Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Walk: Part IID

Poetry & Encounter
A cadence of experience, a rhythm of expression formed by graceful attentiveness.

Everything Belongs

At first, my thinking faltered and paused at great length as I tried to mentally grasp the true meaning of everything belongs. To say that everything belongs is not to say that “everything” is okay. That is clearly not a truth. Evil is still a contradiction to good, and hate is still a contradiction to love; and true contradictions are part of reality just as paradoxes−two seemingly opposing sides of one truth−are part of reality.

Many years ago, while still in the corporate world, I sat down to compose, for the first time, a life mission statement. While there is more to it than this, the short version is, To Love, Serve, and Understand. It is not to understand first. There is for me an order and a rhythm.

Stephen Covey wrote about seeking first to understand before being understood. I agree, and for me this occurs in love. But when I move understand to the first note, by a controlling need, I break the rhythm, and understanding is no longer an outcome of my intent. I will no longer be drawn toward my purpose, and as such I become distracted from the beautiful movement of expectation to graceful anticipation.

My inherent need to understand is not in itself bad, for it is a gift. When this need gets in the way it is because I allow the gift to be misplaced in the rhythm, thus converting it from gift to a want of control. Attaching mind and/or heart to any false expectation begins to distort the possibilities available within a present, graceful attentiveness. False expectations give way to unnecessary judgment and assessment that distracts attention away from our steps.

It has taken me quite a long time to open my thinking and understand the damage dualistic thinking can inflict, and it’s been a journey to reduce the times I think and act from such a divisive way of seeing anything. To acknowledge and accept the totality of experience, including one’s own shadow, and to learn to hold it all without the need to judge, is to know the spirit of everything belongs. Everything belongs on your path, in the context where learning and experience combine to make us better at our art.

Seeing Clearly

Remaining in the flow connected by your own rhythm is how you sustain the influence of your impact. Your impact is the story of your reach into the world, your art.

I have written about Priya before. She is a person who is energized by external focus, drawn to do then be in the action, validated by her results-oriented intent. As is so easy to do, she gets locked into the mode of a key strength, like getting things done, overusing the strength and therefore opening herself up to the lie of limitation that opposes the strength.

She was capitulating to the lie when she stated that she was not creative. In listening to such, she could not see the art given her, deep within, since the beginning. So from what I know of her Trueness, and hearing the truth in her words, I assembled definitions for her.

Priya’s creativity, in her own words: “I’m looking for people who are thinking about the strategy of it, creating collaboration, and then executing.”

Priya’s art is opening the path to Fullness (from her voice of Integrity) – slowing down, looking at the colors on the palette available in the moment, then influencing others to both see and paint with what they have, while also creating the confidence to go after what is yet needed to complete the picture.

Spoken or unspoken, you’ve been given a voice, with its own unique expression. This voice calls you out and pulls you forward as you walk your path. Your voice is rhythmically freed in the mission you’ve been given for both personal purpose and impact in this world.

A danger found within the lie of expectation is when we create the need to know the full course of the path. The danger is real and present in the knowing. As David Whyte puts it, if you see such a path laid out clearly before you, it’s probably someone else’s. We deform true experience along the way by judging, assessing, separating, or trying to control anything (or anyone). All are dualistic distractions created by expectation.

You may have heard it said, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. But as the ready student, how often is the teacher appearing from within? More often than we realize, the teacher we need resides within and is one in the same as our true, creative, artistic self.

Encouraged first from inside or first from outside, in the balance of both we have courage to walk into the beauty of everything−all that is reality. To continue a steady walk takes internal focus and external validation, not one or the other, but both. Those energized first by internal focus are driven to be and then do what is good and right and aligned, or validated, by their desire. Those energized first by external focus are drawn to do then be in the action in a way that is good and right and aligned, or validated, by their intent.

We know by experience the power of our own Trueness, and we know through experience the Trueness of another; but only as we know both, present since the beginning.

The View from Here

It is what it is,
a reality, that can only be
forgiven.

And in the forgiving
one is delivered,
invariably graced,
into one’s own walk.

A desire inherent, deep within,
seeded with purpose
in the ground of Trueness,
must be encouraged
toward its intention, steadily.

And in the steadiness
of encouragement,
internally and externally,
one can hold, together
what is good, what is right,
and release voice
into the experience
of everything.

Now, one knows
by experience.
Now, one sees
through experience.

And at the pinnacle
of what is,
the view,
sweetness.

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Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Walk: Part IIB

Poetry & Encounter
A cadence of experience, a rhythm of expression formed by graceful attentiveness.

