Can We Bridge the Gap Between Having and Having Not to More Greatly Love?
I had a dear friend who suffered from cancer since he was 15 and died tragically at age 31, who said you can truly judge a person by how he responds when life isn’t going the way he wants it to. At this time of Thanksgiving, a troubled time filled with divisiveness and uncertainty, it can be a challenge to see how we can continue to be our own greater selves when things aren’t going the way we want.
It can also be a challenge in this fast-approaching season of faith, trust and sharing to be able to continuously or even at all “draw from our own well” to be truly in the spirit of it all if we feel threatened or afraid. How can we bridge the gap between having and having not, to more greatly love in all ways in our lives?
You Can Only Be Your Own Greater Self
At 60 I can say I have lived a very full and compromised life – a life with a thousand thousand wonderful memories, a life of terrible tragedy, a life of tremendous challenge, a life of endless privilege, a life of astounding good fortune. This year much of my life has essentially blown up, and yet, much to my amazement in fundamental ways it is all unchanged, it is good, it goes on and on, and so do I.
I am my own best customer – sometimes, like it or not. I can only be myself, can only listen to my feelings, can only be honest and follow my own integrity. I vent too much, jump in responding too much, and feel too tired, too scared, but not very lonely. Life is horribly confusing and filled with frequent rays of sunshine – so many caring friends, wonderful clients, loving children and grandchildren.
Can We Ever Be Responsible Enough to Stop Abuse and Violation in the World?
My daughter wanted to see the documentary film about the financial collapse in 2008, An Inside Job, narrated by Matt Damon. This shocking and hard-hitting film about national greed and corruption amongst designated financial leaders with full political collusion since the eighties, is a desperate cry to us all to more greatly love ourselves enough to courageously determine and practice a fundamental sense of ethics and take responsibility to stop abuse and violation in the world. In considering recorded history, though, when has that ever significantly happened?
It is tremendously challenging to live up to an ideal. It seems the universe centrally challenges us when we determine an ideal to be able to live up to it, which puts me back to my friend saying real character is defined by how we respond when things aren’t going the way we want them to. I also find myself thinking, though, that when things do go the way we want them to perhaps our character slips, and we love less.
Who You Value Most is the Greater Part of You
It has been said tremendous suffering brings compassion, the emotion defined by Tibetan spiritual practice as being the highest emotion we are capable of feeling. I think of Abraham Lincoln talking about putting himself in “the other man’s shoes”. Do we have the capacity to do that?
I think whoever we greatly love and admire reflects parts of ourselves that we, in our heart of hears, value most – perhaps what we don’t consciously acknowledge. We can only give to another with no expectation, no agenda, of receiving anything back.
A Brief Guided Meditation and Journaling Exercise to Get to a Higher Level
Sometimes we think we have no expectations, but realize when we don’t get what we want, we really did. This is different from feeling within our core that we have been abused or violated, and knowing that to honor ourselves and our own integrity we must address this.
Here is a brief journaling exercise to help clarify how to more greatly love:
Be Alone and Uninterrupted to Honor Yourself
Find a time to be alone and uninterrupted. Then settle back into a meditative state by closing your eyes and counting to yourself five, full, deep, easy breaths.
Write down five things you very much love in your life. Then write down five things you are thankful for in your life.
Allow the Divine to Move You Higher
Write down five things you really hate in your life. Then write down five things you don’t appreciate in your life.
Free Yourself to More Greatly Love
Imagine your sense of the divine moves you beyond what you hate and don’t appreciate in your life – you simply rise far above all of this. Then imagine in this space you are free to more greatly love.
Look down on what you have moved past. How does it look to you?
Create and Share Your Own Abundance
How do you feel through this view about yourself and your life? Record your entire experience through this reflective exercise and whatever insights come to you about how to more greatly love in your life, and to what end.
I wish you well, and more things than you could ever list to be thankful for in your forthcoming life – In light, Marjorie