s that are torturing them or exploiting them out of ignorance. It doesn’t mean that we don’t work towards putting a stop to it. We do! It simply means that more suffering (or more hate) isn’t going to make it any better. That’s the part we let go of, or that part we fall apart to. It’s the part that requires our patience, acceptance and surrender.
Nature allows it all. It allows everyone to live and learn. And because of this, it is the most powerful and most beautiful force I know. I doubt nature has a bad day when it’s raining, or falls into a depression when people are misbehaving or being cruel. I think it just keeps going. It keeps things moving and evolving. It’s wise enough to know that the bright sun and dark clouds can both exist.
This blog post was very hard to put into words. I hope somehow my feelings and thoughts came through in a way that made sense for you. Just know that whatever you see, do, feel or experience in the world — you are loved and your life is precious. Enjoy it the best way you know how. Try to make space for all of life to happen through you. Try to see that the best of life can also happen while the worst is also happening, and that it’s a choice to focus on what will bring us the most fulfillment, joy and peace.