What does it take to become more tender, open-hearted, and compassionate human beings in a world that trains us to judge, criticize, compare, blame, and shame? How does this evolutionary initiation happen, when one makes the journey from the head to the heart and the heart swells into actions that ease the suffering of others? What does it even mean to be compassionate?
Compassion and its compatriots—empathy, kindness, benevolence, gentleness, tenderness—they have a bad rap, suggesting weakness, passivity, becoming a doormat that other people can take advantage of. And yet, nothing is stronger—simultaneously fierce and feather gentle—than the open heart. Just look what a mother can call upon to protect her child when the child is in danger. Don’t mess with Mama Bear, and don’t mistake unconditional love for weakness. The ultimate strength lies in trusting that the heart can lay bare without getting trampled upon, not because there aren’t unkind people who can stomp across the raw, vulnerable parts of your heart with their dirty boots, but because YOU can become the fierce protector of your own heart without closing it or armoring it off. Because you’ve got your own back, love can flow through you unhindered as you bless the world simply with your presence.
You came like a bolt of lightning in the form of a man. You gazed into my eyes and showed me myself. You quieted my mind and dropped me into Awareness. You held my hand and coursed through me like a river of pulsing vibration. You came into me and shook me with pleasure. You told me all you know and showed me who I am. You glimpsed the future and revealed the past. You broke through my illusions and unveiled the truth. You created miracles and so did I. Together, we were a miracle. Together, we were God seeing God, Goddess staring into the eyes of Goddess, witnessing Creation Itself, Stillness Incarnate. We merged together, one Unibeing, one Mind, one Heart, one Body. We became heaven on earth, the Godself celebrating the Godself, Shiva dancing with Shakti, wholeness embodied, skipping hand in hand on the beach like magical children with enjoyment bodies of light.
There's a school of thought in spiritual circles that ascribes to the idea that everything that happens in our lives—the blissful things, the growth edge things, the horrid things—all happens with purpose. This spiritual teaching suggests that everything reflected in our lives is the result of our conscious or unconscious desires, and that when things aren't going our way, it's because the blueprint of the subconscious actually desires the very thing we think we don't want. In other words, we may believe that we want to meet the love of our life, or we may hope to have the cancer cured, but if someone were to muscle test us or read the subconscious mind intuitively, we would discover that at the level of the subconscious, we’re actually terrified of falling in love because of a past heartbreak, or the cancer is meeting some core need for rest, connection, or freedom from a toxic job, for example.
“Wait!” you say. “But I really DO want to find The One!” Or “Hang on a minute! I swear I want to be cured of my cancer.” Or “Watch it now. Are you suggesting that my business is failing because I want it to fail?”
Yes, and no. Those who promote this viewpoint are not suggesting that you CONSCIOUSLY want a crappy love life or cancer or failure in your business. They’re saying you subconsciously want it, and because your subconscious is in charge 95% of the time, this subconscious blueprint will sabotage the very thing your conscious mind wants to create. They say that everything in your life, you create. The good, the bad, the ugly—it’s all up to you.
Communing with the Pueblo ancestors at Bandelier National Monument
In the past couple of weeks, three people I love dearly died. Two were quite young and died tragically.
Scott was a beloved friend whose hand I held as he skyrocketed to very quick, meteoric fame. Scott, who founded Live Your Legend and gave this wonderful TEDx talk, died while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Scott and his wife Chelsea, who he has been with for more than a decade, had been traveling the world for the past eight months, checking one thing after another off their bucket lists. Every email I got from Scott while he was on the road was filled with exclamation points, laden with the exuberant enthusiasm that made everyone who met him fall in love with him instantly. After a day we spent together in the meditation garden at Green Gulch Zen Center, Scott wrote this fiercely brave blog post to reveal vulnerable details about himself as a way to inspire others to live authentically. He was so passionate about helping other people live authentic, vital lives that aligned with their callings that you could feel the fire in his soul burning through him and radiating out into the world. Some souls are just too big for their bodies. I can barely imagine a world without Scott in it. The day after Scott died, I was almost paralyzed with shock. But in spite of my inclination to stay in bed all day, I attended a sound healing conference, where this random woman came up to me and said, "You just lost someone you love. They want you to know that he was just called to a very important Divine assignment and has just been promoted to Lead Angel." Then she turned around and walked away. Later that day, a dear friend texted me to tell me Scott had just become Lead Angel. I can only imagine it must be true.
Recently, I spoke at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit, where 3000 people who yearn to make the world a better place gather to inspire one another and compare notes. My talk was, in part, about sacred activism, how we can find and fulfill our spiritual mission and allow our gifts and talents to be used in service to our life purpose. As part of my call to spiritual action to those in the WDS community, I shared something I wrote about in my upcoming book The Anatomy of a Calling.