“Each of us has been given a special gift just for entering — so you are already a winner.” — Swami Beyondananda
Conventional wisdom tells us that in times of economic contraction, the appropriate thing is to shrink things down, to do less, to get smaller. Given how well conventional wisdom seems to be working lately, maybe some unconventional wisdom is called for.
So when something in our life “breaks” — we lose a position or job or anything we’ve held dear — maybe it’s a call for something greater. Maybe being downsized out of a job is a call to “upsize” to encompass your true and unique “work of heart”.
Through our own recent journey that we dubbed “involuntary simplicity”, Trudy and I have had to release structures (like a home) and usual ways of doing things that would have kept us in a comfortable — yet smaller — life. Bigger life and smaller life are not egotistical distinctions, but rather have to do with how deeply, how broadly and how fully we express that which calls us.
Sometimes it comes in the form of a whisper, other times as a shout — this calling, whatever it is, always gives us a tingle of excitement and can also evoke a big “uh-oh”. What if I do this and I fail? What if I let people down? What if I make a fool of myself?
And then — what if I never try? What if I dismiss the gift that has been given to me, and it never gets shared? What if I play it safe?
These callings, these works of heart, may not be grandiose at all. They may seemingly impact very few people, but the love for doing that thing — whatever it is — is so palpable that anyone in that individual’s field feels inspired.
Other people — who have a bigger dream– may stop before they start because they cannot imagine being able to pull it off. So they pull the plug to preempt the discomfort of disappointment.
As the old saying goes: Ships are safe inside the harbor, but is that what ships are for?
Transformational, evolutionary change is occurring on a fractal level, meaning that the same patterns are repeating with the individual, the community, our species as a whole. Our entire species is being called forth to think and act in loving accord, even though this has never happened before. And each and every one of us has a “work of heart” to offer, some contribution to make that serves the greater good — and brings us satisfaction and fulfillment. There is something that we do that lights us up, and that light shines on all who come into contact with us. This is the domain where there is no competition. Or as Oscar Wilde famously said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
So … what is your work of heart?
What contribution — grand or modest, private or public — do you have to make to the greater good of all? Is it a project or idea of your own design, or something that already exists that you fervently want to advance? Does it involve working alone, or with a team? How will your world — and THE world — be different or better if you share it? What fears come up? What inspiration is lighting your way?
30 years ago this month, I attended a seminar that offered a life-changing challenge: What is it you are here to do, and how long are you going to wait to do it?
I realized I wanted to pursue humor as a fulltime career … and … I hadn’t the slightest clue how I would do that. Nonetheless, I took it on. I jumped, and hoped the parachute would open. I had been writing the Swami Beyondananda column for a few years, and a friend suggested I perform comedy as the Swami. It had never occurred to me. Soon after, I was invited to a weeklong retreat where Swami made his debut on stage. The next month, I met Trudy and after a few dates, she said, “Why don’t we go out on the road and do a show with dance and comedy?”
We tested the premise, and exactly two years after the seminar, we left Michigan in a brand new van and elegant trailer on what has now been a 28-year journey. We had no idea how any of this could or would come about. All we knew is we had a work of heart to share, and the richness of our lives today — the things we’ve experienced, places we’ve been, people we’ve met and lifelong friends we’ve made — all stemmed from that choice to share it.
Today I have new works of heart on the horizon that build on the old and cover new territory. I remember how effortlessly things flowed three decades ago, and I wonder if I can recapture or rekindle that innocent trust in these less innocent times. In any case, the calling calls. You will hear more about these as things unfold.
Meanwhile … what is your work of heart?
How long will you wait to do it?
Unconventional wisdom says, now is the time. Because it’s too late to do it sooner.
You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine. Send me a brief note about your work of heart — remember, putting it in writing makes it more real than it is now — and I will send you info on MY work of heart!