Thursday, August 21, 2008

Riding the Wave - Again

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.
Henry David Thoreau

This article appeared in the Daily OM a year ago, and found it interesting to read again as a reminder. Once again, the flow of the Universe is carrying me to a new place. The UFP plant that had hired my services last spring was told by corporate last week that it was closing it down because of the bad economy and to protect shareholders - and share prices. The plant closure is putting a 150 people on the street in a community of 1,800 and will be felt by many other business's and families in the area. So...once again....I will be riding the wave to see where it will take me. In the past, I have restricted my search to 160 miles of where I call home. I need to release my concept of "home" and search farther afield. In the meantime, I shall be wave riding!

The Flow of the Universe
The flow of the universe moves through everything. It is in the rocks that form, get pounded into dust, and are blown away. It is in the blossoming of a flower born from a seed planted in the spring. The growth cycle that every human being goes through is part of this natural flow, which is also the current that takes us down life’s paths. When we move with it rather than resisting it, we are riding on the universal wave that allows us to flow with life.

Many people live struggling against this current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening in the way they think it should. Others move with it like a sailor using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times. This flow is accessible to everyone because it travels through and around us. We are always riding it—it is just a matter of whether we are willing to go with it or we resist it. Choosing to go with the flow is often a matter of relinquishing the notion that we need to be in control at all times.

The flow is always transporting you where you need to go. It is merely a question of deciding whether you plan on accepting the ride or having it take you there with your feet dragging. Learning to step into it can help you feel a connection to a force that is greater than you and is always there to support you. The decision to go with the flow takes courage because you are surrendering the belief that you need to do everything by yourself. Riding the flow of the universe can be effortless, exhilarating, and unlike anything you ever expected. When you are receptive to being in it, you open yourself to possibilities that exist beyond the grasp of your control.

As a child, you were naturally swept by the flow. Tears of sadness falling down your face could just as quickly turn to tears of laughter. The mere tiniest wave carrying you forward off the shores of the ocean could transport you into peals of delight.

Our souls feel good when we go with the flow of the universe. All we have to do is make the choice to ride its currents.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Risking your Life

So, I've been remembering this story….

In the story, a game was played. The players sat in a circle and clapped in rhythm. Then, in time with the beat, one player threw two knives across the circle, to be caught and passed on by another player. This was, as you can imagine, very dangerous and sometimes bad things happened. A person new to the culture was trying to understand just why lives would be risked in what was, after all, just a game. He was told, “We play the game to deserve to live.” It's make believe, of course, kind of a fairy tale. Still, even fairy tales can teach us something.

Personally, I think about that some of the time. To live your life, every now and then you need to risk your life.

I'm not talking about risking your life by mountain climbing, bungee jumping or any other such foolishness. My kids do that for me. I realize this puts me outside the mainstream of American life, but I've never understood the need for manufactured thrills and artificial challenges. For me, getting out of bed in the morning and dealing with the rest of the world has always been enough to keep my pulse pounding.

In the early 80’s risking my life once meant placing myself between an angry knife wielding husband and his terrified wife took a form of courage I am told. Funny, I do not remember being brave that night, all I saw was a wrong and someone needed to step in. I saw and heard what was happening, I did what was needed, not realizing until later what had happened.

No, what I'm saying is that to truly deserve your life, you need to live your life, and that means taking chances. Scary ones. Really scary ones! I'm talking about falling in love, following your passion, fulfilling your promises, taking a stand. I'm talking about taking your beating heart in your hand and throwing it across the room, to someone who may or may not catch it.

Yeah, baby, that's some scary stuff, isn't it? Makes a hike up the side of Mount Everest look downright relaxing.

When I see the sort of things that go on in our country, from extreme sports to the hell bent pursuit of more…stuff… to the endless macho posturing of rap singers and politicians, it makes me think there's something horribly phony about all of it. I think all these tough guys are only play acting, pretending to be tough because under it all, they're just terrified at the thought of what's really lurking out there. It is easier to face down a physical fear that looking the fool for falling in love and possibly retrieving a broken heart.

You want scary? I'm no big fan of heights, but I'd hang off the edge of a mountain by my fingernails before I'd take another midnight trip to the hospital with an eight month old who couldn't breathe. You want to talk about tough? I know, you're thinking about football players or action movie stars. Forget it – I've seen tough. Tough is the police officer in Sioux Falls delivering news to a newly widowed wife, informing her that her husband would not be coming home that Saturday night or ever again. That day was the couple’s 1st year anniversary and the 1st day in their new home and she was due to give birth any day. They had just spent the day planting trees in the yard for their future.

Determined may be Lance Armstrong peddling up the Alps, but I guess I'd have to vote for the old lady with the bad hip who works brutally hard in therapy so she can park her walker and hang onto her independence just one more time. It's a fight she'll lose, eventually, but she'll never surrender.

To live your life you need to risk it. And that means taking the chances that make us whole human beings.

If you're going to live your life, live it all the way. Face your fears and throw that someone special - your heart. You just may be surprised! Otherwise, what's the point?