What Happens When You Start Listening For Life's Beauty

What you focus on, you’re going to find.

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Intentionality be damned. I had what I had and didn’t care where it came from — the focus was on what I wanted. I would wake up, some days heading straight to work a disheveled mess, while others watching an ego-inflating YouTube video before some morning exercise. However the day began, there was no “Thank you” amongst the sea of need, as I embarked on yet another 24-hour trek to silence my inner demons.

It’s wild what can happen with a simple flip of the lens. Most of us are too resigned and apathetic to wholeheartedly attempt some of these basic recommendations, to which they therefore are scolded for being too simple. There’s too much in the way to really see, feel or hear what could be possible. 

Many of us are looking for that detailed 10-part plan, the meal-by-meal diet, the comprehensive developmental course, the overly-complicated manifestation program to surmount the inadequacies we never speak of, but desperately want to fix.

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I was one of those people. Quite frankly, I still am. The tendency to overlook what’s already there for that perfect resolution still clings to my coattails. Nothing changes until I’m willing to tell the truth about what’s going on in my life. Until I’m willing to give up the idea that it has to be perfect, every box checked off.

As I said in a recent post, it’s not that we’re not loving ourselves enough, we’re just really good at telling ourselves something’s missing. We actually shower ourselves with love. Roughly every second of the day revolves around what we’re getting and what’s going on with us. But love, whether self-oriented or simply out there in the world, has nothing to do with filling a need or a gap. Love is accepting things for what they are and what they are not. Our focus is not here. It’s the focus on the second part —the what’s missing — that makes for an empty experience of life.

When I stopped listening to what went on in my head, when I began consistently distinguishing that stuff as nothing but noise, I started getting freed up. There’s a big difference between having a thought and deliberately thinking. When the two get collapsed, every thought that passes through gets justified as valid — there is no inquiry as to whether or not it’s helpful to give recognition to. 

Yes, the mind is there to make sense of things — it’s designed for protection. But sometimes there is no making sense of feelings — they’re just feelings. You have to be bold enough to call those feelings nonsense from time to time, and accept that they’re just happening with you right now.

Art is not science. Trying to fit the fluidity of human emotion into the rigid expectations we have for our lives takes away all appreciation for it. The paradox being human very much has to do with deeming the nonsense in our head as valid, while being resistant to label the ordinary as remarkable.

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My mind suppresses things — experiences, conversations, feelings, people — while my heart honors them. My heart (as well as yours) is cognizant of the humanity that’s present. My heart knows no perfection other than exactly how people show up. My heart can appreciate everything going on, both on the surface and beneath it. Listening and experiencing through my heart may be risky, but I refuse to let my mind run the show ever again.

I’m so close to life right now it’s scary. But I’ve never felt more alive. I feel the aliveness because, unlike before, I feel the fact that none of this is guaranteed. I’ve allowed myself to “go there”, despite how uncomfortable it may make me. I really feel I lucked into this all. It was all given to me. It’s precious.

Nothing changed externally. I put words around things, change their meanings and all of a sudden I regularly experience a tidal wive of emotion, simply because I choose to. It’s touching. My choice has power. So does yours. 

This view is no better or more important than any other way to experience life, for it’s simply the one I’m leveraging for the time being. What I’ve really gotten however, is outside of my memory and biased predictive index, there is no past or future me. He’s of no importance or value to the man sitting here typing these words on the keyboard, who will quickly be moved into memory once I hit “Publish”.

It’s stunning this thing called life. These things called people. And the fact that nothing will last but a few universal truths, that of which we cannot see.

So for now, I suspend my concerns and take a glance in a stranger’s eyes, followed by an unsure smile — hopefully communicating the message I accept and acknowledge him for being here on this rolling rock together, operating on nothing more than a wing and a prayer.

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You may be thinking I overdo it sometimes — a product of leading with your heart and not your head. That I’m extra. You may be right. After all, there is no inherent reason to spew this stuff out on the page other than the hope it makes the person reading it feel a little more optimistic and thankful for the opportunity they have.

There’s also no reason to gossip, get upset when something doesn’t go your way, or belittle people when they make a mistake — we do all that, too.

So I don’t know. I’m just here doing the little of which I know — communicating what’s in my heart. I’m tired of the suppressing, of the resignation, of the pull-back. Of not speaking up. Of not being there for people. If that makes me a weirdo, so be it. For as Steve Jobs said, it’s the ones crazy enough to believe they can change the world, are the ones who do.

I’m not saying I’m going to change the world — I’m merely one person. It’ll take a movement for that to occur, and I don’t care who starts it — I just want to be around when it happens. A movement of listening. Of acknowledgement. Of acceptance. Of living like we are all enough just as we are.

And we can all move forward honoring each other. Serving one another. Making each other’s stay here on Earth just a little less nervewracking.

The resignation and the cynicism is what breeds the negativity and the evil. It’s only when all hope is lost do the most despicable actions move from thought to action.

I will not give the darkness any more fuel. I can be light simply by listening for where it is and acknowledging the hell out of it. It will transform both my own experience of life and the person I’m crediting.

It all starts with listening.

The question is, what are you listening for?

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