If I’m being honest, I’m not doing that great. I woke up this morning with a swollen eyelid – not eyelids plural, just the one – I haven’t slept well for the better part of two weeks, I’m so tired my ears are ringing, and I’m pretty sure I’ll bite someone’s head off if they look at me funny. I mention all that because I’d like to normalize the not-so-pretty states that go along with being human. It’s not possible to be authentically sunshine and roses every moment of every day. Just acknowledging this is my present reality I’ve noticed my breathing has deepened, which is a sure sign of relaxation.

I also mention all of this not in a quest for solutions because I already have plenty of those. What I don’t have plenty of is acceptance of what’s here – my cranky mood, my hurting body, my irritating situation.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that metaphorically speaking I’m living in a hallway, meaning I’m waiting on what’s next. I’m still living in a hallway. Nothing has changed yet and it’s frustrating. I know that eventually this period of my life will be a distant memory, but right now it’s not. The question becomes, how do I get comfortable with the uncomfortable? How do I manage this period of uncertainty and frustration? Something that’s helping me cope is remembering the secret to meditation. (Even if you don’t meditate, I hope you’ll still find this post useful.)

spiritual writing

Isn’t this picture great? Photo by jae bano on Unsplash

The secret to meditation is instead of being the subject, to become the object, meaning don’t think you’re the one meditating, rather you’re being meditated upon. Some people like to imagine they’re surrounded by eyes, that they’re witnessed from every direction by a power greater than themselves. As for me, I’m an empath and a highly sensitive person so what works for me is to instead feel. However, I have to be very specific and selective regarding what I feel, and in this instance, I imagine I’m in a bubble of love, that the love of the universe is pouring down on me. Not only do I imagine it, but I feel it.

I’m not sure who to attribute this poem to but I’ve read:

The pot is in the water;
The water is in the pot.
Water inside and outside.
If the pot is broken, the waters become one –
Only the wise understand this great idea.

When I feel the love that’s surrounding me, I’m a pot sitting in water, but there’s also water inside of me, meaning there’s also love inside me. Love exists inside of me and outside of me. There’s nowhere I can go to escape love. We are all surrounded by the love of the universe. I feel better when I remember that.

I dream of a world where we feel into the ever-present force of love. A world where we recognize love is all around us and inside us. A world where we realize we live in love bubbles and it’s up to us to tune into that frequency.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

What feels like a million years ago, I wrote a memoir with the subtitle: “Your wildest dreams are ant-sized compared to what lay ahead.” First off, I knew then and know now that sentence is not grammatically correct. (Following grammar rules, it’s supposed to be “Your wildest dreams are ant-sized compared with what lies ahead.”) I chose the words that I did because my version elicited a sense of openness for me, that the future could be anything.

Since publishing the book, the part of me that believes in impossible dreams has been dormant. She’s been sleeping because I’ve encountered too many disappointments to nurture that sense of hope. Life smacked me in the face over and over again. It’s what I referenced in the post “Stored Trauma.” Instead of the future feeling open, magical, and mysterious, it’s felt closed, prosaic, and straightforward. I’ve become more cynical as I’ve gotten older and I don’t particularly relish that trait.

When it comes to dreams these days, I try to stick within the realm of possibility. For instance, while becoming a bestselling author is not common, it’s doable. I’m already writing after all. But for other dreams, I brush them aside or scoff when I consider them. For instance, the dream of owning a home in the Bay Area. To be honest, “dream” is too strong a word because I haven’t even let myself imagine it. I haven’t even briefly entertained the idea of owning a house here because it’s felt too farfetched. That may sound funny to those of you reading this because lots of people own homes! Why couldn’t I?

spiritual writing

This looks cute. I’d like to live here. Photo by Trinity Nguyen on Unsplash

For perspective, in the Bay Area, homes regularly sell for more than a million dollars. I don’t mean mansions either – I mean a three-bedroom, two-bath house that’s less than 1,500 sq. ft. In other words, a house that would be considered average in many other parts of the country. In Charlotte, N.C., for instance, a comparable house sells for $425,000, according to the real estate website Zillow.

I think you can understand why I’ve laughed at the idea of home ownership as someone who doesn’t work in tech. My response was usually, “Not unless I marry someone who makes a boatload of money or win the lottery!” Home ownership? Not an option. Except, recently I found out there are programs for first-time home buyers. There are grants that cover the down payment. Maybe owning a home isn’t so impossible? I don’t know yet – I’m still doing the research, but there’s something tender for me about remembering with help, all things are possible. Some people call that help “God,” others call it “love” or “community.” But whatever you call it, there’s something sweet about remembering our dreams are not impossible. We may not achieve them conventionally, but who cares?

