We walk on the earth for a very short time and while we are here we can choose to love with abandon. We have the power to either create or destroy in the process of discovering what it means to be fully human. In my work as a spiritual counselor, I play the role of one who ministers to bodies, hearts and souls and I am passionate about uncovering what is most essential and what leads to living a fulfilling life. I recognize that when we contemplate the essential our lives take on deeper meaning and often we experience a sense of contentment, gratitude and joy. We actually become more alive.
Herein lies the possibility of finding true peace by engaging with what feeds us. We require this kind of soul nourishment to counterbalance the ever present reality of old age, sickness, tragedy and death. When we come to terms with the fact that this is the human trajectory we may choose to open our hearts to what I call “full spectrum living.”
Opening in this way means recognizing where experiences of struggle, strife, pain, suffering and loss intersect with experiences of joy, bliss, ecstasy, fulfilment and grace. This is the nature of life and it is here that we are stretched like a long, thin piece of salt water taffy that we’ve purchased on the boardwalk after a day at the beach; embracing all of this makes us human.
It seems like almost every day I hear about someone else I know who has Cancer, people who’ve been in accidents, dear ones being diagnosed with mental illness or are having nervous breakdowns, others going through ugly divorces and then there is news of natural disasters, global warming, war, increased incidence of human trafficking and more.
The pain of being human is as deep as the ocean while the bliss of embodiment takes us to soaring heights that even eagles cannot reach. Although despair may lurk in the shadows and in dusty corners of rooms in which we’d prefer not to tread, the grace of friendship shines as a bouquet of Stargazer lilies spontaneously gifted to us by a close friend radiantly smile from the kitchen table reminding us that we are loved, the scent of their sweetness wafting through the air as the morning sunlight streams in casting shadows across the parquet. You know the feeling of being drenched in this flavor of the divine, yes? You’ve had some decadent flowers grinning at you from their post in a tall vase, haven’t you?
Experiences of love and delicate beauty soften our hearts and bring us into the stunning reality of being human.
Perhaps you have known the sweet tenderness that makes you smile from ear to ear as you’ve witnessed children playing? The other night we sat on the soft, brown velvety sofa, drowsy from a good meal watching our beautiful nine-year old girls in their joyous sincerity as they excitedly performed their stuffed animal fashion show; in moments like these the contrast between joy and despair is obvious and gratitude arises as we bask in a moment of innocent play.
Full spectrum living invites us to awaken each morning opening our eyes to a new day as we stretch and yawn, perhaps not realizing that by incarnating we have signed a contract in invisible ink, stating that we are willing to welcome everything that comes our way. This is our assignment as humans. Some days we can manage it fairly well.
We cook our children breakfast and make lunch as we feed the dog and pack a bag for our long day ahead, a day that will be filled with work, maybe visiting a friend in the hospital, volunteering at school and tending to our home. If we are lucky we might find a moment for ourselves like going to yoga, hiking, playing music, dancing, meditating or writing.
We participate fully in the game of life and in the end we will each rest in the same silent place.
We may find ourselves at the end of the road having loved deeply, lost much, having tasted the succulent manna of a beloved’s kiss, having danced ourselves into oblivion or walked so far that our feet became blistered and sore; perhaps we have known the sanctity of tender silence- and in the end we are asked to release it all.
Eventually must let go of everything, everyone we have loved, all we have achieved and not achieved, possessions too are relinquished, all of it will be gone save the seeds of love that we’ve sown in our hearts; it is only this which matters in the end.
The love we have cultivated is what has any sway at the moment when we are taking our very last breath. The depth of our loving opens us into peace and freedom as the sands of time dwindle and we exhale into the great unknown of Death. We live with the knowledge that we will die from early on. This piece of knowledge either terrorizes us into living with extreme caution, planning and attempting to control or it inspires us to dare, to be bold and unapologetic; in other words to live fully.
Life is short. Years pass by as quickly as meteors travel through the night sky. Will you seize the moment? If the answer is “yes” I ask you to contemplate questions like: What is the purpose of my life? How do I make the best use of the time I have left? What does it mean to really live?
Full spectrum living is a choice. If you want to know more about this relax, take a luxurious deep breath and pause. Life reveals itself in the pause. Give yourself time to contemplate the essentials and to discover what it means to be authentic, to love deeply and to take the exquisite risk of being fully human.