To the Good Souls in a Harsh World

This post is dedicated to those of you who remain good, kind, and loving, even when this strange and beautiful world cannot be good, kind, and loving to you. You are not alone.

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I’ve had some new thoughts arise lately, particularly in response to some small disappointments. I hate to say it, but it feels as if I’m pretty consistently met with people who challenge my strength, temperament, and empathy, those who try to take advantage of my good nature. I truly love to give people the benefit of the doubt whenever I can, but my soft heart can only be mishandled and mistreated so many times before it gives up and retreats. So, as I always do when I find myself sinking into this kind of sadness, I do my best to make light of the situation, remembering that although hate seems to be such an ever-present force in this world, it can never really drive the love out of my heart. Love is what I came here to do after all, and even in moments like these when my faith in humanity runs low, I feel the love pulsing through my veins.

Being human is not always sunshine and rainbows, but I’m determined to make the most of it, extracting as much wisdom as I can from my earthly experiences. I’ve learned that not everyone will understand my purpose. Not everyone will reciprocate my kindness, and not everyone will love me or speak the truth. But that is okay. I am confident in my mission to plant seeds of love and kindness everywhere on this earth, and when it feels as if the world has turned its back on me, I remain steadfast in my purpose, continuing onward against the current. Whatever obstacles may appear, I am resilient and self-reliant, remembering that at the end of the day all I have is my own soul to fall back on. Anything can be stripped away at any moment, people will come and go, but what remains is my beating heart, reminding me that I’m alive, guiding me through the dark.

When the going gets rough, I allow myself to take a step back. This path I walk, though long and winding at times, has led me to spectacular places I had only dreamt of years ago. I would be foolish not to hold gratitude in my heart for my life and all the opportunities that have presented themselves along the way. Although this journey may be nowhere near perfect, I believe it is this imperfect culmination of both good and bad that makes it real. It makes it human. Over time, I’ve even found the lows to be as formative as the peaks, since they offer a fresh perspective and so many opportunities for growth. If you ever find yourself in these valleys, feeling as if the world has forgotten how to love you, do not let the momentary darkness lead you astray from your true self and benevolent nature. It is only temporary. Remember that when the world is not forgiving, you still are. When the world is not patient, you still are. When the people you love have forgotten how to love you, love them regardless, with a fierceness and unconditionality that they may never know. Let your warmth continue to thaw the icy hearts of those around you. Allow your love to radiate, and stretch your arms outward to those in need of your kind touch. You are a lot more capable than you realize. You are everything you need and more.

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Stay Close to Beautiful Things

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“Once he knew what he really was, he looked around at other humans and the rest of nature, and he was amazed at what he saw. He saw himself in everything — in every human, in every animal, in every tree, in the water, in the rain, in the clouds, in the earth.

And he realized that everyone was dreaming, but without awareness, without knowing what they really are. They couldn’t see him as themselves because there was a wall of fog or smoke between the mirrors. And that wall of fog was made by… the Dream of humans.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

This quote from one of my favorite books of all time, The Four Agreements. It perfectly articulates the idea that we often we find ourselves stumbling along through life, living in a fog that blinds us from this simple truth: that we are beautiful, whole, and connected to everything. We work tedious jobs, complete trivial tasks, and live unsatisfactory lives, but this is the nature of our human existence, since societal conditioning, the mind, ego, and the illusion of our world all withhold us from seeing our true essence. I know that deep down unconditional love beats through our hearts, but as humans, our physical bodies are not equipped to easily fathom this sort of truth. So, we fall victim to listlessness, existential depression, superficiality, and falsehood, all of which I’ve experienced, when our lives don’t align with our true passions and joy. We become crushed by the very weight of our own third-dimensional existence.

Sometimes the fog dissipates for a moment, and I see with clarity what this world is and what exactly I am here to do. I lose interest in the earthly twists, turns, and tediousness. I fall in love with the beauty of the natural world, the ancient world, the inner world. The only way for me to connect with this space, to cope with the weight of my humanity, is to follow my joy and stay close to beautiful things. Over time, I’ve come to realize that there is no use in wasting my time with anything that does not bring me happiness or contribute to the well-being of myself and others. My happiness, I’ve found, is in the simplicity. It lies in old books, writing, pastel winter skies, sunshine, flowers, yoga, giving to others, creative and intimate moments with my guitar or piano. The more I allow space and time for the activities that bring me joy, the more heart-centered and balanced I feel, the more alive in my skin, and the more grateful for the opportunity to be alive.

It is true that we do not always have to live in this fog. However, it is difficult to get outside of ourselves. It takes a brave and dauntless soul to step back and question all of the things he has been conditioned to believe. It takes a brave and dauntless soul to see beauty and surround himself with it. And, it takes a brave and dauntless soul to follow his joy and stay in his magic, especially in a world abundant in darkness. Know that there is a purpose for the chaos that is our world. Know that there is a purpose for being different and having a heart that no one understands. All you have to do is shift your perspective, and you will see the beauty that is embedded in everything. I hope this post can provide some comfort and encourage you to stay close to beauty, connect with that space within that is unabashed joy, and above all, remember who you are. So much love to you.

-Nicole Ricken