We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.--Joseph Campbell
Do you remember the scene in the movie The Natural, when Robert Redford is lying in a hospital bed, sick, discouraged, and about to give up? It's the last game in the play-offs and he's not there because he's been poisoned by the woman he thought he loved. Glenn Close, his childhood sweetheart, comes to visit him. Bob's feeling pretty sorry for himself. The doctor's told him that he can't ever play baseball again. But baseball is his life. He's thirty-nine years old and he's just made it to the majors. "I believe we have two lives," Glenn tells him. "The life we learn with and the life we live after that."
Well, she's right, as we've been learning up till now on the Simple Abundance path. And what have we learned? That there are only two classes in the University of Life. Over one door the sign reads: "Heaven on Earth." Over the other: "Seminar on Understanding the Mechanics of How Heaven Works."
The first course is a hands-on work/study program. We live Real Life. Honest.
The other course is an intellectual seminar. We try to figure out how we can manipulate real life, with a little metaphysical mumbo jumbo. Maybe.
Every morning we're given the opportunity to choose which class it will be for the next twenty-four hours: Real Life or real life? In each class, there will be unexpected pop quizzes. Some of us are not given advance notice of when the final exam is scheduled; some students are more fortunate. There's no way of knowing which group we're in.
"On this narrow planet, we have only the choice between two unknown worlds," Colette instructs us. "One of them tempts us - ah! what a dream, to live in that! - the other stifles us at the first breath."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy©1995
ResolutionsIn this world without quiet corners, there can be no easy escapes... from hullabaloo, from terrible, unquiet fuss.--Salman Rushdie
Here's my New Year's Resolution list. It is intended to help me to focus on that which has become most important during this last year. It has been a year of changes and growth, and seems to only accelerate into more of the same, rather that giving me rest and refreshment here at the end of it. It has been most difficult for me, as I am sure it is for you, to accept the fact that once I have learned something which can have a positive force in my life or the lives of those around me, I am responsible for that knowledge. I am responsible, not just for keeping the idea in my head, but for acting upon it, for using that knowledge as a focus for choices that I make, no matter which way I choose. I can choose the high road or the low. I can help my higher self to grow, or I can give in to my lower self. But either way, I cannot say that I just didn't know. Because I do. So, here's the list:
Carve out an hour a day for solitude.
Begin and end the day with prayer, meditation, reflection.
Temper honesty with wisdom and understanding.
Keep it simple.
Pick up after myself.
Strive for realistic deadlines.
Never make a promise I can't keep.
Always carry something interesting to read.
Breathe - deeply and often.
Look for the lesson in every experience.
Drink more water, lots of it.
Be instead of do.
Take one day off per week for rest and renewal.
Laugh more often.
If I don't love it, I will live without it.
Stop trying to please everybody; Start pleasing myself.
Stay away from negative people.
Stop squandering precious resources: time, creative energy, emotion.
Approach problems as challenges.
Choose kindness as a first reaction.
Honor my aspirations.
Set achievable goals.
Create boundaries, and enforce them.
Trust that now is the time.
Ask the questions, and be open to the answers.
Become the curator of my own contentment.
Exchange security for serenity.
Care for my soul.
Cherish my dreams.
Express love every day.
There truly are no quiet corners or easy escapes. The next year will be what it will be, for you and I. In the meantime, it will be three hundred sixty-five bright mornings and starlit evenings; fifty-two promising weeks; twelve transformative months full of beautiful possibilities; and four splendid seasons. Another simply abundant year to be savored.
I will be quoting from varied sources during the next year: Until Today! by Iyanla Vanzant, The Journey to Simple Abundance for Men by Michael Segell, and More Language of Letting Go by Melodie Beatte. I recommend the acquisition of these books for further reading. I will also be jotting down my thoughts and sharing those quotes which have inspired me, as always. I wish to thank those of you who have visited Friday's Inspiration this year, individually and collectively. Without your support and encouragement, without the sharing of love and ideas, we would all be in the dark. May all the blessings that are your due come to you in their time!
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