This morning I have a bold proposition for you. But let me back up. We hear so much bad news. We see such incomprehensible violence, against self, against other, violence as entertainment, violence against Life. I don’t know about you but it is possible for me to feel despair and hopelessness. But let me tell you what I think I’ve learned after 47 years. Despair and hopelessness are ego. They are not soul. They are not feelings. They are imposed states of mind. In order for us to feel despairing or hopeless we must make judgments about the way things are. About the way we are. Once we start down this road, we often lose our capacity to hear what it is we are here to do.
Now, grief...that gorgeous uniquely mammalian wild way our soul has of feeling grateful and heartbroken at the same time...represents our longing. Grief, gratitude and longing are the soul’s most powerful dream team. These three get us out of bed in the morning, but only if we listen to the body and don’t allow our egos to rush in and suffocate our soul with....you got it....despair.
The only thing that is ours to do is create offerings of our lives, lives of substance that are organized in such a way that we may shine; shine with our particular genius. (Yes, we have to have a kick-ass survival dance, as Bill Plotkin puts it. But we cannot let the survival dance distract us, or worse yet, become us.) Knowing what our gifts are takes work: discipline, devotion and more love than seems possible (luckily there is an infinite supply of love in this finite universe). Offering our gifts takes courage; beyond imaginable amounts of courage (courage is an inside job so we can make as much as we want). It’s really all we’re here to do. But NOT offering our gifts is its own particular hell on earth. We all know this. Not being used up by Life is its own impossible damnation.
All along the process of this, this path to our own becoming, the ego plays a critical role...as the ensign to the soul. ”Make it so Number One!” says the soul to the ego. We can choose to ignore this urgency, this longing. But that’s simply hubris and insecurity. These are products of an ego that has not been put to good work. If we get stuck here we’ve let the ego run the show. It’s a choice as plainly as eating a snickers bar or an apple. It’s that straight forward. It is the act of exercising one particular muscle over another. Nothing more or less. Just a choice.
So this morning I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude for all of you who have sent messages from the front lines of your own genius, those who were inspired by my deal here, to make your own extraordinary offerings. I am overwhelmed by the number of people who have heard their own longing and love and jumped into (or back into) their own unique and gorgeous novena.
And I am moved to make an invitation, which could be received as a challenge...why don’t all of you who are reading, who have been moved to make offerings (once, daily, weekly, monthly...doesn’t matter), send me the url or an image or the words themselves. I will create an anything-but-virtual altar to the ineffable spirit that moves through us humans, that would have us writing poetry, painting, dancing, singing until 3am. That would have us tap dancing in grand central station at rush hour. That would cause us to gather fallen feathers to create sculptures. Imagine the reminder, the love letter, this would be to all those who can’t quite muster the muscle to make the choice, who haven’t quite learned how to listen to their soul’s wild longing, or who did listen once, but were distracted by a louder scarier voice.
This virtual altar would be the definition of Beauty. Let’s try it. When you’re ready, I’m here. And the Earthquake Man will build us a website to house these offerings. And the elkhound will howl...