Our culture tells us that following our hearts is a dangerous waste of time and energy. That we have to earn our happiness, by doing things we don’t really want to do, by suffering. What if that’s wrong?
Destiny. Mission. Purpose. Karma.
Many different names for that certain solid something; that thing that drives us, that feeling that pulls us. The things we enjoy, the stuff we like, that feeling of happiness. That feels so, so right when we are pointed towards it… that thing that cannot be replaced by any amount of ‘second-best’ — be that money, power, privilege, sex, possessions, travel… That thing that lights us up just thinking about it, that feels amazing, that brings us joy… that thing that, when it is absent, leaves a pain within us, a feeling that things just aren’t… right. It takes tremendous courage to try and put a name to this thing. Sometimes it cannot be named; it’s more of a pull, magnetic; or a direction; or a single point of light, an idea, a navigational aide, something constant and shining, like the North Star. Maybe it’s a feeling, that incredible, peaceful joy that occurs when we’ve found it, and the aching sense of loss when we turn away from it. When we are following that North Star towards our soul’s purpose, our reason for being on this Earth, going in the direction of our destiny, miracles happen. This may sound silly or smarmy or like New Age bullshit… unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Then, you know what I mean; that coincidences start piling up, serendipitous meetings, opportunities, events, big and small, help you along your way. There’s a feeling of magic. There is magic. Some people would consider that just dumb luck, or even convince themselves that they deserve it, that they worked hard, and got what was coming to them. Preparation meets opportunity, am I right?But here’s the thing. As Alison Armstrong points out in The Queen’s Code, if you’ve earned something, then it is a payment, not a gift. If you want to believe that people have to earn everything in this life, you will inevitably find yourself and others coming short, living large on handouts they don’t deserve, because none of us could ever possibly do enough to ‘earn’ the lives of the plants and animals who sustain us as food, or the miracle of oxygen animating and invigorating our cells, or the devotion of parents, or the miracle of life itself. We would all come up short. We would all be found undeserving. And that is a very sad way to look at the world.
— Life is a Gift. —
Those things — food, air, water, family, love, and life itself — they aren’t payment. They’re not our due, for getting good grades and working overtime on weekends; for sacrificing our dreams to work a 9-5, for making our mortgage payments on time and always being faithful. They’re not something that must be earned and that can therefore be taken away, if we don’t do enough, or well enough. When we get sick. When we are working on something that someone else doesn’t value (like that dream, that purpose, for example). Not one of us could possibly earn their keep on this good Earth, if the universe were keeping tabs. Those things are gifts.
Friendship, love, peace, joy, dancing, trees, fresh air, water… all the best things in life, whatever those are to you, those are all gifts. All of the best things in life are. All of life is.