Everybody’s looking for a curriculum that will teach them how to live the life that’s really life.
So we write & buy books, we create elaborate life plans, we change our bodies, we change careers, we change families. We secretly read People Magazine, gazing and laughing and longing.
We change Everything. In search of Something.
What if your very own life, the one you actually live, is the curriculum that will most help you to become the beautiful, imperfect, integrated self that you long to become? All the shiny graduation moments alongside all the shameful secrets. All of it. What if the first step towards the life that’s really life, is to finally stop running?
And to start embracing your life. The one you’re living, right now.
What if leaning all the way in to that life is what will most help you and heal you?
Leaning all the way in to your actual life is not accepting what is evil, or living with what is unacceptable. You begin things and end things. You make difficult decisions. Leaning into your life is owning your life. It’s not passive.
Owning your actual life means first that you embrace your story; the whole one with no shameful bald spot or gut wrenching regret left out. What if doing so creates a mosaic, that when put together and healed by God, becomes beautiful, and radiant? These people become a gentle, healing presence in the world. Honestly, more than making an impact or changing the world, what I most want to be is a gentle, healing presence.
Here’s the beautiful secret: Leaning into the curriculum of your actual life happens moment by moment; that’s all there is. And the more we learn to live our moments – not in some ridiculous carpe diem sort of way, which denies the pain of leaning into the incredibly difficult ones and just creates pressure – the more we understand that every moment is a beginning. The beautiful secret is that ours is a life of endless beginnings. And that’s what gives us grace when we inevitably reach for the thing that will take us out of the moment. Like waves rolling in, a new moment will crash on top of that moment, inviting us back to our actual lives, and they come with a single question: Will we live it?
“Joy or sadness, war or peace, love or hate, purity or impurity, charity or greed, all are tremendous realities which are the hinges of our interior life. Everyday things, relationships with other people, daily work, love of our family – all of these may breed saints.
Jesus at Nazareth taught us to live every hour of the day as saints. Every hour of the day is useful and may lead to divine inspiration, the will of the Father, the prayer of contemplation – holiness. Every hour of the day is holy. What matters is to live it as Jesus taught us.
And for this one does not have to shut oneself in a monastery or fix strange and inhumane regimes for one’s life. It is enough to accept the realities of life. Work is one of those realities; motherhood, the rearing of children, family life with all its obligations are others.”
What reality do you need to accept about your actual life? What gift of grace do you need to lean into it and live it?