Life's Challenges

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are. ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon, Singer/Composer

Friday, April 15, 2011

What weaves the stories of our lives?

"Love, soul, and freedom: these three weave the stories of our lives.  The who, what, when, and where fill in the details and give variation to the plots, but the themes don't get more basic.
     Love is what we all want in life and what we look for first.  It's our passion for living, forming the sea in which our souls swim.  Like the sea, love nurtures and sustains us, but it also offers us somewhere to go with our lives.  Love creates the worlds that our souls explore.  Who and what we love channel our energies, drawing us to this person or that, down one path or another.  Led by our loves, we connect with the worlds around us.  We create places where we belong, where our souls are nourished with meaning and purpose, as well as where we relax, play, and have fun.  Through the intimacy of relationships, we come to know both others and ourselves in love's mirror.  Love brings our souls into focus.
     Soul is our guiding center, our touchstone for what feels right in life and what's ours to do.  Soul is our reason for coming here as well as our reason for staying.  Soul tells us about us--not as others want, expect, or imagine us to be, but as we are in our innermost being.  When we go to the depths of sorrow, confusion, or despair, it's our souls that take us there and see us through.  Or if we experience exhilarating joy, it's our souls that lift us up with a bigger-than-life knowing: 'So that's what it all means!'  Soul is our core, our essence, the ground of who we are, even if we're not at all sure who this soul of ours is or what he or she has in mind for us.
     Freedom gives our souls and loves air to breathe.  Like the air, freedom is a given, at least as far as our souls are concerned.  It's not granted by people, institutions, or governments, or else it'd be theirs to withhold.  Freedom is air to us, because it gives us the space we need to follow our souls and pursue our loves.  Without freedom, our souls suffocate.  With it, they take off; we create, experiment, fumble, and learn.  Freedom says that anything is possible and that it's our birthright to explore possibilities wherever our souls and loves take us.  Sometimes our souls take us down the path of losing everything--a terminal disease, divorce, bankruptcy, or scandal--to show us how free we are beyond externals.  With 'nothing to lose,' we abandon shoulds and oughts and go for our dreams.
     Love, soul, and freedom are natural companions, together creating the fire in the mind, heart, chest, belly, or wherever that makes us happy to get up in the morning.  United--love, soul, and freedom are the Force incarnate, guiding us and permeating our lives with meaning and purpose, even if their presence isn't evident until hindsight.  Love, soul, and freedom are inseparable, and on the deepest levels of our being, that's how we experience them.  When we're on vacation, for instance, we get a taste of these three living happily together: we surround ourselves with who and what we love, let down our hair, and do as we choose."

~ Denise Breton and Christopher Largent, Love, Soul, & Freedom: Dancing with Rumi on the Mystic Path

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