It occurs to me that almost all of us, for almost all the time, live as slaves and/or victims. What are we slaves of? Of reward and punishment. Of praise and blame.
We are slaves of appreciation, of validation, of praise, of inclusion, of reward. These leave us feeling good (and BIG) about ourselves and our place-role the world. They can and often do elevate us from the ‘hell to heaven’.
We are also slaves of blame, criticism, ridicule, exclusion and punishment. These leaves us feeling bad (and SMALL) about ourselves and our place-role in the world. They can and usually do ‘snatch us from heaven and leave us in hell’ sometimes for long periods of time.
As I said you/i/we live as victims. Victims of whom/what? Victims of the people who around us whose opinions matter. Victims of the prevailing conventions and standards around what constitutes a normal-good-successful person. Let me be clear, the ‘gate-less gate’ (to use a Buddhist expression) will never open for you/i if you/i continue to choose to live like slaves and victims.
It occurs to me that those of who choose to play BIG in life are asked to show up and travel in life in a particular manner. What kind of manner? I leave you with a quote that points at that which I speak of:
I remember days of difficult labour in a spiritual school where we were encouraged to keep a balanced attention through all kinds of situations. I was given the task of grooming a horse.
From mane to tail, from hooves right up, I worked for hours.
Then the teacher came and after a brief inspection said, “Very poor job, superficial and sloppy.” He and I watched as my heart sank.
But then something rebounded: I knew I had done my best; I knew that I could not be a slave to reward or blame. In that moment, I saw the twinkle in his eye as he turned and left.
– Kabir Edmund Helminski, Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & The Essential Self
I say that you/i grant ourselves the space to play BIG in life as soon as (and for as long as) you/i show up and travel in this world in a manner that calls to us, walk on the paths that calls us, travel towards destinations/outcomes that call us. And irrespective of what others say and how they treat us, we ask ourselves the following question: “Am I showing up and travelling in life in a manner where in my being-doing I am giving it my all? “
If the honest answer is “Yes!” then I say you/i can be at peace with whatever shows up: reward, punishment, praise, blame, inclusion, exclusion..
If the honest answer is “No” then I say this answer is an opportunity to look into what is missing the presence of which would allow you/i to say “Yes!”. Is it that the path no longer calls you/me? Is it that you/i are simply in need of some rest, some time out, to energise? Is it that you/i need to get creative about generating a different way of travelling the path?
I ask you to play BIG! I ask you to show and travel in a manner that calls to you. I ask you to be OK with doing your best. I ask the same of myself.
It occurs to me that there is more to say. So I invite you to consider the following as a place to show up and operate from:
- Only the imperfect demand perfection of themselves in order to feel perfect; and
- The access to perfection is being OK with your imperfection AND giving your living all the you have to give AND being OK with knowing that you did and are doing your best.