It’s an act of courage to stop chasing the carrot of transformation and the promise of a new you loaded with more success, more sex, more power, more fill in the blank. The stance to reject transformation and uphold fulfillment may seem like a subtle distinction or a play on semantics but, when truly embodied, self-fulfillment becomes a bold willingness to inhabit the mystery of your ordinariness. The great good news is that in our ordinariness we realize and actualize our innate extraordinariness.
When I settle in, the first sense of what I might later decide to call gratitude is an experience of awareness. This awareness is directly focused on the breath that is breathing me. I realize that my breath is the first gift bestowed upon me. My breath was given to me by some mystery whose existence is before and beyond my capacity to even court its generosity. This unearned kindness tells me that, contrary to popular belief, I’m inherently worthy and loved. I’m not breathing because of something I did or did not do, some request I petitioned for or a promise I made. I’m breathing because the source of breath deemed that I should breathe. Period.
It was at Esalen this summer when Bernie was forging a channel of change into the collective zeitgeist as a rising liberal anti establishment truth teller sage and savior. I was in the lodge watching one of the primary debates clandestinely, as Esalen doesn’t have a particularly robust wifi stream and prefers that technology remain in the background, if it is present at all. But I couldn’t resist. It felt like too important a time and too important a moment for me to not at least take a peek. While nonchalantly watching my iPhone on my lap with my earbuds in, I noticed the young attractive man at the table next to mine. He was probably in his late twenties with dark hair, brown eyes, three-day-old facial hair, and a mischievous though cautious smile. I caught him watching me and made a casual invitation for him to join which he politely refused.
I remember when it all came tumbling down on me—the moment when I collapsed in a heap under the realization that I was not real. I had already suspected this was true, but knowledge can’t touch the inherent truth of what is. I was completely obliterated.Read more