There are moments in each of our lives when the world seems to echo the same message for us:
“Your life is your practice.”
Working with people in spiritual direction, I’ve witnessed how many of us want to revert to what now seems like a simpler life. Many would like to be a young adult again when life is full of possibilities. Others look nostalgically at the years when their children were young, work had meaning and they had a vision of where they were going and what they would have once they ‘arrived’.
Looking back may be entertaining and seductive, but more than likely we have forgotten all the challenges life in each of those stages held. And, looking backward can keep us from being present to what needs to be dealt with now in order to move forward.
Looking fondly back at younger days doesn’t help the man whose job held such promise only to find the corporation he had invested his hopes and dreams in was down-sizing. When these hopes and dreams are dashed, how does one live? We live through the practice of life, which is deeply personal on every level – emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, spiritually. We reach interiorly for strength and reach out for support.
I can only imagine the devastation of parents whose child died through a drowning or an accident or even through childbirth. How does one live through such loss? One day at a time, one tear at a time, one movement of love to others in the family and opening to receive love in return is the practice.
Major heath challenges can arrive at any stage of life. We can’t go back before the diagnosis but we can move forward. We can resent the illness and all we now need to do to support our body or we can allow all there is within us and around us to face the illness and its implications. Our life is truly our practice!
The truth through all of life is that no matter what we encounter in living, challenges come to us asking us to trust that there is a new vision that awaits us through perseverance. This new vision is born from love: love of self, love of what we have lost, and love of what awaits us through a power greater than any of us. This power —this love— flows through us into a world that awaits our transformation.
As you move through August with all the challenges you may need to face, may you hear in your heart “I am with you always.” “You are precious in my eyes and I love you.”