Life's Search Engine
Someone recently asked me where I get my inspiration for my Waking Up articles. The short answer is "life." Ideas come from everywhere: books, movies, emails, songs, etc. I sometimes think of myself as a bell. Every now and then something will come along and "clank" me and it seems like something important to write about. Today's message was birthed by an email I got from a fellow subscriber a few weeks back. It seemed worthy of a follow up. Here's her email:
I like the quote of yours currently displayed on your web site, "What we learn depends on the teachers we choose." It reminds me of something I told my sister upon our learning of my brother's cancer diagnosis.
We both immediately went to the Internet to research his diagnosis and learn about the possible prognosis' for the remaining length of his life. That evening we were on the phone and she was so upset and full of doom and gloom while I was happy and eager to share my tales of survival and beating the odds.
She couldn't believe I'd found so many positive, upbeat stories from strong people who weathered the storm of their cancer while all she'd found were dismal tales of good-byes and tears.
I asked her what she punched into the search engine when she was looking for information. She'd typed in lung cancer mortality rates while I'd typed in surviving lung cancer."
Ever since then I've used the comparison, "Life is like a search engine, you get out of it what you type into it!" If you go looking for the scary stuff, you surely will find it, but if you look for the positive, the life affirming, you will get those in spades. --Betsey McGuire
What a powerful example of this life principle: what we learn does indeed depend upon the teachers we choose. And in this moment in history, it might be worth asking who it is we are choosing as teachers. Are we hanging on every word of the doom and gloom sky-is-falling prophets? Are we hunkering down for a hard year or two? Are we dumping investments and stowing cash in our mattresses?
Or are we turning our panic-stricken faces toward a political savior? Are we waiting for our own "rescue package?" Either way is a choice to play the victim. To once again believe that everyone else knows better than we do and close the door to our own personal wisdom that isn't panicked and does know that life is very simple and makes perfect sense. The law of cause and effect is unendingly predictable. If we're paying attention - not to the news, but to the cycles of life.
We forget that life also has a life cycle. Why do you think it's called that? Like all organic systems (plants, animals, planets), life sometimes grows like crazy and sometimes pulls back. Like the surges of ocean tides. Advancing, receding. When the tide ebbs or the Fall leaves drop we don't panic and despair of the end of life. We know that given the right time the tide will again flow and the leaves will again bud. The cycle will continue.
Like the fish that is completely unaware of the water in which it lives, it's easy for us, too, to not see the nature of our own environment. We see this moment yet this moment is a blip on the screen of life. There is a much bigger picture that our myopia does not discern.
Throughout our human history we've faced times when it looked like life was ending - and it didn't. Did it change? Yes, as predictably and harmoniously as any system evolves. We might not understand in this moment, but all things make sense when you have the right lens and the bigger perspective.
I do not know your specific personal situation. It might seem presumptuous, even pampas, of me to say, "It will be alright." But, it will. Fear is not your ally; it gives false counsel. You are stronger than anything you will ever face. Life will go on and you will thrive. Choose your teachers wisely - and don't forget that your own wisdom is a most trusted advisor. Don't let panic make your decisions; it has a bad track record.
Do what you must do. Follow your intuition. Trust in life. Let's not force our economy into unraveling by our self-fulfilling prophesy reactions to speculation and what-iffing. Let's relax a bit and know that "this too shall pass." As Frank Lloyd Wright brilliantly said, "The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." What do you believe in?