Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. – Helen Keller
There are many people that I have known, and many that I know still, who are searching for something – that thing that is going to make them happy, that idea that will tip the scales in the direction of abundance, that person who make them feel like they matter…
I have been this person, too, though over the past several years I’ve been able to come to a place inside myself that allows me to see more clearly that I once did. Most of the time, anyway. What follows is a letter written to anyone and all of us – it’s for you, for your friend, for your neighbour, for your child, for your spouse, for your dentist, for your cashier, for your bank teller – it’s for those of us who have found ourselves seeking and wondering if this is all there is.
This is a letter to you – You who are struggling to find the good in life, you who are lost in despair, you who forgot how to practice self-compassion.
In compassion lies the world’s true strength… – Buddha
This is a letter to you – You who are struggling to find the good in life, you who are lost in despair, you who forgot how to practice self- compassion. You know who you are. Maybe you are reading these words through tears, or maybe you are putting on a strong face to get through the days. Maybe you are floating, unsure. Maybe you are newly single. Maybe you are grappling with the unexpected loss of someone dear to you. Maybe you left something behind. Maybe you are surrounded by people who love you, but you can’t seem to like yourself enough to let their love in fully… Maybe you are feeling small in the wilds of the world and can’t seem to find a place to call your own. Maybe life has dealt you a hand that even the best poker face can’t deny in its hardship. Maybe you are unsure of your life’s purpose? Maybe you feel like you will never measure up. Maybe you feel stuck in the system. Maybe you are just lonely…
I can’t know what’s happening in that mind of yours, in that heart or in that soul. Only you can understand the depth of what is happening, or not happen, inside you. But what I do know is that you are seeking, even if you don’t know what you seek.
I hope that you find whatever it is – and though I wish the search could be done painlessly, in my bones, I know that you will always be where you need to be to find what will serve you, even if struggle punctuates your experience. I hope the rhythms of this human life have a chance to heal what needs to be healed and help you see that you are whole already.
Remember that you can find that place – that one that you are seeking – within yourself anywhere. We can seek from any location, from any point on the globe, from any apartment, from any taxi cab, from any gully, and any mountaintop. That’s the exciting part of all of this – perhaps it’s not something that you can see right now. I know that. But everything that you are seeking is already inside you-even the capacity to love yourself. It just needs to be uncovered and embraced. So many see those things that make you – you and love them fully – remember that. In the times that you are feeling alone or struggling, or when your purpose or path is unclear, remember that your home is the love that lives inside you, and you can always return to it. You can go home again. That love that is you is the light that will never go away.
That Love That is You is the Light That Will Never Go Away…
And use your strengths as you seek – your love of dancing, your ability to talk to anyone and make them feel welcome, the way you study things before taking action, your knack for remembering where the keys are, your soft-spoken nature, your commitment to a cause, your determination, your modesty, your humility, your enthusiasm, your outspoken-ness, your creativity, your analytical mind, your compassion… I could go on. Use your authentic way of being to live in the world in a way that matters to you. It matters to me, too. And to others.
Use Your Authentic Way of Being to Live in the World in a Way That Matters to You
I have a small stone from a time that I spent on the island of Malta years ago that I remembered a little too late to pass on to you before you left before you started your search.
A wise woman there told me that there is a type of stone that washes up on the rocky shores that are covered in little holes. It’s referred to as a “goddess stone” because these stones of the sea have been tossed around, beaten up and changed. But they always wash up where they are supposed to, more beautiful, more filled with life and lighter than before. Their holes give them room to grow. Their holes give them the space they need to evolve and to remember the wholeness that they have always had.
May you find your own goddess stone, whether your search keeps you near to home or takes you into a far off land. Remember that it has been with you always.
I will leave you with some words from a band called Medicine for the People that speak fairly well to how I try to live my days. And then I will keep silent and let you go if that is what needs to happen.
Be full of compassion and patience.
Be full. Speak your truth fully. Then keep silent.
The world offers itself to your imagination. Your place in it is not set in stone – nor is it something to dread or resign yourself to. There are challenges, yes. Despair is real and familiar to all. But the winter will still come each year, as will the spring, summer and fall: each new bud, each garden filled with creeping flowers and vines, each high and low tide, each turning leaf offers up a sense of place and rhythm. Know that you have a place. Your own-and you are enough.
So, until we met again.