The journey is the reward.
~ Tao saying
The world is celebrating Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday. I am traveling from my home in the United States to join in the elaborate festivities in South Africa. More than 30 years have gone by since Tutu and I first met and joined together in working for a world in which the inclusion of all is celebrated.
Forty of us gathered in the side chapel of St. George's Cathedral, where Tutu Led a simple service of Communion. Midway through the early morning service, Tutu paused and said, "This is fantastic! So many friends are here from all over the world!" He began to introduce us to one another by telling a story of each person. Some of us had known each other for decades, and many were new to one another. Now we were all leaning in, listening to Tutu's gleeful vignette about each person.
As we gathered in a semi-circle, laughter ringing against the stone walls of the chapel, my mind drifted back. I remembered the smell of teargas, decades earlier, wafting through the air as protesters fleeing police dogs sought refuge in this sacred place. In 1989, it was from this cathedral in which Tutu unexpectedly called for a march in the streets of Cape Town to say no more to government violence. I looked around the chapel, marveling at how this holy place had served as an incubator of life, courage, and hope for so many. We had come so far, risked so much. Our freedom was hard-won, at a significant cost.
A New Way to Be Human: Our Choices Matter
In the same way, the journey to a new way to be human involves mindful choices that must be taken seriously. Your choices and mine matter. The freedom to nurture, cultivate, and choose is a gift that begins with you. Freedom from something is always about freedom to do or to be. So — what will you do? Who will you be?
Your daily choices can lead to living a conditional life or they can birth the emerging truth of your new way of being. There is nothing conditional about you and your life. Yes, you are still learning, evolving, and being birthed in new ways of becoming fully alive. And you are unconditionally invited to a new way of being human, marked by unconditional love and compassion.
The journey to being a new human
is never to be taken for granted.
It invites you to become awake and to stay aware.
The Choice: Becoming More Awake & Aware
At each new step to becoming fully human, you have the opportunity to become more awake to the invitation of the Universe and the Holy. Ready yourself. Keep in mind that often the life events that seem the most disruptive can invite the greatest awakening. In fact, each disruptive or dislocating experience can become a path of emergence. Choose the emergence, and take with you some wisdom to keep in mind along the way.
In 1990 while living in exile from South Africa, my friend and colleague Michael Lapsley was sent a letter bomb by the apartheid government. Opening the parcel, he saw two religious magazines. Between the two magazines a bomb was hidden. Michael lost both hands and the sight of one eye in the explosion.
After years of working with victims of trauma, Michael participates in creating a Universe of reconciling compassion. He now leads the Institute for the Healing of Memories as a healer who teaches and enables others to be healers of painful memories.
The Recipe for An Aware, Awake, and Mindful Life
Most of us hope never to share an experience like Michael's, and yet if you step back and withdraw from your emergent transformative experiences, your life will become listless and stultified as you clutch to the past and ignore the present.
Along my journey, I keep rediscovering the holy recipe for living an aware, awake, and mindful life. By indulging in moments of playfulness, mischievousness, and delight, I disarm and reimagine preconceived ideas. I dislodge distrust, and I uproot suspicion and old hatreds.
The Universe and the Holy are not a sinkhole of despair. Neither are we intended to be. As you choose humor and joy, you create sacred space for meeting one another in a universal desire for happiness.
Intentionally Engaging in a New Way to Be Human
As you actively embrace your passages of emergence, you intentionally engage in the new way to be human and discover new wisdom and truth for your journey. With each step forward into a path of emergence, your courage will expand the chambers of your heart and allow your spiritual positioning system to recalibrate and point you in new directions. Each new insight and each new transformative, emergent choice in your life, will evolve into an intentional way of life.
The journey to being a new human is never silent. It invites you to be a proactive, compassionate voice for the well-being of every person.
Your life and the future of the world are at stake. Because all are intertwined, no compassionate step along the way is ever wasted. Through your proactive engagement with others, you can do far more than you could ever accomplish alone. Your voice, imagination, compassion, and love will find willing companions throughout the world in creating a happier world of well-being and justice.
Embracing Humanity & Exercising Your Voice on Its Behalf
The lackluster leadership, corruption, economic dislocation, and political paralysis that characterize much of the world are an invitation to exercise your voice on behalf of those who have been marginalized or silenced. In this global hairpin curve, your voice, intuition, and imagination join those of others in igniting a universal awakening.
As you embrace humanity, you choose to be proactive in saying no to the forces who seek to reject the emergence of a new way to be human. As you choose to set aside silence, the old ways of being human give way to an emerging and proactive compassionate path for the well-being and happiness of all.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, New Page Books, a division of The Career Press, Inc.
©2012 by Robert V. Taylor.