Seven years ago, some friends of mine facilitated a course called “Build Your Own Theology” at the Unitarian church in DC. Love those Unitarians. Our ‘final’ product was a personal credo, or statement of beliefs. Included in my own credo was this dualistic pair:
Reflection: “Spirit of life, come unto me”
Action: “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”
I love paradoxes and the challenges of holding them at the same time. I think it is a sign of maturity, and usually presents great opportunities for growth. When we go for BOTH/AND rather than Either/Or, we are afforded a chance to do it all, to walk in another’s moccassins, to see the interconnectedness of people, beings, and choices.
What a great pair this makes. I was thinking about it this morning as I flitted about Santa Barbara on my bike, running to the farmers market and poking around the Meet Your Makers artisan vendors, and yet also trying to enjoy the fact that it is Saturday morning, catching myself to feel the cool breeze as it passes through the glittery leaves of an oak tree before caressing my cheek.
I also thought about it a lot during my wedding week in Mexico earlier this month, as I tried to do everything and see everyone, and yet also follow the sage advice of so many friends to step back and just absorb the experience. How to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs?
How do we move toward growth and advancement and peak experiences, and yet get better and better at sitting in stillness? How do we achieve all that’s on our bucket list*, and leave time for slow meals with friends, solitary hikes, and meditation retreats? How do we become the best at our chosen [CAREER / VOCATION / HOBBY / ART] and the most centered, spiritually adept, and ready for our moment of death that we can be?
(* A side note on bucket lists. I really like this site, “Day Zero Project,” that lets you make a list of 101 things to do in 1000 days, and then check them off, plus explore and borrow from what others are doing. Check out my list if you like.)
The answer, of course, is that I don’t have a good one, but it’s in the journey. The act of holding this paradox forces me to be more mindful in my active pursuits, and to not be lazy in my spiritual ones. It calls me to allow the path of the universe to unfold before me, but to never cease from nudging it along with my own right intentions and right efforts.
Through activities like Reiki, I discover that I can both do and be at the same time. Imagine that! We often speak in Reiki about “getting out of the way.” We let the energy flow and our teachers and guides support us and the client. Yet we don’t stop putting out our intentions, using our hand positions and symbols, and working to be present with the person on the table. However, we try not to hold too tightly to the illusion that we are doing it all. We celebrate our one wild and precious life by holding a monthly Reiki Share, but once we cross into the healing room, we let the Ki energy pass through us on the way to good healing.
We celebrate our wild and precious life by throwing a raging wedding party with loved ones, but also stopping to pray in front of the altar and letting Spirit run the show.
And I hope, that some day, when I celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with my sweet wife, I will look back and know that I have done both with at least some amount of grace.