I’ve said it here, and I’ve said it there, but I want to say it one more time. Thank you for all of your incredible messages of support and love this week. I feel it. I actually, physically feel your love and light in my body. (It’s like a constant internal humming vibration, just in case you were wondering. For reals.)
I know it’s lengthy, but the following passage hits it out of the park for me. When I received my diagnosis last September, this book was the first book I picked up, and I really believe Dr. Rankin’s words set me on my path. She opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking, and I am forever grateful. So, enjoy. Or don’t. I’m flexible. I’ll be back with a makeup tutorial or something equally easy breezy in a jiffy.
I hate to break it to you, but you are not in control of your life. This is not meant to frighten you. On the contrary, it’s meant to liberate you. Do not worry. You’re not at the mercy of a random, chaotic universe flouncing you around like a yo-yo on a string. This is not a dangerous world always threatening to hurt you. No, dear. You live in a purposeful universe, in which every moment is infused with meaning and richness. You may not understand the meaning right away. You may feel victimized. Life might seem unfair. But when you look back, you will see that it all makes sense, that even times of tragedy were filled with purpose, that your soul grew even as you grieved.
I know you yearn for certainty. You want guarantees. You long for forever. But you forget that by guarding against uncertainty, you close yourself off to possibility. When you don’t know what the future holds, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. This invites mystery. Awe and wonder might be yours. Within the uncertainty lies potential.
Yet it also holds the threat of loss, and this is why you fear it. I know you think you can’t handle losing what you cherish, so you cling to the illusion of control. But the reality is that life is impermanent. Even this very moment will be gone one second from now. Yet loss need not be something to resist or fear. Fearing loss only wastes your energy, because you can’t prevent it, no matter how much you cling. While nobody wants to lose that which you hold dear, if you shift your perspective, you’ll see that loss can initiate you. It can separate your life into two parts- life before the loss; life after. When you let loss initiate you, it strengthens you. Your soul walks through a doorway, and the doorway is one way. When loss initiates you, what you gain is permanent.
I know it feels safer to try to control your life. Of course you cherish that which you love. You crave stability, security, and certainty. You long to protect what you don’t want to lose. You grasp it with both hands and pull it to your chest. But what you grasp is made of sand. It slips through your fingers no matter how you grip it.
I understand that this thought is intolerable. You think you can’t handle losing what matters to you. But you sell yourself short, dear human. You’ve forgotten your capacity for infinite change. The way you cling to the illusion of certainty limits you. You stagnate. You resist change, and yet change is inevitable. How do you expect to be happy when you’re always resisting what is? Why can’t you just be with what is? Accept what is happening right now. Accept what happened in the past. Accept that you can’t predict or control the future. Accept this moment and pay no attention to any other moment other than RIGHT NOW. In this moment, you will find peace.
As long as you need certainty, you won’t take risks, and joy requires risk. You have to risk your heart. You must risk loss. Because you are human, you’ll be asked to stand in a rush of love so potent that you can barely breath; yet, in that moment, you will be crushed with how vulnerable you are, because nothing you can do will guarantee that you can keep that which leaves you so vulnerable. To stand there and experience love that deeply without pushing it away or grasping it to you is WHY YOU ARE HERE. To learn to be that vulnerable, that brave, to leave your heart that open is the ultimate life test. This test is pass/fail. You can’t do it halfway. The minute you armor against that vulnerability, you lose the joy. It’s your choice- your path to follow. Nobody will judge you either way. No one cares whether you pass or fail the test. You have free will, and just like the birds don’t mind and the forest doesn’t judge, you can do as you please.
But as a doctor who has been at the bedside of a lot of dying people, I can vouch for the fact that the dying rarely regret not having enough control over their lives. They regret that they didn’t risk more. They regret not loving enough and not opening their hearts all the way so that love spills out like a broken coconut. They regret love unspoken, ways in which they held back, the armor they wore in order to protect themselves from the vulnerability of love. They regret failing to forgive those who hurt them. They regret not making compassion their #1 value. And in those final moments, when they feel the pain of how much their desire for control led them to sacrifice the opportunity to truly love, they find that the person who needs the most compassion is themselves.
Dear human, don’t be one of those people who dies with regret. It’s not too late. There’s still time. It’s your choice. Instead, you can be one of those people who dies with a wide open heart, with no love left unexpressed, with a heart fully spent from loving expansively, with a litany of people who will be initiated by the loss of you. You can be God consciousness in human form and love all the way, all the time. Your heart is this capacious. Why don’t you know this about yourself, darling? You bumble around, thinking you’re the one human who’s heart isn’t big enough to love like this. But it is. I promise. You have no idea how massively you can love.
I know life is hard. Life hurts. You’ve suffered deeply. You’ve lost so much already. You can wallow in the pain, or you can shift everything in an instant. Today can be the first day of the rest of your life. We are boundless beings, connected to each other, infused with spirit, bonded by the suffering we all share, and liberated by the choice we can make, right here, right now, to wake up from the illusion that we must control life.
Take forth these 4 truths and allow them to free you:
1. It’s not a dangerous world. You live in a purposeful universe.
2. Uncertainty is not something to resist; it’s the gateway to possibility.
3. Loss is a natural part of life and can initiate you.
4. We are all ONE, and you are never alone.
So go forth, dear human, and fear not. You are loved. You are enough. And finally, in this present moment, you are FREE.
image: Jules Olitski