Everything we do and everything that is done to us somehow becomes transformed onto the canvas of our lives. As this miraculous transformation takes place, our senses expand and merge into a kaleidoscope of intuition and awareness, resulting in influences that alter our personalities. Somewhere in the process, we begin to notice that we're more balanced, more complete, and more alive to the influences in and around us.
We also discover an inner voice-a guiding influence that leads us to greater personal acceptance and less inner conflict. The world itself doesn't change but our hearts do, and that is what causes us to view the world differently. In essence, the calm before the storm expands until it is able to overcome the storm altogether.
We become more aware of the current in life that is life-giving and life-enhancing, and we become more able to focus on the significance of the journey and less on confusion and fear. With this awareness, we develop a greater capacity to understand and accept that the responsibility for this process lies directly on our shoulders. In life, we can either make excuses or recognize results, and making excuses won't get us anywhere.
With this new awakening, we realize that if we really believe in the beauty of eternity, then we must learn to appreciate the splendor of each day. Without this appreciation, we participate in life, but we have no real freedom. Ultimate freedom is dependent upon three things-freedom of choice, freedom to choose our own road, and freedom to have no regrets for the roads we didn't choose.
As we choose to let go of our regrets, even though the pain and problems don't disappear completely, everything-even the past-tends to fall into place. We accept that we weren't perfect and that we made mistakes, but that was then, and this is now. Then we move on.
We finally get a glimpse of eternity as we realize that we're part of something much greater than ourselves. As we take part in this never-ending state of change, we begin to understand that everything is as it should be.
Life: Some Assembly Required
Don't worry. Things are not as bad as they seem. They couldn't be! I'll admit that there are times things look a little bleak, but those times pass. They always pass.
I think that reality sums life up pretty well. It's a journey, an experience, and a process. It's an opportunity to examine correct and incorrect principles and then to decide which ones fit-like an emotional juggling act that allows us to clearly define our personalities. In the process, we eventually discover that we're headstrong and controlling as well as tender and caring.
We talk of losing ourselves in the service of our fellowmen, but we usually do what we think is in our best interest. We admire humility and meekness, but we are often self-centered. We profess honesty and integrity, but we clearly rationalize and minimize our actions in our own favor.
We are known by many, loved by some, and despised by a few, and we consistently return those feelings, each for each. Even worse, we allow the reactions of others to determine how we feel about ourselves.
As further evidence of our insecurities, we constantly compare ourselves to others and measure our achievements by what others have or have not done. So what's the solution to this dilemma? Experience!
Experience is the name we give to our mistakes. It's how we pay our dues. Through experience, we eventually learn that it's not enough to be good-we have to be good for something. That means we must have commitment, dedication, and direction.
Achievement doesn't just happen by itself. It's always the result of natural laws. Two of the most important natural laws are growth and decay. Simply put, when we stop growing and developing, we begin to decay and die. This puts the responsibility for our success in our own hands. As the popular saying goes, "We have two ends with a common link. With one we sit, with one we think. Success depends on which you use. Heads, you win. Tails, you lose."
This means you can't sit on your bottom and slide to the top. It requires a lot of effort to be successful and even more to be happy. And there's a difference. Success simply means getting what you want. Happiness means wanting what you get.
It sounds confusing, but fortunately the instructions for both are relatively simple. They can be summed up in four words-life: some assembly required.
1. Churchill, http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/quotations
2. Jacobsen-Wells and McBride, Mac Attack!, 129-30.