There Is No Other Way

There is no other way.
Boy, do I resist that statement in most areas of life. To lock into the belief that there is only one path, one “right” way is so harsh for oneself and all one encounters. It is so divisive and limiting. Why would you choose to put limits on your own life? Go ahead, find one place where you have believed there is only one way to do something and then challenge that belief by exploring, researching, experiencing.
Each time we put limits on our experience it is a little death to the soul. I believe we are here to experience life, the joys and sorrows, the fullness of the human experience and to know the love of God and our birthright of oneness with all that is created. I believe there are many ways to do this and, as such, there can be no one right way.
Have you ever had a really amazing teacher? One that leads you to discovery, not one that just tells you what is going to be on the test. Because in real life, this life, we cannot know what will be on the test and there is no powerpoint to memorize. In this life you must engage fully and without reservation. A great teacher points the way and you, as a great student, must engage to realize what is being pointed at, do not focus on the teacher’s finger and miss the moon to which the teacher is pointing.
So find those places where you think, “It’s all I know,” or “This is the one right way,” and challenge the idea, maybe try to figure out where that came from even. It can be simple like changing a hand position in a yoga pose, or using mustard instead of catsup with your fries, or it can be big like opening your mind and heart to different religions to find the truth that runs through all, or it can be tremendously huge, like accepting the validity of Associated Press refusing to use the serial or Oxford comma. Yeah, I know, I’m not there with that last one either. But I am open to the argument and that is a start because if there is anything I have learned from my parents, Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle, it is that there is more than just one way.

Contagion

“Fear is contagious and so is courage”      -Elizabeth Gilbert

I read this in an email from Tami Simon of Sounds True. Like all well-crafted guideposts that point to the one truth, it made me think. We as a society are very thoughtful about the people we surround ourselves with in regards to their disease state. We have PSAs about how to sneeze or cough in a crowd, we use hand sanitizer like modern-day armor and tell others to stay home if we hear they are sick. We do not want to catch the disease and we certainly don’t want someone spreading disease in our community. We recognize how disease and illness inhibit our productivity, impair physical and financial well-being, and just get in the way of our constitutional right to pursue happiness.

Yet are we as thoughtful about the internal state of those around us and the fact that this is also contagious? Have we as a society created a version of leper colonies wherein everyone in this group has the same fears? Those who are afraid of not being enough and so must “look” successful via a big house, expensive car, the mate who meets all the check-list wants? Are our leper colonies filled with others who support our illness to the point we pass the fear-sickness back and forth and strengthen it?

Or do we surround ourselves with those who have the courage to walk their own path thus encouraging others to do the same? Are the people around us supporting each other in finding unique ways to joy and contentment, are they able to truly connect on a heart and soul level, can we be different and still be connected? Do we spread the germ of fearless vulnerability and acceptance in our connections with the people in our community?

As we enter the season of (hopefully) connecting with our family and friends, perhaps we should take a good look at what our group has in common, what is the contagion, and make sure it is something we want to catch.