“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White
For much of my life, I’d felt a deep urge to help others…but it never seemed like I was doing enough. I believed that life was a long, narrow, uphill, climb toward some place of perfection where I would finally be in my right place, doing my right work, at the right time; a place where I’d finally know who I was and why I was here. I struggled for years to get to this place, yet it always seemed out of reach. Rest was not an option on this path.
During these years of struggle, I was incredibly self-concerned, but I didn’t realize it. I thought that my striving was noble, not selfish. I assumed that harsh self-examination was the path to improvement…and god knows, I believed that I needed to be improved. But God didn’t “know” this. This wasn’t a Divine path. The constant thoughts of how I could be a better person, do more for the world, and become happier, were fueled by ego.
When I began to lighten up, which meant stopping critical thoughts about others and myself, I noticed that people around me changed and reflected this light back to me. I saw that I didn’t so much have to do something but I needed to stop doing/thinking the things that separated me from who I really was/am: Love.
I don’t mean to suggest that I never have a critical thought about myself, or other people, anymore. I have plenty of them, but I am much more aware of these thoughts as invitations to a fight; they are seductive; they call to me with feelings of anger, righteous indignation, resentment, and revenge. They tell me that I am better than other people. They tell me that I’ve been wronged. They tell me that there is a right and a wrong (I’m usually the right/virtuous one) and I must choose my side and fight for it, or banish the other one. They masquerade as strength, but in reality, if I believe them, I become their victim.
I’ve been declining a lot of these invitations lately and in their place, choosing to see what is right with a person (including myself), situation, event, or memory. Several days ago, I was thinking about one of the people currently running for president, and how easy, and almost fun, it is to blast this person. So, again, I noticed this and asked myself, “What is there to love about this person?” We are one. He/she is a part of my consciousness at some level. It wasn’t hard to answer the question, it only required giving up my desire to criticize and condemn.
So, what will I do today, save or savor the world? I think that I’ll just be myself. I will Love it/me/them/us and I will allow that Love to flow back to me.