By Bob Mueller
I remember the time two springs ago when I was determined to paint the sunroom. Up early, to the hardware store gathering the gallons of white paint, the wooden mixing sticks, the drop cloths, and the one-time brushes that always harden, no matter what you soak them in.
I mixed the paint outside and waddled to the door with a gallon in each hand, the drop cloth under my arm and a wide brush in my mouth. I chuckle when I think about what happened next: I teetered there for minutes, trying to open the door, not wanting to put anything down. I was so stubborn. I had the door almost open when I lost my grip, stumbled backward, and wound up on the ground with white paint all over me.
Amazingly, we all do this, whether with groceries or paint or with the stories we feel determined to share. We do this with our love, with our sense of truth, even with our pain. It’s such a simple thing, but in a moment of ego, we refuse to put down what we carry in order to open the door. Time and time again, we are offered the chance to truly learn this: We cannot hold on to things and enter. We must put down what we carry, open the door, and then take up only what we need to bring inside.
It is a basic human sequence: gather, prepare, put down, and enter. But failing as we do, we always have that second chance: to learn how to fall, get up, and laugh.
Meditate on some threshold you are having trouble crossing in your life. It might be at work, at home, in a relationship, or at the doorway to great peace. Breathe steadily and look to yourself to see if you are carrying too much to open the door. Breathe slowly and with each out-breath, put the things you are carrying down. Breathe freely now and open the door.
While rushing to complete your dearest plans, you can bump into another and groceries will fly, and while picking up the ketchup, you might fall in love. Or the death of a grandparent might open a side of you that is starving for history. Or, understanding geometry, you might decide to become a gardener, finding endless joy in creating landscapes.
It seems that any moment of interest or pain or adversity can surprise us into the larger totality of life, breaking our current limits and allowing us the chance to redefine ourselves in regard to the larger sense that is upon us. That we are opened, so suddenly, so often, is the way the soul unfolds the earth.
We can only prepare for how we might respond to the gift of surprise that often moves in on us faster than our reflex to resist. Life is surprising, thank God. For God is seldom in our plan but always in the unexpected.
I make these 10 commitments every day. You might find them helpful too.
- I commit to freedom.
- I commit to authenticity.
- I commit to acceptance.
- I commit to relax.
- I commit to wholeness.
- I commit to forgiveness.
- I commit to love.
- I commit to abundance.
- I commit to truth.
- I commit to peace.
Bob Mueller is Vice President of Development at Hosparus.