I’ll never forget the first time I experienced the Rocky Mountains. I hitch hiked from East Lansing, Michigan to Chicago. The next ride took me all the way into the mountains riding in a Mustang convertible. The early summer run off created sounds and sites I’d never experienced before. Outside Frisco, Colorado I piggy backed on a logging truck to Leadville. From there a hippie van took me over Independence Pass into Aspen. The mental, emotional, physical and spiritual stretch of those experiences changed me.
I also remember how my mind and heart was stretched when I first experienced the death of a loved one when I was eleven years old. After my paternal grandfather’s funeral I cried uncontrollably until we reached the cemetery. When my close friend and cousin died in a car crash six years later, I was a different person. I also remember the first kiss with my girl friend at the age of fifteen. There was never another like it . . .
I’ve heard it said many times that ‘Life is the ultimate teacher.’ With all that this includes, how could it be any other way? The open secret is that we have to learn what we’re constantly being taught. Rather than resist and ignore the teachings, we are called to stretch into them, learn from them, love through them and ultimately transcend and include them. All this can usher us into ever expanding dimensions of consciousness.
To me the purpose of Life is to grow, change, stretch, expand, love, serve and enjoy all that we experience with receptively, appreciation and smiling hearts. Does this sound foolish to you? As my body reminds me daily, we need to stretch, stay flexible, move with greater fluidity and grace. Without this inner and outer movement we become stiff, rigid, resistant and brittle. Life is forever moving us along this never ending river of soul.
A willingness to open and stretch into Life is to see ‘God’ events breaking into our human realm every day. This is called Theophany. It moves us beyond our fear based patterns into astonishment, love and joy. Do you remember your first ‘real’ kiss? Can you recall the first time you saw and experienced something so ‘awesome’ it stopped you in your tracks? Has everything you’ve ever experienced become so familiar that you take it all for granted and forget to ‘see’ the glory of life wherever you are?
If so, turn off the television, the computers, the internal chatter and go sit by a stream or watch the sunrise. Take a slow walk with your inner child and stop along the way to look at what you haven’t ‘seen’ for a long time. Take a solo trip someplace you’ve never been before. Do things you’ve never done before. Be with people you’ve never been with before. Stretch your mind, body, heart and soul beyond your habitual patterns.
Remember that “explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the gateway to the incomprehensible.” Stop explaining and start experiencing again. Stretch beyond your self imposed confines and allow yourself to be astonished again. Bring Life to Life!