Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week's message finds you well and encouraged. This week we consider:
"It came to Pass"
Many great stories begin with “It came to pass”, few, if any, begin with “It came to stay”.
Before my Mother’s passing last year, she shared with me this insight she, herself, learned from my sister: “It came to pass, not to stay”.
I had never really considered the meaning of the phrase “It came to pass” until that moment. It reminds me of a story I heard many years ago. A Monk who had studied and meditated for more than 20 years concluded that the most valuable insight he discovered is “All that rises falls”.
One of my coaches, Dr. Curt Spear, said to me soon after my grandfather died –with whom I was very close - “Think on the gift of your grandfathers passing”.
In that instance, my first thought was:
“In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering once it finds meaning” Sheryl Sandberg.
The gift of passing is truly one of life’s greatest lessons, I received this gift of awareness through the experience of both my grandfather’s passing in 2002 and my Mother’s passing last year. Everything comes to pass, nothing has come to stay. And ironically, it is in this full awareness that we are able to live a life more abundant. When we hold tightly to what has come our way, we can live more in the fear of its passing and less in the joy of its arriving.
A few months ago, it occurred to me that I have never checked into a fine hotel and sat on the bed depressed that I had to check out the next day. Apparently the brief stay is made more enjoyable without the illusion of permanence and subsequent fear of loss. Could this be one of the reasons we often enjoy a vacation away from home more than a staycation at home? When I started viewing my home as a place I get to live in today, with little to no concern for whether it will be my home tomorrow, my joy and appreciation for my home went through the roof. It's interesting how the thought of losing anything is itself an experience of loss.
Notice how we call what has come to pass a loss when it does indeed pass.
Did I lose my Mom, or was I gifted with her presence in my life for 52 years?
She never came to stay, she and everything else in my life has come to pass - even my own physical body has come to pass - and ironically, this awareness, for me, has made my life much more enjoyable.
Another coach and good friend of mine, Dr. Roger Hall, teaches the difference between Fear & Worry. Fear is present tense productive: Fight, Flight, Freeze. I like to say that without fear, we wouldn't be here.
Then, out of Fear, we created “Worry” or anticipatory fear that is unproductive. Worry can infect and steal away the joy that is available to us in each given moment. Joy is difficult to experience when we are under the illusion that what has come, has come to stay.
"Life is slavery if the courage to die is absent". -Seneca, Letters from a Stoic
Consider living the motto:
Memento mori (Latin: "remember that you have to die") is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality.
It is interesting how the courage to die can set us free to truly live.
When we can let it all go, we can come to find greater gratitude for whatever is present in the here-and-now.
Dr. Kevin Elko often shares a thought along these lines for contemplation:
"If you lost everything you valued yesterday and got it all back today, how would you feel?"
What a transformative insight!
This simple exercise is completely contrary to the experience of worrying over potential loss; contemplating the passing of all you hold dear, only to receive it again today?! As opposed to living in fear of losing in the future, what is present in your life today?!
One is Freedom and the other Slavery.
Consider how knowing and living "It came to pass", could free you from the pain and suffering of the belief that anything has come to stay. This way of living actually could help you enjoy more the gifts of today. Consider the conscious loss of everything when we lose consciousness at night - and the return of everything when we regain consciousness the next day. As Dr. Elko invites us to experience, embrace and receive back each new Morning awakening, what was lost during your night of sleep. Appreciate the little things that are not-so-little: waking up, oxygen in your lungs, roof over your head, clean water, electricity, heat. Not least of all, your loved ones waking up.
Consider caring less about the passing of what has come and caring more about what has come to you in this very moment - and the gift of consciousness to be conscious of it.
When we get what we need, an awakening to what we have in the here and now, we become more of what others need.
It came to pass - so enjoy it while it's here!
Make it a great week,