I dream of a world where we realize we can have what we want if we remain open to various methods and means. A world where we remember that even as life knocks us down, it also builds us back up. A world where we let ourselves have our dreams because we understand with help, anything can happen.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’m resharing this post from September 2019 because once again, I find myself in a hallway, metaphorically speaking. That also means the audio clip below is from that time period. Enjoy.

A close friend of mine used an analogy the other day that’s stuck with me. She said her higher power has closed a door in her life and hasn’t opened another one yet. That means for now she’s stuck in a hallway, waiting for another door to open. Yesssssss. That’s so my life right now. I’m in limbo, in a hallway, waiting for something new, for a door to open, but it hasn’t yet and it’s uncomfortable.

I hate this phase. I think most people do. And at the same time, I recognize this is a part of life — it’s filled with speed and then pause. Even when breathing we inhale, pause slightly, and then exhale with another slight pause. When we walk, we put one foot on the ground or we can’t move forward. The left foot makes the next step only if the right foot prepares for the movement by being placed on the ground.

spiritual writing

I’m waiting for my next door to open. Photo by Rhea Lofranco on Unsplash

My spiritual teacher says alternating between speed and pause is crucial for successful movement. “If we wish to say something about speed, or the characteristics of movement, we will have to acknowledge the necessity of the state of pause otherwise it will not be possible to move into the next stage,” he said. “This speed and pause will continue. Pause means gathering momentum for speed in the subsequent phase. If one closely watches the effect of speed on a particular community or the entire humanity, one sees that generally people eulogize the period of speed. However, we cannot afford to ignore the state of pause, because by judging what the previous state of pause was like, we can discern the speed of the next phase.”

A couple of things jump out at me from that quote. First of all, the pause is temporary. It feels like I’m going to be stuck in this hallway forever, but I won’t be. Things will change, they absolutely will, even if a part of me doesn’t believe that. I’m reminded just because I may not believe something doesn’t make it any less true. For instance, some people still believe the Earth is flat, but regardless, the Earth is round.

The other point that jumps out at me from the quote is the last bit, about how the state of pause can help discern the speed of the next phase. What I’m taking that to mean is my life is going to go off like a rocket. All of this momentum, this angst, is going to catapult me into the next phase and my life will move at warp speed. I cannot express how much I’m looking forward to it. And at the same time, I’m recognizing the necessity for this state of pause, this place where I’m spinning my wheels, revving my engine, and getting ready to zoom ahead. Pretty soon a door will open and I’m going to bolt through it. But for now, I’m here, in a hallway.

I dream of a world where we recognize the importance of limbo periods. A world where we understand in order to move ahead, we also have to pause, to gather momentum. A world where we recognize even when it seems like we’re standing still, it’s all in service of what’s next.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I came across an article the other day I found incredibly inspiring considering what we’ve all lived/are living through. In Australia, for the first time in decades, Christmas bell flowers are blooming in high numbers because of the bushfires that raged through the area in late 2019, early 2020.

The flowers have an underground root structure that allows them to survive fire and then come back quickly to reshoot. However, usually they lie dormant because there’s too much competition from other plants. The fires knocked out the other plants, provided nutrients to the Christmas bell flowers in the form of ash, and now they’re flourishing.

I love this story because so often when it comes to devastation and destruction, in my mind, everything is terrible forever. If a fire has whipped through an area, for instance, I imagine an apocalyptic wasteland ruined interminably. This story reminds me that’s not true, literally. Certain plants only grow because of fire. And furthermore, something beautiful can come from something tragic. That’s not to say I ever wish for tragedy, because I don’t, but it’s heartening to know the world has a way of rebalancing. Perhaps humans do as well.

spiritual writing

These are NOT Christmas bell flowers — I couldn’t find a copyright-free version of those. However, these flowers are a close approximation. This is a Tiger tooth succulent plant. Photo by Cristina Anne Costello on Unsplash

Speaking of humans, the past 10 months has been rough on us all. I see the events on January 6th as a continuation of that. However, I want to emphasize the good that’s come in the arena of politics in general. Georgia voters were so fired up they turned out in record numbers — 3 million voted ahead of the election on January 5th, more votes than have ever been cast in a Georgia runoff race, according to Bloomberg news. Also, as you likely know, the general election in November saw record turnout as well – close to 160 million people, which is 66.7% of eligible voters, according to CNBC news. For context, that’s the highest voter turnout since the presidential election of 1900.

