Heroes aren’t free from fear; they’re just so focused on a worthy goal that they feel they can’t turn back. Heroes don’t feel special, just dogged. They walk their scary paths with shaky knees and trembling hands. One shaky, trembling step at a time.
Think about whatever you have planned for the next few hours. Would you do this thing if you were currently helping a loved one cross the threshold of death? Will this thing matter to you at all when you’re the one crossing that threshold? If not, stop. Do something that matters in the face of mortality. Living this way makes death a benevolent guide that shows you how to create the best possible life you can have. And doing that brings peace, the peace that matters so much that nothing else can ever compare.
People who don’t resist grief, who let it flow through them, come out more resilient on the other side. They are less afraid of loss, more able to soften the pain of those around them, and quicker to appreciate whatever happiness life brings. Ironically, it is those who have accepted the most terrible grief who are capable of the greatest joy.
~Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star
pathwriter’s note: This article by Martha Beck arrived in my inbox this morning—perfect timing for the current leg of my personal journey, but it also describes so well my inner journey, especially the last few years.
Losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That’s the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you’ve abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart and soul will return home.
It is when all our somethings are collapsing that we may finally turn to nothing, and find there everything we need.
“Empty time is a powerful medicine that can make us more joyful and resilient, but it’s strangely hard to swallow. In our culture, the very word empty has negative connotations: loss, need, desolation, hopelessness. Our ambivalence toward doing nothing creates what psychologists call an approach-avoidance response: We yearn for a powerful source of liberation that is right under our noses, and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it.”
~Martha Beck, “Making Time for Nothing”
To read the entire article…
“Overconnection is my major occupational hazard. My job is all about soulfully linking with others, and this is truly as much fun as I’ve ever had with my clothes on, but after doing this with many people for many hours, I often feel as if I’ve watched ten great movies back-to-back: dazed, frazzled, longing for silent solitude. I’m not up to gracious separation; I need quick-and-dirty ways to save my sanity, right now.” ~Martha Beck
To read Martha’s humorous but wise advice on disconnecting:
I think we’re all born with a set of preferred activities and talents, but more than that, with an inexplicable inner knowledge of the things we are meant to do and be, the changes we are meant to make in the world.
The difference between success and failure isn’t the absence of fear but the determination to pursue your heart’s desire no matter how scared you are.
The Buddha taught that anyone who experiences the delight of being truly generous will never want to eat another meal without sharing it.