It took me a while to slow down long enough to not only recognize, but appreciate, the great order to the universe. For a long time, I thought I was unique, apart from, separate, different. I lived my life according to my own rules, controlling and manipulating to have the world work as I thought it should. Of course, it never did, and I’d be left feeling hurt, lost, depressed, and angry. I was either mad or depressed for most of my life.
I knew the sun came up every day and set every evening. I was aware of weather patterns and seasons. I recognized there was a high tide and a low tide. I knew the earth and solar system ran on some kind of power to make all these things happen. But I never saw myself as part of it.
It was when I had lived in anger and pain long enough, when I had created my own world of chaos and destruction, when I had tried over and over to set things right and was met with continued failure, that I finally started analyzing the Universal order with more curiosity.
Somehow, the Universe kept moving forward. The earth kept revolving around the sun. The moon kept revolving around the earth. The Santa Ana winds came every fall. June was always gloomy. The trees always started blooming again. The hummingbirds all started coming out each February. The moon would be full every 28th day. I could count on these things. They were unmovable. I started to appreciate their consistency. I realized that all these things would carry on if I were on this planet or not. I, no matter how hard I had tried to fool myself throughout my life, was not running the show.
Even more, I realized this outside force that was taking care of the rest of nature was taking care of me as well. I realized that I AM nature. I am a part of this great tapestry of life. I’m not apart from it at all. My life is woven into the very fabric of the Universe. How assured I could be realizing that to the animals of the air, water, and earth, I belong. I am one with all of it. And whatever is running this whole thing has got me as well.
I don’t have to fight anymore. I go with the flow, knowing that nature will take its course. Yes, there is destruction in nature. There is violence. There is brutality. But there is also the unstoppable force of life. With every forest fire, isn’t there a brand new forest that begins to grow from the released seeds? With every hurricane, is there not plant life that thrives from the blowing of seeds and saturation of rain? Even concrete poured to cover the earth still bears dandelions in its cracks. Life is unstoppable.
There is the never-ending process of death and life, chaos and order, destruction and benefit. Is it not the same way in our own lives? If we look hard enough we can always see the good that came from the darkest part of our lives. But we must choose life. We can’t actively block it with our own ideas of running the show. We submit to life. We submit to the natural order of things. We accept. We adjust.
It’s not the strongest that survive. It’s the most adaptive that survive. Life comes. We let it. We adjust. I stop trying to control life. It is my place to adapt, not control. That is the natural order of things. That is my place in the world.
Today, I try to follow the three rules of a proper apology - 1) I'm sorry; 2) It's my fault; 3) What can I do to make it right? - If I can follow these three rules, I give myself a great gift: the freedom of knowing I have taken care of my part. I do what I can to make things right again. I take the lesson of my mistake and hopefully don't repeat it. Then I let it go. It is up to the other person to forgive or not forgive. I can rest, knowing I've done my part, knowing that I may have failed, but I'm not a failure. I have a long way to go on this still. But I hope that as time goes on, and I learn more and experience safe places to be sorry, I can learn that it's okay to be wrong. Being wrong doesn't mean I'm a failure.
And take care of yourself. Don't lose yourself in their problems. The Universe is working everything out perfectly and in perfect timing. Trust it!
Calm down. There is no need to worry yourself. Take a few breaths. Be at peace. You have moved on from the dagger' blade. The wound now just needs to heal. Believe in yourself. Things are working themselves out. It takes time. Be patient. He wants to be here with you. Don’t protect everyone else at the expense of your inner peace. Your needs are important too. Look at you! Look at who you have become. That’s just it. Becoming. It is always a learning process. Things take time. Don’t be in such a hurry. Remember that the learning process brings joy too. Hardships. And joy. It will all work out. You know that. It’s the unknowing that causes anxiety. Try to remain at peace, knowing the Universe has it all under control. Whatever happens, it is exactly as it’s supposed to happen. Endure the discomfort. Suffer through it. It will be worth it at the other end. It always is. You already know that.
“True humility is not thinking less of ourselves. It is thinking of ourselves less.” – C.S. Lewis
I love this quote. It truly is the essence of humility.
The word is confusing in our culture. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people.” That sounds great on paper. However, many people associate the word ‘humility’ with the negative word ‘humiliation’, which is defined as “to reduce to a lower position in one's own eyes or others' eyes”. Humiliation is no fun.
What right do I have to say I am better than you? I have character flaws just like you do. We may not have the same flaws, but who is to judge my flaws are any better than yours? Let’s remember we are on the same plane. That means I could also ask the question “what right do I have to say I am worse than you?” If I want to be humble, I don’t have to lower myself to a position of any less importance than you. We are equal.
I have struggled my entire life with alternately feeling less than and feeling better than. The character flaws I have recognized that keep me from feeling equal to, and therefore keep me from effectively practicing humility, are fear and pride.
We are all souls here on earth learning the lessons we need to learn to move on. My journey really has nothing to do with your journey. You may help me at times, and I may assist you, but that doesn’t mean either of us is better than the other. It means the Universe put each of us in the other’s path for a specific reason, to help us learn a lesson we are here to learn.
But back to C.S. Lewis…
If I am continually worried if I am better than you or less than you, I am constantly thinking only of me. If I accept that we are equal, journeying this world together side by side, I will be much more effective at listening to the gentle nudging of the Universe to ways in which I can help you on your path. I can remain humble by thinking of myself less. I am aware. I am listening. I can be of use to the earth and its people instead of being fearful or prideful and therefore cutting myself off from people. I can be truly humble.
I'm just a traveler, a dreamer, like you.