I find it inspiring that instead of being passive players, people are demonstrating they actually care about what happens to the U.S. They care about who’s in power in numbers they haven’t in 120 years. That’s pretty cool.

I’m also curious as well as excited about the potential change coming at us, as I consider things from an astrological perspective. Right now, Saturn is in Aquarius and what happens during that transit is great change, political reform, and new waves of social structure. “Law reformation, innovation in technology, civil acts, social justice, major natural storms, and the dismantling of long-held beliefs start when Saturn is in Aquarius,” writes astrologer Anthony Perrotta.

For perspective, FDR’s New Deal and the Social Security Act happened while Saturn was in Aquarius. So did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the end of Apartheid. What will this period bring? Socialized medicine? Environmental protection? Laws on income inequality? Just like the Christmas bell flowers in Australia, it might be something beautiful.

I dream of a world where we remember good can come from tragedy. A world where we recognize tumult can be a precursor to change that benefits us all. A world where we remember things aren’t all good or all bad. A world where we keep watch for silver linings.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

As we enter this new year, I notice I feel pressure to be hopeful and optimistic. Because vaccines are here! And a new president is on his way! And 2020 is officially done! All of that is true, and yet neither the past nor reality change just because we flipped the calendar. We still carry with us everything that came before and much remains unknown. I’m reminded here of the quote by Rilke about living our way into answers. I think we’re all doing that – with the unfolding of every day, every year, we are living our way into answers.

I also want to quote three stanzas from John O’Donohue’s poem “For a New Beginning” because I think it’s relevant as we continue to progress into this new year. He wrote:

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

spiritual writing

A new day has dawned. Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

We are finding our new rhythm this year. A year that will continue to challenge all of us because as you know, the pandemic has not ceased. Nor has there been a return to normal just yet. Businesses remained closed or at reduced capacity. We are still encouraged to keep our distance from one another. But I find comfort in O’Donohue’s words as well as Rilke’s as I remember more will be revealed. We will learn how to navigate what waits before us. Furthermore, we will continue to dream our dreams, which I think a new year is always best for. It’s when we envision what we want for ourselves, who we want to be, how we want to feel.

I want to feel better. I want to feel rejuvenated. I want to live in a world that values all people as well as the environment. And I know I’m not alone. There are many people who feel the way I do, which I find encouraging. To add some more oomph, I want to close with a quote from my spiritual teacher who said this back in 1957:

“The purport of dharma [meditation] is to look upon every person, every object of this universe as one integral entity. To jeopardize the unity of the human race by creating factions is not the purpose of dharma. Those who encourage vested interests survive on the mental weaknesses of people and their dissensions, and that is why they are scared of the spread of the ideals of dharma and exhibit their intolerance toward it in all sorts of immoral ways, such as abuse, false propaganda, and lies. People must not be cowed by this; they have got to march ahead. It is to be borne in mind that hindrances are beneficial to human beings on the path of righteousness and to continue to fight against them is what is [their practice].”

Amen to that. Here’s to a year where we continue to fight against injustice, a year where we sow unity over division, a year where we ferret out lies and replace it with truth. A year where we continue to march ahead, a year where we live our way into answers, a year where we build a better world for us all.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

It’s funny how the body remembers things and conjures up memories for us – right now I’m reminded exactly 13 years ago I was in Europe for a New Year’s retreat. I haven’t thought about that trip in years. I think it’s coming up now not only because of the date, but also due to my emotional landscape. I’m in a liminal space where I’ve left something behind, but I’m not yet fully in the something new, which if you think about it encapsulates this year. This is the last week of 2020, which we’re all ready to put behind us, but we’re not yet in 2021.

How does this relate to my trip to Europe in 2007? It was a time of my life when I was so ready to move to San Francisco but hadn’t yet. It was a period I had so much trepidation about the future and no idea how everything would work out, or even if it would. Plus, the trip itself was filled with lots of anxiety as I had numerous “near misses” and “almosts.” I flew into London first so I could travel to the retreat site in Sweden with people I knew. En route to Sweden, first my bus didn’t come when it was supposed to, and then the doors didn’t open at my stop. When I moved further up the bus to the open doors, they shut in my face. That meant I was late getting to the airport and worried I would miss my flight, which would defeat the entire purpose of traveling to London in the first place.

spiritual writing

This is a picture of a post office in France. Photo credit: Moi.

