An Ode to This Great, Adventurous Life
The stars are alive at the edge of the world, the edge of reason. Consider the vastness of the Universe. The expansiveness of the human soul. And beyond.
There is a continual opportunity to savor – an opportunity that re-arises for us again and again. And with it comes an instant forgiveness for the past moments we’ve lost, and a welcoming to try again. No judgment. Just the intermittent cycle of forgiveness and new potential.
You always have a choice. It’s the most powerful thing about being a human being that sets us apart from all other forms of life. The power to choose. It literally can’t not be there. And the best part is, you can’t make a wrong choice. Each choice simply provides you with contrast. So anytime you choose something and you deem it to be “wrong,” consider that it’s not. It just presented you with an example of something that you don’t want. Use that example to look at the opposite, and see what it is that you’ve now learned that you do want. And take the next step forward in that direction.
Forgiveness is the key to healing. People often think that forgiveness means letting the person that hurt you off the hook for what they did. Or that it means you’re saying that the thing that happened was ok. That’s not true. Forgiveness is for the forgiver. It means acknowledging that something that hurt you happened. And that in the moment, inside your forgiveness, what you’re really saying is that you’re no longer going to let that experience have power over you any more. Forgiveness means letting go of all hope for a better past.
Getting right with the pace of change is the fastest way to peace. Change is the only constant in this world. When we want things to change, it can’t happen fast enough. When we don’t, it happens in an instant. Find peace in knowing this:
“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”1
Dare to get in the arena. Ask questions. Stop reading after the second chapter. Make your own rules, and then break them. Find your own way.
Listen to people who have what you want. Don’t listen to people who don’t play by the same rules you do. Look to other authorities for advice, but consider that if it doesn’t feel good to you, it might not be true. Remember that you’re the only authority over your own life.
Be the boy who,
when you’re too far from town to learn baseball,
and your only play is what you find yourself, even should you be playing alone.
One by one, subdue the birch trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until you take the stiffness out of them,
leaving not one left
for you to conquer.2
Mostly, more than anything, just start. Make a mess. Fail. Try again. Stop when it doesn’t feel good anymore. It’s the ones who sit on the sidelines, who never get in the game, that miss out on the big adventures of This Great Adventurous Life.
In the end, after all,
“One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”2
1Max Erhmann, Desiderata, 1952
2 Robert Frost, Birches, 1916