Hindsight is definitely 20/20.
Every so often I go through a tough phase. Times when I feel like my life doesn’t match me, where things seem unnecessarily challenging and odd fitting. Over the last six months I felt like my life was up in the air. In a way I was floating, not sure where to land, hoping I wouldn’t come crashing down or drift off to somewhere undesirable. Due to lack of gas and the passion to ignite a powerful spark, it just seemed like I was becoming more and more susceptible to life’s twists and turns. Things began to feel out of my reach, out of my control. Important things, like where to live. During that time I was looking for a rental in Northern California, and I just couldn’t find one. Nothing seemed like a match and nothing felt right. I was considering moving back to New York, and I even contacted an old friend to make possible arrangements. Until, the perfect opportunity crossed my path. On April 1st (which last last weekend — so sorry I didn’t write a blog post! for any of you that were wondering), I made my move. I moved to Yountville, California. I had no idea I would eventually move to the Napa Valley, or hear the sound of hot air balloons roaring for lift-off as my dog and I walk around the neighborhood. A whole array of new sounds, sights and smells. It’s beautiful here, and the experience is all very dream like.
From personal experience, I feel that we can never know what’s in store for us. Just as we think we have it all figured out, life is there to laugh. To present challenges. To help us grow and demand that we see differently. All we can do is be boldly ready. Every significant move in my life was a mystery. The right people, the right time, the right moment. Magic. I could have never mapped it out. The same goes for every regrettable decision I’ve ever made. I can look back and analyze everything, nitpicking what went right or wrong, and wonder how or why. But when I look back on it, when I look at it all in context, it seems so obvious. They were all important pieces to one grand puzzle. And no series of events was complete without the other. Everything was needed for my evolution and development.
As I get older I see that life is a practice of surrender. And the underpinning of that is gratitude. To be able to see everything as magic. As play. As growth. As humility. As a gift that we get to be part of. Every step is important. Everyone is important. To be boldly ready. To watch. To be moved. To be loved. It’s all very simple when we see it from a grander view. The key to that is letting go. To untether ourselves from our fears, or our need to be in control, or to have things unfold as we had planned, or to live up to an image we imagined for ourselves. Nothing is wrong with living up to our highest ideals or inherited paradigms, but at what cost?
I remember a hike I did in the Himalayas. This was years ago, in 2000. I began the journey with so many ideas, of myself and of the climb. When it was over I was nothing. Blank, empty, unsightly, and vulnerable. I was so humble and so grateful. Everything was good enough! Everything was beautiful! Everything was a gift! My feet were blistered, pus filled and swollen. I could not walk without taking every step into gentle consideration. It was also very clear to me that nor the hike or what was beyond the hike, was possible without the loving help and generosity of others.
Life is best well lived. For everyone that means something different. But I do think it takes faith in something beyond our humanness; beyond our brain, blood, flesh and bones. Death awaits each and every one of us. Death is actually quite near. And on that day, we will be humble. We will surrender, and know that we are nothing without the help of others. And that our lives are beyond our control. We can dream big and work hard and create copiously, but we still need the blessing of the Universe and everyone in it. Instead of waiting to realize this, it’s best to embrace it now. To live each day as an eye-opening piece to a magnificent puzzle. And to have fun playing the game. And to see what there is to see. To enjoy it all, even the challenging twists and turns. It’s easier said than done! Trust me, I know. I’m still ‘working’ on it. It’s all a practice. So we don’t need to worry about doing it perfectly. It’s all just an opportunity to let go. To rise up and fully live.
There was once a king, who received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained. Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch, since the day it had arrived. The king summoned healers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to a member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”
In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “bring me the doer of this miracle.” The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make this falcon fly?” With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, “It was easy, your highness, I simply cut the branch.”