I didn’t miss my flight, somehow I made it in the nick of time. Everything worked out. And that was the theme of the entire trip. During the retreat I became ill, but there was an acupuncturist onsite who gave me a treatment. On the way back to London, I traveled alone. I made a pitstop in a Swedish grocery store and went up to a random woman and asked her to translate ingredients into English for me, which she did. I took a side trip to France and had a minute to spare before they closed check in for the EuroStar, which is a train that shuttles people from London to Paris. I stayed with an acquaintance in Paris but she neglected to give me her apartment number and I couldn’t reach her to ask for it, so I literally knocked on every door of the apartment building trying to find her. An apartment building without an elevator, I might add.

That trip was not all sunshine and roses. At the time I hated every mishap and near mishap, but now I laugh and shake my head. Now, I feel gratitude that despite the hardships, everything worked out. I was OK, I was taken care of, help showed up when I needed it. That’s what 2020 was for me as well: not all sunshine and roses but I was OK, I was taken care of, help showed up when I needed it. Instead of tossing this year away like worn out wrapping paper, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned, the friendships I deepened, and the grace I received.

According to my spiritual practices, God/the universe/Brahma/Cosmic Consciousness, whatever name you want to use, loves us unconditionally. Wants the best for us. Wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. The God of my understanding is not Santa Claus and doesn’t do things to punish us. Everything happens for our benefit, even the hard stuff. When I look back at my trip to Europe 13 years ago, I know that’s true. Because while this post focused on the hardships, in that trip I learned important things about myself, like I could never live in Europe and that I can navigate a foreign country on my own without speaking the language. Plus, I met people who changed the trajectory of my life.

When I think back to my trip, I’m reminded I can feel afraid and still show up for myself. I’m reminded even when things are hard, I can still muddle through. And that’s a lesson I think we all learned this year.

I dream of a world where we realize how strong we truly are. A world where we recognize we show up for life even when it is hard, even if it takes us a while. A world where we’re proud of ourselves for our courage and tenacity. A world where we realize there’s magic in the muck.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

You know how people keep saying life feels like the movie Groundhog Day right now? That comparison doesn’t resonate for me in terms of the movie itself because in the film, Bill Murray broke up monotony by learning the piano and wooing Andie MacDowell. In my life, it feels like I’m watching Groundhog Day over and over again because I already know what to expect each day for the most part: work, a walk, and a Zoom call.

I didn’t know until I started writing this post, but a definition of Groundhog Day, is “a situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way.” So from that perspective, yeah, I’m on board with life right now being Groundhog Day. If variety is the spice of life, my life is pretty bland at the moment. There’s a pinch of variety in terms of decorating my apartment for the holidays, and FaceTiming with my family for Hanukkah, but otherwise it’s pretty monotonous over here.

When I told my mom I wasn’t sure I had anything to write about this week, especially not in a positive or uplifting way, she told me a lot of people likely feel the way I do. They’re glum because they can’t celebrate the holidays with their normal traditions, and their lives are also an endless cycle of work, walks, and Zoom calls. I know folks are feeling optimistic because vaccine distribution has started so there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but honestly, I feel like a little kid because my response is, “Yeah, but how does that help me now?” It doesn’t.

spiritual writing

I love this picture. So joyful! Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

And that’s true. It doesn’t. The question becomes what can I do now, in this present moment, to bring variety? In the middle of writing this post I pulled out my guitar for the first time in years. No agenda, no goal in mind like, “I want to be good enough to play in front of other people.” I just played for me, for the fun of it. I also conducted a science experiment where I mixed two drops of food coloring in oil and then poured the mixture into a glass of room temperature water. The result? Water fireworks because the food coloring separates from the oil and plummets to the bottom of the glass. My inner child loves science experiments and they definitely bring variety.

Often I look to the future to meet my needs: “I’ll feel better when XYZ happens,” and I get stuck on a certain strategy to meet those needs. For instance, “I need the pandemic to be over in order to experience variety again.” What I’m reminded through my nonviolent communication training is there are a thousand strategies to meet every need. There’s no one way or a right way. When I focus on the need itself, I’m able to brainstorm and find delightful strategies in the moment, like creating water fireworks. And sometimes the only way to meet a need in the present moment is to remember a time when the need was met in the past and relive it. The body doesn’t know the difference between the past, present, or future so reliving something can become a present moment experience.

