Monday, May 05, 2008

Going Forward... and Not Back

I like watching and listening to great, inspiring speakers! It is one of the things in life that I enjoy the most, truth be told. There is always something to be learned and integrated when a masterful speaker shares spiritual truth!

In a talk I heard yesterday by Joel Osteen, he was talking about the importance of not settling in the our present/past and expecting life to remain the same.

Sometimes we cling so desperatley to 'the way things were' that we miss the opportunity to move with life and embrace a larger expression of what is available to us.

The known is comforting to us. It is natural to enjoy a familiar setting or circumstance. There is nothing wrong with that, unless it prevents us from the inevitable process of growth and change that is part and parcel of life.

If we are not growing, changing and evolving... we are withering, shrinking and dying. We are created to grow and evolve. It is our essential nature. WHen we inhibit that divine impulse... we experience pain and suffering.

In the Jewish Talmud, there is a verse that says, "Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers 'Grow, grow'."

When we allow ourselves to flow with this divine destiny, we attain the highest levels of peace and fulfilment possible.

When we resist change and growth, we experience pain and struggle. What would happen if a we continued to try to wear our baby clothes as adults? Not a pretty picture. We can't go back. And yet... many of us try.

In times of uncertainty or stress, we might yearn to 'go back' into familiar habits (sometimes destructive ones), relationships (sometimes unhealthy ones), careers (sometimes life draining ones). This is a natural yearning for security and 'the known' but it is a dead end street. Life calls us forward.

Joel gave a couple of quotes that I found very inspiring and useful in his talk:

"Sometimes if we don't take the hint, God will close the door for us." I particularly relate to this one. WHen we are called to change directions and we don't... sometimes we are pushed in the new direction against our will.

"Where something starts is not necessarily where it finishes." We do tend to want things to remain the same. Everything changes. Everything. THere is no avoiding that universal truth.

"What was good in the past was good FOR the past. God is a progressive God." I really like this one. THere is no need to tear apart the experiences of our past, in order to move on from them. A relationship might have been very sweet and wonderful for it's season, and then things change. Maybe they aren't so good anymore. Maybe its time to move on. That doesn't take away one bit of what was good about the relationship. It was right for its time. To release something with grace, and move into the next experience is a powerful and skillful way to approach life. Whether its a relationship, job, the shape we are in, the stages of growth for our kids... whatever it is... we can allow the old to have been 'good' for its time... and then move into an embrace of what is true today.

Whenever we feel the urge to go backward in our lives, or to cling to something we feel might be slipping away, I encourage us to pause, reflect, acknowledge our discomfort and fear... and lean in to the new. When we lean in to something we allow and invite it in to our experience. We move with it instead of struggling against it.

Take a deeep breath and lean in to whatever new experience is trying to manifest itself in your life today. It's what you were born to do!

No comments: