On the opening page of his book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck says:
Life is difficult.
This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
What are the illusions about life that have given birth to your expectations of yourself, others and life itself? Do you believe, somewhere deep inside, that “someday” everything will be perfect? Are you always waiting and hoping for what lies out in the future somewhere?
A young sage once said to me as we walked through a farmers’ market on a crisp sunny morning, “This, this is the essence of life: Do what you love doing. Do it with people you love. And let it be easy.”
Sitting on a quiet beach on the Emerald Coast of the Florida panhandle, I watched the gulf waters. That morning the water was so still it looked more like a lake. A few weeks earlier it had raged, sending huge waves crashing across the highway into the small bay behind me. In that moment I realized that water is consistently true to itself whether it is quietly lapping at the shore or ripping into that shore so deeply that it is forever changed. I could see that because water is consistently true to its own nature, it is able to shape the continents. I was looking at a different Florida coastline.
Life is like that. It is consistently true to itself, ever-changing, relentlessly being what it is. Life ebbs and flows. At times so quiet and peaceful I want this moment to last forever. Other times it rips and tears at the fabric of my being, daring me to resist its flow, to deny its very nature and, in the process, to deny my own and be taken down and perhaps devastated by its storms. It feels as though this moment will never end.
M. Scott Peck is right. The only way to embrace the very nature of life is to accept the reality of its true nature. When I surrender my illusions, I set myself free to ride the waves. World class surfers travel the globe, following storms and ocean surges, looking for the fiercest waves in order to ride them! I want to ride the waves of life with that kind of confidence and openness of mind and heart. Like my young sage, I want to let life be easy.
So when life is a challenge, I sit down and breathe. I breathe slowly and quietly until I remember that this is the nature of life. I am not being punished or tested. Life is what it is. I meditate and pray for guidance. I wait for the inner voice of wisdom. The challenges don’t disappear but they look different to me then. I know that, when this storm passes, the waters of my life will be calm again while I rest and restore my energy.
Oh, other storms will come for that is the way life is. I rest in knowing that I am more adept at embracing all of life’s experiences than I used to be. I seek out the quiet within when everything around me is raging. My own true nature carries me as I flow with life rather than fighting it, even when it hurts.
This moment is enough for me no matter what it contains. Blessings can be as overwhelming as challenges. Looking to some future that may never come is not the answer. This moment is all I have. Whatever this moment contains, I choose to be present in it because I can let this one moment be easy.