Accept it and fly

The moment fish accept they will never have arms, they grow fins.

From June 29, The Book of Awakening. – Mark Nepo

Why do we do this to ourselves? We listen to our heads throughout our adolescence and determine the best path for ourselves based on whatever is cool at that age… making money, fame through sports or just celebrity, if we’re lucky maybe we think about saving animals or some type of activism. Our worldview at the place between 12-25 is a lot more narrow than we would like to admit. We obviously don’t see it until we’ve passed into a different stage of life. When we’re there, we feel like everything should be figured out. The problem seems to be that it’s because we’re thinking about what we need to do instead of, as Mary Oliver suggests in Wild Geese, listening to the soft part of our body. Most of us do not grow up in a place that encourages us to live an inspired life. It’s really about getting the well-paying job that will afford you to do other things that you’ll figure out what those are after you have your money. Or, something like that.

Many people in my family have gone through what a lot of people on the west coast especially children from the 60’s & 70’s have gone through. A constant search for freedom. We were raised to have a free spirit, to question authority, to taste the juiciness of life. Unfortunately, without a foundation of understanding the rest of the world, this left a lot of people floundering and having to either work twice as hard as an adult to make up for lost time or continue floundering with job after job and little money in the bank. Although, the flip side of this is that we’ve had really amazing experiences with long trips exploring Yosemite National Park, watching sunsets over the Pacific and the feeling of taking naps on a Tuesday afternoon. These are the things most of working American’s might consider complete indulgences that happen 1-2 times per year if they’re lucky.

My point to all of this is about listening to our hearts and applying some backbone to it. It has taken me a lot of studying and a lot of time on my yoga mat to realize the only one in my way is me. Once I removed that obstacle, the world suddenly looked different and actually manageable. I realized there were certain rules to play by. Formal education matters less than being articulate and aware of the world. Paying attention to the details of how someone spells his or her name, his/her spouses name & kids and what is happening throughout the world with a global perspective. This is not to say someone needs to understand 4,000 years of nomadic middle eastern history but a general, reading of unbiased news might help. Oh yes, most importantly, listen. As John Friend, founder of Anusara yoga said to a group over the weekend “if you’re talking with someone and in your mind know what they’re going to say and mentally finish the sentence, you’re not listening”. Listen. Understand that person next to you is not less smart nor smarter than you but an equal with something to share. Listen. It’s also the fastest way to make people like you.

So what does this have to do with flying and fish? Everything. There are rules in the world that we have to obey in order to function with society – mutual respect is the biggest one. Secondly, once you know those rules, you may just start to soften yourself and listen to what you really truly desire in life and start moving in that direction. Once that ball starts rolling, there is no stopping you and the universe will only benefit from someone moving on their right path.

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