A billion stars go spinning through the night, glittering above your head, But in you is the presence that will be when all the stars are dead. Rainer Maria Rilke
I’m not much into birthdays, but having just celebrated my 75th, I feel I’ve entered into a reverent amazement and deep curiosity phase of my life! Wow! 27,365 days around the sun and counting. But, do I make them count, or am I just doing the same day over and over like the movie Groundhog Day? Staring out my window watching the predawn clouds brings tears to my eyes. What a gift presence is, just being here doing nothing, watching the clouds, listening to the waves rolling in, enjoying just this moment, this breath, this being here. I spent my birthday sitting on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Strait of Georgia with my dog Buddha, meditating, contemplating, and writing. Doing no-thing, witnessing everything. A day well spent!
Covid 19 has brought an expanding stillness, depth, and poignant urgency to life for me. Every day I’m more in touch with the absolute miracle of simply being alive. It’s clear to me that life wants to live, to grow, to connect, and continue to flourish. Such a contrast to the bickering separation, fearful finger-pointing, compulsive consumption, and the folly of acquisition that we humans have been using to numb ourselves. But what is it that causes us to shrink from life, tranquilize ourselves with our addictions, and otherize those who think differently from us and “our people?”? We have become a disconnected civilization, living with the pain of our collective unconsciousness, locked into the stories we made up to protect ourselves from the lack of love and nourishment, we longed for in our childhood. We have become ghosts to our essential goodness.
Adults envy the openhearted and open-minded explorations of children; seeing their joy and curiosity, we pine for our own lost capacity for wide-eyed wonder. Boredom, rooted in a fundamental discomfort with the self, is one of the least tolerable mental states. Gabor Maté
We were not born this way. There was no separation at birth. We were a burst of energy, curiosity, wonder, and connection, a tender seedling in the soil of humanity. What happened to us? Trauma and fearful experiences shaped our worldview, caused us to pull back from our physical, mental, and emotional experiences and seek attachment and validation. It isolated us, restricted our growth, and separated us from the world. This is where we lost touch with our essential goodness. It’s not what happened to us, it’s what’s happened inside of us. It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s cultural and has been handed down, from generation to generation since the human experiment began. We live in a sea of trauma and it has been normalized, accepted as a fragmented reality, dissociated from each other, and the web of life…
We see danger when there isn’t any, and ignore it when it is blatantly in front of us. We are disconnected, dysregulated, and can barely discern our own emotions and body signals while living in a perpetual fog of fear and fantasy. We swim in a sea of shame, doubt, and grasp for relief from our pain. We endlessly search for something that can sedate the eternal longing for what we don’t have and when we get it, it’s never enough. So we sulk, shop, shrink back from the mystery, and live in a shallow world of discontent, disharmony, and decoherence. I’m not talking about you or me here, I'm speaking about us, a species gone mad! WE are at a turning point. If we are to survive these times, we must reconnect with our essential goodness and become a leader in love, connection, and caring in our own life and our community.
The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presencing an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today. C. Otto Scharmer
Being a leader has nothing to do with followers. A true leader is one who has a commitment to discovering truth, honors diversity, recognizes our divine connection with all of life, and is willing to explore uncertainty, move towards and bring attention to physical, emotional, and cognitive tension and dissonance. She does not shrink back from adversity, honors the complexity of living and walks in reverence towards all life. An authentic leader is one who recognizes the dance between attachment and authenticity and honors the brilliance of the body and it’s need for soothing, nurturing, touch, and self-love and is able to give herself the tenderness that was absent in her childhood.
There is no heaven “up there”. It is right here in this beautiful earth garden we call home. There is no “original sin”, but there is “essential goodness” in each and every one of us. Sometimes we have to look deeply, past the trauma, neglect, and outward appearances. Whatever upsets you about others is happening in you. How will you meet the upset, disappointment, and cruelty of the world? By going deeper and finding the constriction within, the disowned and fragmented parts of ourselves. When we meet the disappointments, and disillusions in ourselves with compassion and love, the world around us begins to shift, the space for new possibilities and opportunities open. Can we cultivate the wonder, curiosity, and creative genius that we were born into, that has simply been frozen in time, waiting for you to reclaim your birthright?
Truly, I say unto you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus of Nazareth
It’s not the world “out there” in the future that needs our attention.When we care for our inner-life, the world around us transforms. The future is always now, it emerges from the way we meet the world, the love we bring to life, and the way we recognize and cultivate our relationship with each moment. This is the greatest predictor of what will happen next. Which will we choose, the truth of the eternal moment or the hope of a mythical savior who will magically appear to save us, and bring salvation to our lost souls? It is a question to live into, to deepen and explore.
Our bodies have a vast intelligence, hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have brought us to this moment. We have survived plagues, famines, climate change, war, and every manner of atrocity. Our brilliant nervous systems knew when to shut down when life became too much. Now we are in a rite of passage, the survival of life on earth is at stake. Will we wake up to our essential goodness or drift off in a somnambulant cloud of discontent, disconnection, and delusion? Let’s make every day, every moment count, celebrate a perpetual birthday, filled with truth, wonder, curiosity, and presence… May we know the truth that surpasses all understanding.
With love and trust in you and life, Michael & the Well of Light Team
Our reverence for life’s preciousness and fragile beauty is our gift to the universe … to see it, to feel the moment, to speak it, to celebrate its truth. Brian Swimme