For the past few weeks I’ve been in Florida visiting friends, family and even my old house. It’s been nearly two years since I sold most of my stuff and drove away from the life I once had. Sitting in front of the place that used to be home felt peaceful: I could remember living there, but it also felt like I no longer knew the person who called that house “home”. I thought about what was ahead for the girl who drove off 23 months ago.
She had no idea…
We truly can’t fathom what is possible. The limits of our imagination are always there. Thankfully the seed of realizing “I do not know” had been planted. What a gift… Lots of thankfulness and gratitude for the cosmic nudge out of the nest and into the beautiful unknown.
We say anything is possible, though there is often an edge. Here is what I see now: The edge is an illusion. The goals, dreams and wishes we have are just the point at which our humanness can’t conceive what lies beyond. This is the imaginary limit. Truth is: something always lies beyond. We get glimpses into the invisible and then new limits are born. What we see moves the edge. This is life. Some might say we are learning, growing and creating. Though what if it’s not creating at all? What if we are merely discovering what already is?
What if through our goals, the illusionary edges of our imagination show themselves to the world? It seems the more we are taught about the limits of what is possible and how things work, the more firm the illusion is.
Imagine a kid (who’s never seen a coral reef or even a fish) on a boat looking down into the sea on a choppy day. He can see green, blue and maybe even a streak of bright color every now and then. He can imagine what might be under the surface, but he really has no idea. The water’s rough surface is the limit. What if someone tried to describe for him what was under the surface using only words? Or, what if someone who had never seen a coral reef tried to describe to him what sea life is? What if the kid took those descriptions as reality?
Now place a piece of glass on the surface so he can see clearly through to what is below… a whole new world, a world seen with fresh eyes. Take it one step further and let him dive in with a snorkeling mask, swim with a lionfish, feel seagrass tickle his bare chest and touch the surface of a sand dollar… Then what happens to reality?
Could beliefs confine us? And might the ensuing goals limit us?
Beliefs tend to be passed down via texts, stories, or witnessing people live. It seems the fortunate ones have been blind and/or awakened. Their awareness seems to be less cluttered and emptier (but empty in a great way): like a vacant vessel waiting to be filled by the infinite river of all that is… roused by the unknown and thirsty for truth in the gentlest of ways.
Many vessels are congested by stories and instruction taken as truth. We trust people and rule books for life. Some have been written by those that think they know or with interests not befitting the whole. The edges seem so firm and limits so distinct. In this space, imagination can be caged like a bird within a mesh made of thought and words.
In a recent session in my Coddiwomple Group Program, we were discussing the freedom and possibilities that might be there if we all had amnesia and forgot everything we knew. What if we didn’t know what we liked or didn’t like? What if we didn’t know enough to have expectations or judgements about anyone or anything? What if we had no preconceived ideas?
There was a silence and I loved watching all the expressions and wondering looks as the group considered this deeper and deeper.
One of the group members spoke up, saying she had actually lived through this: Twice!! Due to medical conditions, she had lost all of her memory and didn’t recognize anyone or even know her own name. She described it as so peaceful and nice. She wasn’t afraid. She was seeing everything fresh and anew. It was gorgeous to feel the lightness and curiosity in her story. She shared that she had been a serious chain smoker and it was months after the amnesia before she remembered that she used to smoke… she saw things so different after “forgetting everything” that her life fundamentally changed in many ways (and as a bonus she’s never wanted to smoke again!).
What if there are no limits? What if we all could begin to see through our concepts, beliefs and ideas? What if we began to see everything with fresh eyes?
A simple example for me is this: I used to think I was shy, nervous, and didn’t like speaking in front of a crowd. In December of 2015 I went to my first networking event. I sweated through my shirt and felt so self-conscious that when it was time to introduce myself to the group(15-20 people) I stumbled, stuttered and only used 15 of my allowed 30 seconds before abruptly ending the intro (and wishing I could magically disappear). The next day I sought help for public speaking. My goal was to one day introduce myself to a networking group without sweat rings and stuttering. Now it is astoundingly different, not because I learned to be tougher, but because of seeing something deeper.
As we see more, the limits begin to wane and our experience shifts. I have lost control in a beautiful way. I’ve begun to realize that I only thought I was in charge. It seems we are the river of life and the more I see about that, the more I am surprised by the beauty of what is. This feels exhilarating and freeing at the same time. Realizing “I don’t know” has been a beautiful gift. Fear, worry and expectations have melted away. The voice in my head is quieter than it has ever been and what’s left is more simplicity… and as a bonus I completely enjoyed closing an international conference with only minor sweating 🙂
Although, it wasn’t all easy: What I haven’t often shared were the tough times early on in my journey… lots of loneliness, mixed with regret and misunderstanding. Often life taught through people… Even if only for a moment we exchanged words, a smile or a quick hello. It was all a part of the greater understanding.
Then life over and over lured me far away from any humans: Into the forest, on mountain tops and far out in deserts. In these quiet places so much was seen. This is where I metaphorically dove in like a kid with a snorkeling mask.
One thing that is very obvious: it was all a gift. I often wonder how I got here and know it wasn’t me.
Looking back it is all so clear… The puzzle pieces were being laid out all along and are already there now (even if we don’t realize it). So often we don’t know “why” things happen the way they do. Though there is something special that happens deep down when we can relax into knowing that we don’t know. It seems in the realization of this the edges of our imagination soften and our walk becomes more purposeful, yet gentle. We walk in the present knowing that is all there is, yet delightfully hopeful of what is to come.
Every moment is like a gift under the tree of life, wrapped since the infinite beginning. What’s inside is unknown until it’s not… though it is a gift, whatever it may be.
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