By: Kyle Elden
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle.
The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
As each day arrives and unfolds it is becoming more and more apparent to me how important it is I realize the only person that is responsible for my happiness, my joy, my experience in life, is ME. Yes, we are impacted by those that surround us and while we don’t necessarily have control over the stressors associated with our family, our job, or others we may have to interface with – we do have control over those we choose to have in our lives – we do have control over how we respond to the difficulties that present – we do have control over the way in which we choose to live our lives, who we choose to spend time with, what we choose to do from day to day, the way in which we invest our time and energy.
This Ayn Rand quote brilliantly outlines this reality. Sometimes we feel hopeless, as if we are waiting for this to change or that to happen – and then, our life will be what we want. I am guilty of this thinking; of treading water and going nowhere hoping that some external factor or person will make some adjustment so I can finally have what it is I want or need to experience the life that is possible. This of course only leads to frustration and disappointment because we can’t wait around for others to change or something to magically happen in life in order for the life we desire to be won. Worse is when we get caught up in thinking something materially obtained will be the fix will bring us happiness and contentment. Not that the comforts or even luxuries of a home or a car are bad; however, what is most important is our spiritual practice and relationship with God and how well we love and are in service to those we care about and the relationships that are important to us – ‘things’ are secondary.
I don’t want to die having not taken the opportunity I’m offered each day of my life to make it what it can be. So how do we do this? I am beginning to recognize it is about being completely present for experience and paying attention to each moment, each interaction we have, each choice we make and what it leads to. Further, sometimes emotions arise – watch and listen to what they are telling you, this is the development of intuition and insight which can lead to transformation if followed from a place of serenity (keeping in mind that good ol’ Serenity Prayer). If you react or repress emotions without having enough distance to understand their message, they can be deceiving. You may fly off the handle or be impulsive and do something you will regret or you may live with a quiet resentment and unhappiness. In yogic philosophy they call this practice being in the “witness” stance. In Christianity it’s being in relationship with Jesus, spending time with God and listening to what it is God wants for you. The United Church of Christ tells us “God is still speaking” and this C.S. Lewis quote outlines how God does speak to us, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The truth is: we are deaf. It’s human nature to be on a constant roller coaster ride with the external stimulus of things and desires and other people, and this drama and that drama pulling us in every which way. The noise and clutter of daily human life can be overwhelming and intoxicating at times; it can become louder and more present than God, than what our soul really seeks to truly be fulfilled. God does share with us (through pleasures, conscience, and pain) about what is in service of enhancing our lives or what is diminishing our lives, or the ways in which we may be diminishing the lives of others. The way in which we respond to these factors is of utmost importance. We at times engage in a warfare; we battle and try to control others or grasp for things or get swept away in unnecessary dramas (I’m great at this ) – we react from an emotionally charged place or repress/deny because it’s so difficult to bear what is before us instead of taking time and practicing being a witness and connecting with God for guidance. I love how Ayn Rand encourages us to “Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” Well, goodness gracious – what are we waiting for?? This reminds me of some yogic philosophy tid bits I’ve been given through yoga training: In each moment/situation one either chooses to stay constricted and stuck or can expand and grow into more; and, we have the choice to either be a creator in our lives or a victim. So, I’m asking myself, what will it be? After all, it’s ultimately up to me!!