Graceful Attentiveness

Reality, too, is conflict neutral. You may have heard it said, in response to some situation or another; “It is what it is.” This is often said in resignation, a throwing up of the spiritual hands as one gives up totally, or it can be a simple acceptance of what is, in the moment. A peaceful center can accept reality. It is not giving up or giving in. Rather, it is one’s attention magnified by grace.

In conversation with a friend, Ericka was sharing about our work together, and about what she was learning about herself. Her friend made a statement about a particular personality profile, sharing her type and stating that she and Ericka were just alike. The truth is, Ericka’s profile and her friend’s profile are completely different.

Her friend is more on the introverted side of things, gives great energy to process and detail, and tends more toward perfectionism, doing things in the right way. Ericka is more extraverted, direct, decisive, and clear, driven to get the right things done. The friend sees Ericka similar to herself because of grace; Ericka’s energy focused on this core relationship and loving her friend as she centers the best of who she is.

I can only imagine how this friend looks forward with eagerness to being in Ericka’s graceful presence, their differences coming together and belonging.

The Lie of Expectation

It is quite embarrassing as I think about it, how often I allow some expectation to tell me a lie. I’m not referring to a presupposition imposed from some external source. I’ve become rather skilled at silencing those. More so, I point toward a self-inflicted conjecture that strays from reality.

To pay attention void of grace is to tell oneself a lie.

In the petri dish of falsity, internal violence can develop in the cultures of false expectation, judgment, and comparison. When left too long to culture, and then uncovered, the spoiled combination spreads infected messages that have nothing to do with who one is in reality.

When I launched out on my own in this work that called me, I entered with a piece of expectation-baggage; anyone in this line of work must publish a book, and quickly. So, as I thought authors do, I committed time early in the morning and began to write. This expectation, with its falsity tormenting my thinking, led me through two false starts in attempting to create a manuscript. Later, upon finding my voice and my own writing process, I looked back on what had been written during those mornings. It was useless to what I was then composing in-voice, but quite necessary in getting me to that point.

When I find a wonderful writer, I read a lot of what he or she writes. While I love studying style in these skilled writers, I know I’ve had to find my own way; my own rhythm with pen and page that allows my voice flow in composing. I consequently let go of the goal of being an author and embraced the diligent duty of being a writer.

The Truth of Grace

Recently in my personal journal, I found myself expressing a need to be validated as a writer. At first it was unclear as to the source of this expressed need. Then it was time to write about the lie of expectation. It then occurred to me that I was again allowing some expectation, or set of expectations, to pronounce a wholesale judgment on me as a writer.

Four books later, and this one in progress, my methodology is still evolving and teaching me in the process. It took much practice, pain, and persistence to clear my thinking and free the writer I am. My personal journaling assured me that I am the writer I’m intended to be, and the same practice, pain, and persistence will continue with only the objective of making me better at the craft. I begin most mornings with my journal. Quite often in that time I find myself simply sitting in gratitude. Is gratitude part of grace, or at least a mark of grace? I think so. And grace is much more free to flow the more I can stay on the path with my walk.

If we are not careful, not taking enough guard to refuse false expectation digresses from our path, we allow damaging interruption to the steadiness of our walk. To know everything belongs is to have come to a confident stand, and to know a more secure and steady walk on our own path. It becomes a way of being with reality, of being less distracted by any particular want of a reality other than the one we have. Wanting a reality other than the one in front of us can freeze us in a moment of real need and keep us from doing what is good and right to do in the reality of unique encounter.

Gratitude and grace are marks of a contemplative leader. This leader can confidently stand in the middle, see things without a need to separate and judge, and walk steadily with the staff of reality; blessed by the wonders expressed in the truth of poetry and the experience of encounter.

Grace and gratitude make you stronger. Freedom is nourished by the acknowledgement of specific blessings in your walk. A litany of gratitude helps you remain aware of life & living as good things gather and unfold−and this is grace. The confidence needed for traveling the path is increased by consciously consistent praise for every event and connection.

Unconjectured

Stepping from life into living,
from internal to external,
soul flowing toward others.

Stepping from life into living,
deeply encouraged
by the fitting together,
all things working together
for good, if but allowed.

From expectation to graceful anticipation,
Trueness navigating turn and toil.

Seeing past falsity
and into the soul,
courage grows in each encounter,
holding the paradox of being
human and divine.

Reality clears a path,
a way of being true.

Attention now given,
grace within relationship,
grace within the flow.