The title for this blog came to me a few days ago, as I was led to take stock of some conflicting thoughts and feelings that life had presented me with. They had to do with trust…of myself and of others. For the few days that followed, I was recalling how such conflict can leave me wanting to back away from living on the edge and, even more concerning, from exercising the faith to step off the edge or even leap over the perceived chasm to achieve what it is we are here to do, to fulfill. And I realized I was experiencing another bout of living from the outside in.
The intention behind this blog is to offer you an opportunity to pause for the few minutes it will take you to read and absorb what I’m about to share with you, and see whether or not it stirs up to the surface anything which might be getting in the way of you continuing to follow your desired path of living to your fullest.
I can remember a time when I was about four years old and curious. There was a stream, a brook really, which ran through the woods near where I lived. It contained all kinds of living creatures, like minnows, tadpoles, and water insects that skittered across the surface of the water, and I would always be torn between a desire to see them up close—to kneel right at the edge of the brook and lean out over the water—and yet fearful to do it because of my mother’s warnings to stay away from the brook. As I grew older and entered adolescence and then my teenage years, that fear morphed into a much larger, nearly all-consuming force that kept me at the edge of my life, so often afraid to venture beyond the edge until I discovered alcohol and drugs. They numbed out all the circuitry in my brain that controlled my thoughts and actions. They also fueled false confidence and led me on a very dark journey that didn’t end until I got sober.
Sometimes it still surprises me how I can still slip into such moments of self-doubt so easily. After all, I have so, so much to be grateful for these days. But it is what it is and I know resolution comes through the application of compassionate curiosity on my part, to step back a bit to better understand what’s contributing to the imbalance I’m experiencing.
What I’ve come up with is that I can still take what others do or don’t do personally, breaking the second of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, Don’t Take Anything Personally! People do what they do, period! And the moment I make it about me, then that’s on me and what’s that about? Ahh! Now I was getting closer. I was letting my perception of what was going on in the world around me control my life, blocking my ability to hear that still, small voice of God within.
Here’s another reality check: Just because you share certain things in common, like what street you live on, what village or community you live in, what sports or leisure activities you share, or what church or spiritual community you may have in common, you aren’t going to necessarily become bosom buddies or best of friends. There are too many other aspects of life that work into the mix of what matters to us in developing close friendships. Things like one’s political views or how they define what’s right and what’s wrong. And that’s okay!
So now I am comfortable in saying that I’m once again feeling balance in my life. And I have just one more comment to share with you in this blog. I’d said earlier that the title of this blog came to me a few days ago but I generally post-date my blogs so the date is closer to the date I actually load it out onto my website. And what did I find to be the title of Mark Nepo’s message for November 10th? “Living on the Edge.” I kid you not! Is it possible that because his The Book of Wakening has been part of my daily morning reading for a number of years that it resurfaced at the beginning of the week when I first started writing this? Maybe. Or maybe it showed up today as a way of confirmation, since his message was very much about what we miss when we remain living on the edge of life, never trusting to make the leap into it.
That’s all for this blog. Remember tomorrow to salute or at least recognize all those who in their many ways served in or for the military service.
Love & Light, Steven