I know this post isn’t like many of my other ones, but I share it because I want people to know they’re not alone. And secondly, it’s my wish that sharing my process can help someone else. And if not, at least I’ll have a reminder of that time in 2020 when I felt like I was losing my mind due to monotony and then played my guitar and watched food coloring metamorphosize in water.

I dream of a world where we focus on the present and what we need in the moment. A world where we remember there are a thousand ways to meet every need. A world where we understand we don’t have to put our happiness on layaway and instead we can do something to change our mood right here and right now if we choose. A world where we indulge in little joys.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

It’s raining as I type this, which on the one hand I’m thrilled about because California needs rain. On the other hand, I have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) so when it rains my mood plummets and I feel mildly depressed. To counter the depression, I pulled out my SAD lamp and strung up fairy lights.

I find it especially poetic that I’m bringing more literal light into my life as right now it’s also Hanukkah. To celebrate Hanukkah, Jews all over the world light candles for eight days. One of the principles of Hanukkah is the idea that one candle may kindle the light of many others and yet lose none of its own light. I like that idea. I think especially right now as we’re facing surging COVID-19 numbers and many of us are unable to celebrate the holidays as we normally do, there’s something important about being a light, spreading light, but also recognizing darkness.

Being the light

Light is its most potent in the dark. Photo by Chris Moore on Unsplash

Candles are most effective in the dark. Fairy lights are the most appealing when other lights are off. You can’t have lightness and brightness without darkness. There’s a writer I like named Jeff Brown who discusses this. He says:

“Real spirituality is all about ‘enrealment’ – it includes everything human in the equation. The real now is the one that includes everything we left behind on the path. We must work through our story, before the unresolved elements of our story kill us.”

Yes! My spiritual path is about using everything as a vehicle for liberation or enlightenment. About not running from feelings and tough times, and yet always remembering there is something more to me. Something outside the drama, the ups and downs, a witnessing part of me that remains unaffected and emits a light that can never be diminished. It’s my goal to keep growing that light, to keep remembering its presence, and to kindle that light in others.

We each have a light within us that is longing to burn ever brighter, to radiate within ourselves and those around us. In this holiday season, may you also remember the light being that you are. May you remember you are more than the sum of your parts, and may you also endeavor to shine a light on all parts of yourself.

The more you and I can do that, the more we can create a world we wish to see. One where we celebrate with one another, but also mourn with one another because instead of trying to bypass the hard, challenging, shadow parts of ourselves and this world, we acknowledge them. We acknowledge them and we bring light to them, which transforms them.

I dream of a world where we remember our brightness and we share that brightness with others. A world where we’re not scared of shadows because shadows are where light is most needed. A world where we embrace all parts of ourselves as we kindle the flame of “enrealment.” A world where we’re able to be the light.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

As California enters its second lockdown, I keep thinking about freedom. What does it mean to be free? Some people would say it’s doing whatever you want, whenever you want. But is that really true?

I read a great essay by Rebecca Solnit on “Masculinity as Radical Selfishness.” She mentions the axiom, “My right to swing my arm ends where your nose begins,” which is about balancing personal freedom with the rights of others. It’s also about watching out for someone else’s rights. She says what we’re seeing a prevalence of right now though is the idea that my right to swing my arm doesn’t end where your nose begins, but instead just doesn’t end. And in fact, your nose is not my problem and should get out of the way.

She also says in the U.S., “unlimited armswinging peaks at an intersection between whiteness and maleness, with plenty of white women on board who seem to believe that a white lady’s job is to protect white men’s armswinging (often with a selfless disregard for their own noses).” I think she’s right. Often what we associate with “freedom” is really just hypermasculinity because again to quote Solnit, the isolated individual (ideally white and male) are the metaphorical fists and must rule supreme. However, there’s a lack of understanding here that no man is an island; we don’t live in our own self-contained bubbles accomplishing everything by ourselves. It seems to me this pandemic more than anything is highlighting that. We want someone else to cut our hair. We want someone else to make our food. We want someone else to sit next to us and smile.

spiritual writing

Would this woman be able to travel safely without the limit of road rules? No. Photo by Averie Woodard on Unsplash

Humans are social creatures. We are not meant to live in isolation. The hypermasculine freedom some in the U.S. idealize is a myth because what happens when that individual gets sick? They rely on the collective to help them out – they go to the hospital for care, or a doctor, or the drugstore.

