You can’t trick the universe into giving you what you want by pretending to be at peace with how things are, by imitating what you think it would look like to be fully present where you are, all the while looking over your shoulder to see if some higher power has noticed and is about to deliver you to where you really want to be. ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer in The Call
This, to me, is the root of all bitterness, the sad outcome of not being fully present with one’s own situation and being envious of what appears to be the good fortune of others. I’ve seen a bit of that this year in people in my orbit and it distresses me. It’s so much easier to be in the moment, regardless of what that looks like; easier to not resist and go with the flow. And Oriah tells us why:
This is not a meritocratic system of reward and punishment. It’s about coming into alignment with what is and, because what is in a constant state of change, coming into alignment with that change, with that flow of life.
Of course the flow of life, the wave of movement with which you come into alignment may set you down someplace you could not have imagined.
And in every situation, no matter what options life presents to you, the choice about how to be where you are- here- remains yours.
When I was younger, Oriah’s writing spoke to me in one way and now, decades later, it’s still speaking to me, but at an even deeper level.
A friend I hadn’t seen in decades but who knew M and I when we were married the first time recently said to me
“You are the luckiest woman in the world. He was always such a nice man.”
My gut response to that is almost always “I don’t know what I did to deserve this man and this life.” As if the Universe hands out rewards (and therefore, also punishments) for behavior.
But as Oriah points out, it’s not about reward and punishment. It’s about coming into alignment –and a wave definitely set me down in place I never could have imagined. I keep waiting to figure out what I did to merit it–but it’s not the right question. In fact, why am I questioning it at all?
Rocks at Half Moon Bay
The concept of “choice” has always made sense to me. I do believe, like Oriah, that no matter where we are and what our circumstances, we can choose our response and our way of life. We are not powerless, at the effect of events. We can choose our response.
As I age and my peers and friends begin to suffer challenging illnesses, I wonder if I could rise to the occasion in their circumstance. If I could choose to live fully. Or if I would spin out on fear. I wonder if I could accept my circumstance and respond in a way that supports me and others around me. I’d rather not find out, of course, but you can’t reach 60 without thinking about these things. Life is about constant change and the older I get, the more I see it. Anything can happen, and that’s both beautiful and scary. Acceptance is simple but can be so hard.
* * *
Oriah has been my teacher for decades, through her books and other writing. Her beautiful and lyrical prose inspires me. If you’re not familiar with her books, pick one up some day soon.