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Essence of Life
For me, there are three essential questions that spiral deeper into my life and will continue to do so for a lifetime.
1) Who am I? ... my Identity. (What are my gifts and abilities, passions and aspirations?)
2) Why am I here? ... my Purpose. (How can I use my gifts to make a difference?)
3) What am I going to do about it? ... my Mission. (When, where, and what will I do to make a difference?)
YOU decide. No one but YOU.
For every PERSON, there are gifts within. For every gift, there is a PLACE that needs that gift.
Meaning in life is not found "out there" somewhere. It is found Here and Now. It is created within by YOU.
Whether we are talking about metaphysical meaning or existential meaning, it is created and lived by YOU.
And it is seen by the impact you have as you make a difference in the lives you encounter and the work you do.
A career is all of the productive, creative, and meaningful activity a person does throughout life (whether paid or unpaid).
In this sense, life, work, and the person become a seamless, integrated whole.
Too often career is thought of only as one’s ”job”, a money-making activity done in isolation from the rest of one’s life. When this happens, people tend to leave part of themselves at home while they are at work. They become a cog in the machine. Only that piece of self is allowed to be present that is necessary for the task.
I have a difficult time splitting myself like this.
I prefer to be fully present in every aspect of my life; whether family, spiritual, work, or leisure; a fully engaged citizen of my community.
I call it living an authentic, undivided life… a life of integrity.
"Am I living the life that wants to live in me?"
“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”
“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.”
(Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation)
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)
“Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” (Frederick Buechner)
We must always honor the deepest aspirations, hopes, and dreams of others (and ourselves), for within them are seeds of hope, of purpose, and of meaning. Their raison d’être. Don’t mess with this, for this is sacred and unique among each and every person on earth.
“It remains an experience of incomparable value that we have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed and reviled, in short, from the perspective of the suffering.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” (Mahatma Ghandi)
“Whether we try to enter into a dislocated world, relate to a convulsive generation, or speak to a dying man, our service will not be perceived as authentic unless it comes from a heart wounded by the suffering about which we speak.” (Henri Nouwen in “The Wounded Healer”) .
“The holiest thing we have to offer the world is a broken-open heart, emptied of fear and vengeance, filled with forgiveness and a willingness to take the risks of love.” (Parker Palmer, The Politics of the Brokenhearted)
Writing has become a way for me to find my voice and to give voice to my questions;
from dogmatism and certainty to inquiry and dialogue,
from a quest for knowledge to embracing mystery and wonder,
from living with clenched fists to living with open hands.
(My Philosophical Evolution)
The next level deeper, piercing the facade, discerning and letting go of dogma, assumptions, and conditioning.
(2.0) version is my inner work of systematic deconstruction, deconversion, uprooting, and dredging up a lifetime of deep-seated conditioning, ingrained beliefs, and embedded dogma, much of which is unconscious; discerning trash from treasures and thoughtfully reconstructing a world and life view that reflects the shape of my heart. As I go deeper and beyond, answers fade into questions, certainty into uncertainty, knowing into unknowing.
One of our greatest indicators of something being amiss in our thinking and beliefs is the strength of our defendedness; our knee-jerk defense of what we think is right. The stronger our reaction, the more we need to question ourselves.
Truth is true when it stands on its own and compels us to bend the knee to what is inevitable and unequivocal.
Truth needs no defense.
"I asked myself, 'What is the myth you are living?' and found that I did not know. So... I took it upon myself to get to know my myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks... I simply had to know what unconscious or preconscious myth was forming me." (Carl Jung)
Living with Open Hands is an outward expression of the inner work of opening the Mind, Heart, and Will. This opening up requires open eyes and open ears that see and hear with the heart . . . a "Seeing" that goes beneath the surface . . . to the heart, the center, the silence. This inner work is then expressed outwardly by living with open hands; welcoming others and life, giving and receiving openly, living in peace and equality; living without appeal, unconditionally and without agenda.
Key to Connection and Community
"Power and strength can separate people; whereas weakness and recognition of weakness and the cry for help brings people together. When you are weak, you need people. It's very easy. When you are strong you don't need people, you can do everything on your own. So, somewhere the weak person calls people together. And when the weak call forth the strong, what happens is they awaken what is most beautiful in a human person--compassion, goodness, openness to another and so on. Our weakness brings people together."
Belonging: The Search for Acceptance
Windborne Production Video
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength” (St. Francis de Sales)
“Our greatest strength lies in gentleness and tenderness of heart.” (Rumi)