Perhaps you can relate when I tell you that I have spent the majority of my life in some sort of existential crisis.
I have asked more questions than I have received answers and have spent years seeking to find anything that could give myself a much needed sense of general direction.
Maybe you hear a lot about purpose.
Perhaps you read a lot about meaning.
And perhaps the word dharma has been so over spoken in your circles that it has lost its luster along with the words: path, journey and presence.
We see these words pop-up on our Facebook newsfeed and hear them spoken quite frequently in most yoga classes that you might attend on any given day of the week.
In recent years though, I have been entertaining the thought and living the philosophy that I need to stop looking.
I just needed to stop.
I ask that you too consider what I have learned and what is becoming increasingly clear to me. I have come to the belief that we are here, living these lives for these two reasons:
We are here to love.
And we are here to play.
We are here to have a human experience. And we have the choice to lighten up a little bit and enjoy it for as many moments as we possibly can.
If your life is challenging right now, I understand. I have been through so many fires in my life, have suffered extremely as a result of my own self-sabotage, and am anything but ignorant to the pain that exists in this world.
Despite all of this though, we can begin to change our experience by loving ourselves. We choose to love ourselves enough to choose the parts of ourselves that are beautiful, and by approaching the darker parts of us with grace and acceptance.
We can make this our practice, by making this our choice.
It does not matter what you have done, it does not matter the decisions that you have made—see yourself for the beautiful contribution that deep down you really are to this world and realize, truly realize, that that is who you are—because that is what is true.
Choose to be strong enough to look at the lies that have perhaps been taught to you by all of those “teachers” who did not know any better, who likely did this unintentionally or as a result of their own fears or ignorance.
We can look with grace at the lingering pain that we carry, perhaps as a result of treatment by our parents, our peers, our society and even ourselves, and choose to let it go and love what is true.
It is through this love for ourselves that we can begin to see these parts of others—the parts of them underneath all of their layers of fear and everything else that has piled up, and together we remind each other of what is true when life becomes too difficult to remember on our own.
We can choose to love ourselves; we can choose to see others for who they really are and we can also choose to see the beauty in the world. We can choose to look up at the ever-changing clouds in the sky, at the way that the water glistens from the sun, at the varying shades of green in our landscapes, at the mundane every day experiences for what they are—something that we get to experience.
We get to experience it all and we can get in touch with that part of ourselves that realizes the brevity of this experience as if it is a message that has been bottled up and sent back across an ocean of time from our future dying selves.
We do not have to keep searching for meaning, but rather realize that our meaning is our experience.
Our meaning is how we live—in every moment. It is in how we choose our thoughts, words and actions, and this is all largely dependent on our mindset as well as our world-view and our “self-view.”
We choose to see the beauty in ourselves and the rest falls into place like a line-up of dominoes.
We see what is true and lovable inside of us, which equips us to then see the beauty in others, and when the fears and false beliefs around these relationships fall away, it is a lot easier to see the beauty that is all around us in nature and what can transpire to amazement in everyday life that we perhaps used to view as the mundane.
We can still have goals and dreams—but they become part of our play rather than an obligatory need to find something that we think we are lacking.
Rather than thinking about these goals and dreams for something that we have to do in order to get somewhere, they rather become the icing on our cake. They enrich our experience via means of loving, playing, or likely a combination of both, and we do not need to will-power ourselves through any of it to the degree that we perhaps once did, but rather we will be excited to do it. We can get out of bed every day grateful for the chance to experience more.
Our loving each other can even become our play—love doesn’t need to be so heavy, and our playing in our lives can make it so much easier to love, as it can bring out the best in all of us.
We tend to think of playing as perhaps something for which we do not have the time—especially as adults. Our children can be our best teachers, and we can shift our mindset even to view our jobs, and other everyday actions as playing.
We can lighten up about that which feels heavy, and choose to not get wrapped up in that which we cannot change. We can feel and label that which challenges us, and we can have reverence for it before letting it fall away, and focus on our experience and the quality of it.
After all, loving and playing is all something that we get to do—if only for a short time.
Author: Katie Vessel
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Parker Knight