My spiritual teacher says “just as my life is important to me, others’ lives are equally important to them; and if we do not give proper value to the lives of all creatures, then the development of the entire humanity becomes impossible.”

It becomes impossible because individual life is bound to the collective. Collective welfare lies in individuals and individual welfare lies in collectivity. There is no instance where my individual welfare doesn’t contribute to collective welfare. And furthermore, real freedom requires constraint. That may seem like an oxymoron but hear me out. Retired Navy SEAL, author, and podcaster Jocko Willink says, “Freedom is what everyone wants – to be able to act and live with freedom. But the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline. If you want financial freedom, you have to have financial discipline. If you want more free time, you have to follow a more disciplined time management system. Discipline equals freedom applies to every aspect of life: If you want more freedom, get more discipline.”

He’s talking specifically about individual freedom of course, but I think the same message applies to collective freedom. We’re able to drive safely, for the most part, because there are rules associated with driving. We’re able to buy food we enjoy because there are regulations that keep expired food off the shelves. I realize there are problems with the rules and regulations I listed, but I’d much rather have those problems than going into a grocery store and wondering if the food I’m buying will poison me.

Real freedom requires discipline and a care for others. Anything else is just selfishness that will eventually catch up to us.

I dream of a world where we recognize true freedom requires giving up a little bit of freedom. A world where we understand we can’t do what we want whenever we please without consequences for ourselves and others. A world where we understand real freedom requires limits.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

All week I’ve been thinking about the starfish story. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the story goes like this: One day a man was walking along the beach littered with starfish, also called sea stars. He noticed a girl picking them up gently throwing them back into the ocean. Approaching the girl, he asked, “What are you doing?” She replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

The man said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the girl bent down, picked up another sea star and threw it back into the ocean. Smiling at the man she said, “I made a difference for that one.”

I love this story because it’s the reminder you don’t have to save all the sea stars, or all the people, or all the animals, or all the whatever. Even one life matters. It’s hard for me to remember that because instead I think of quantity. Quantity is what’s encouraged in our capitalistic culture. “How many views did that blogpost get?” “How many followers do you have?” “How big is your email list?” We think in terms of quantity because quality is hard to, well, quantify. How do you measure if listening to a song brought a person to tears? Or reading a book changed someone’s life? You can’t really. We try by saying, “Well, it was popular. It went viral,” but lots of things go viral.

A compilation video of cats freaking out when they see cucumbers has gone viral – 24 million views and counting – but has anyone’s life changed as a result? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with cat videos, I’m merely pointing out whether something is viral is not a good measure of its quality. I have to keep reminding myself of this because otherwise I get too fixated on the end result. I start thinking about all the sea stars littered across the beach instead of the one in front of me, so to speak. And the one in front of me matters. It matters because every life is precious and also because every person cares about what happens in their life. We are all a little self-centered, in a good way.

What I have to keep coming back to is why am I even writing in the first place? Sometimes I write just for me. But the writing I make available for public consumption is for me and for others. My spiritual teacher said:

“In every expression, in every stratum of this universe, however crude or subtle, only one refrain prevails, and that refrain is the attainment of bliss. In that artistic movement toward welfare both the attainment and the bestowal of happiness find simultaneous expression. When litterateurs dedicate themselves to the service or practice of literature, they have to let their creative genius flow in this very current: They have to cleanse all that is turbid, all that is inauspicious in individual life in the holy waters of their universal mentality, and then convey it sweetly and gracefully into the heart of humanity.”

When I write the things that matter to me, I’m trying to touch the heart of humanity. I’m trying to share my experience, strength, hope, and perspective in an effort to let people know they’re not alone. Or to get them to entertain a new perspective. Or open their hearts a little more. When I lose sight of my intention, that’s when I start thinking it only matters if I hit a certain threshold of popularity. But it doesn’t. Because like the girl throwing sea stars back into the ocean, I may not be making a difference for a million people, but I’m making a difference for at least one. And that’s something.

I dream of a world where we remember quantity isn’t everything. A world where we remember quality counts. A world where we keep in mind our intentions. A world where we stay close to the “why” of our actions and use that as motivation to propel us forward.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

1 2 3 4 64 65
Plugin Supporter Smooth Post Navigation