There comes a moment when you somehow know that you’ve been living a life that’s smaller than you are. It’s different for each one of us, but if we pay attention, we know we’ll never be the same again. Maybe you met someone new, or saw someone in a new way. Maybe you heard something said with words that sunk deeply into your heart before your mind could stop it. Maybe the sun shown through the trees in just the right way. Whatever it is, you’re different now.
That moment feels crazy awesome. You feel big and open. Safe and happy. You want to feel this way forever. But it doesn’t work that way. These glimpses are gifts, meant to encourage expansion. The rest is up to us. Now that I’ve felt this way, what am I going to do about it?
I know I’ve had many of those moments where the universe breaks through, I just also know I don’t always pay attention. I’m often distracted by my fears, my programmed responses, and even my own hopes and dreams. But a few years ago I had one that made a permanent mark. It broke through and stuck.
I went to a personal and professional coaching program in Los Angeles. One hundred sixty participants and I spent three days looking deeply into our own lives and the lives of each other armed with the tools of transformation. I met people from all over the world, from all walks of life, and with all sorts of what we thought were problems. By the end of the program, we didn’t have problems. We had possibilities.
I fell in love with humanity during that program. Deeply in love. And when I came home, I saw everything differently. When I talked to people at the store I really talked to them. When I listened to people talk about their day I really heard them. When I had a long and difficult day at work I could see it for what it was and I could create better outcomes. When I was at church I could see where my beliefs came from and how they were showing up for myself and for those around me. It wasn’t magic. It was just reality. It showed me all of the things that had been holding me back. And it came with an invitation to be someone new.
I don’t always know what that looks like. I guess letting myself be more aware and willing to act on the moments as they come is the best I know how to do. And along with all of this is a feeling that I am enough. The best I know how to do is enough. Just being more aware and willing is enough. The invitation to be someone new doesn’t mean I have to take on new projects or spend more time or energy doing this or that, it just means living. Really living. Being human with other humans. Seeing them. Seeing me.
The result isn’t just a more settled feeling of my own value, and the worth of every soul, it’s also a deeper connection to Jesus. He saw people. He really saw them. There was no man-made rule or standard or law that could contain the way love flowed through him. He was bigger than that. And when I sit in all of this like he did, I feel bigger too.
I can’t go back. I have bad days just like everyone else, but now that I’ve seen what’s possible I know I’m not going to stay in my bad days. I sit. I breathe. I wait, but not with the expectation that it will pass. I let it be exactly what it is and I wait with no judgement. This is freedom. And I can’t not see others as radiant beings who were created free too.
Thomas Merton wrote in his journal about an experience he had like this while standing on a street corner surrounded by bustling shoppers. He saw something beyond the life he had been living, and it gave him the chance to look back on his monasticism with clarity.
I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. The whole illusion of separate holy existence is a dream… The sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being human, a member of a race in which God himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and the stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
I guess that’s what I’m trying to do here with this blog. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen. And I can’t ignore wanting to tell everyone. You’re walking around shining like the freakin’ sun, and I want to tell you about it!
So, I tell you about myself. I tell you about what I’m learning, things I’m reading, experiences I’m having, and I hope that if you know these things can happen then maybe you’ll believe they can happen to you. And maybe the next time the universe breaks through, you’ll let it hit you like the force that it is.
You’ll let it change you. You won’t be afraid, because you’ll know you’re not alone. You’ll have your moment when you realize you’ve been living a life that’s smaller than you are. And you’ll be free to live into it.