“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” wrote Annie Dillard. There are times when the silt of our experience clogs up the arteries of joy. When we spend our lives in days devoid of mystery and wonder.
Finding fault with things outside ourselves becomes habitual, a dripping tap that depletes our lives of the glorious rush of joy and wonderment.Our obsession for thrills, shock and catastrophe corrupts our innocence with the corrosive cyanide of cynicism.
The stories we tell ourselves shape our world. We see what we expect to see. Mystics and shamans, artists and poets have known this for centuries. “Where you look affects how you feel,” says psychologist, author, and developer of brain-based therapy, Dr David Grand, author of “Brainspotting”.
Psychologist, Ken Wilber, suggests that each decision we make, every action we take, requires a construction of boundaries. We can choose and choose again to remain in our relationships or our jobs. We can draw a boundary around what we choose not to choose. We can choose to be grateful and we can choose to be unhappy. We can choose to spend our days trawling through Facebook or watching news which drowns or lifts our spirit.
To the alchemists mercurius was the world-creating spirit. And the spirit imprisoned and concealed in matter. So our mind (Mercury) determines the boundaries of world we live in. We may trap ourselves in a world that we have created by our own perception of reality. We may stay stuck in our own creation. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that the very act of observing itself affects that which we observe. The way we observe and evaluate our inner and outer landscape will predispose us to notice a sunflower thrusting its face towards the sun or a discarded cigarette butt lying in the gutter. The way we observe and evaluate our inner and outer landscape will predispose us to see the love we have been yearning for in the eyes of our partner. Seeing with the heart requires faith and hope and a willingness to look through and beyond the boundaries that confine us.
Pollyanna said, “there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.” And in the midst of the horror surrounding her family during the German occupation of the Netherlands, Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
So if we can learn to see with soft eyes this world around us. And if we can be patient and self-loving in our hunt, we may seek out the magical, the wondrous, in the ordinary everyday things that gladden our hearts.
Seeing with our hearts is an art that comes naturally to the very young and those fortunate few who “trip the light fantastic” all through this lifetime. It is an art that must be cultivated with gentleness and diligence in our relationships.
The Magical Child archetype can be constellated more easily by those that notice the dragons swirling in ouroboric circles through diaphanous skeins of cloud than those who consult an app to know that today will bring rain. Faith and hope come so naturally, so easily to the very young and to those courageous enough to allow Hope to fly on white wings. Hope and Love endure in all great works of literature, art and film. And yet, for some, “hope is a tease,” as the Dowager Countess of Grantham of Downton Abbey says to her former lover Prince Kuragin, “designed to prevent us from accepting reality.” Perhaps the magic trick is to balance discernment and intelligent thinking with faith and hope. To make space in the busyness of our lives for unbounded dreams and curious observation. To trust our intuition to guide us into chance encounters and surprising new experiences.
Anna Quindlen writes, “you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul. People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor”… Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.”
So look around. Allow your eyes to soften as you gaze without words into the face of the one you love today. Life is Glorious.
Natalie Imbruglia – Glorious