The world is full of uncertainty. Every second of every day we are making decisions, and those decisions come at a price, those decisions open certain doors, but also close others. I used to live in fear of those decisions, in fear of closing those doors. I feared uncertainty, I feared the unknown, and I feared the future. But this fear serves no one, least of all myself. Because what is it that I'm afraid of? Is it the mistakes I will inevitably make, the people I may hurt, the opportunities I may miss? Those eventualities will happen whether or not I fear them so I might as well embrace them. Embrace the lessons I can learn from them, embrace the necessity of them, and embrace the beautiful way in which those events will color and shape my story. The energy I waste worrying about the future is nothing more than that, wasted energy. Now I'm not saying to be fearless, because for the large majority of us, fear comes with the territory of being a human. But what I am saying is: don't let that fear paralyze you. Don’t let that fear prevent you from living. Feel the fear, accept it, and live anyways, make a decision anyways, take a chance anyways, love anyways, be vulnerable anyways. I believe wholeheartedly, that if you follow your bliss, the right doors will open for you, and if you let your bliss guide you, you will inevitably end up where you were meant to be.
However be forewarned, that right path may not look like the right one in the moment. But revel in understanding that whatever path you’re on is the right path in the moment. There is no wrong path, there is no wrong choice, there is no wasted opportunity, because every decision, every experience, every moment we live in life is there to teach us something and to shape us in some way. And when we realize how fundamental every experience is to shaping our path, then we realize the beauty in every experience in life. We see the beauty in every mistake we make, every fall we take, every person who hurts us, every moment we squander, and every melancholy moment we sit in, as they all irrevocably shape us and teach us beautiful and simple lessons.
How liberating is it to realize that regardless of what we do, what happens, and how badly we trip up, everything that’s happening happens to serve a greater purpose, a greater lesson, and a greater truth. So why not appreciate every experience in life for what it is - a magical moment in time that is one little snippet of our journey here on this spinning blue orb. One little blip in the timeline of our lives that is leading and feeding into every other experience we will ever have. And when that truth hits you, like a lovely slap across the face, it will wake your sleepy soul and bring forth such life and vigor into every experience that you won’t even recognize yourself for the newfound confidence and zeal in your heart of hearts. The newfound courage to venture out into this world and just live. And the newfound enthusiasm to celebrate a new breath of life. To not only be okay with walking out that door into the big scary world, but to be excited to go out there and blunder, trip up, stumble, and fall. Because with every scraped knee, every broken heart, every piece of wounded pride, we grow scars. And with those scars we learn lessons and create muscle memory of how to catch ourselves before we fall so far and so hard. That’s the wonder in being an inherently flawed imperfect being. We will never be perfect because we are human, therefore we will forever be in a miraculous and self-perpetuating beautiful cycle of making mistakes, and learning from them. And that’s what makes this life worth living and interesting. Otherwise how ridiculously dull would this existence be? We would all just be perfect replicas, existing in this world … perfectly. How boring. I’m about to fall asleep just thinking about how lackluster and uninteresting that would be.
So how about instead of resenting and hating our flaws, we embrace and appreciate them for what they are: our greatest teachers. And how about instead of living in fear of our mistakes, and losing faith in ourselves and the world when things go inevitably “wrong,” we embody a mindset of gratitude for all the pages in our story, not just the pages that describe us with songs in our throats and laughter in our hearts. For it’s those chapters that are filled with heartbreaking sadness, utter desolation, and mind-numbing regret that provides perspective for the chapters filled with happy optimism, and joyous love. Our stories would not be what they are right now if not for those dark chapters, and furthermore, our stories wouldn’t make sense without them, they are as necessary and vital to our story as air is for our survival and as gratitude is to our happiness.
So whenever I find myself feeling lost, feeling uninspired, feeling disenchanted, and more or less feeling average, gratitude is what I always return to. It’s like my safe harbor in an endless stormy sea, my lighthouse that guides me in my darkest hour. It is my reference point from where everything beautiful in my life begins and flourishes, and where everything dark and desolate goes to die.
“If god said,
Rumi, pay homage to everything
That has helped you enter my arms,
There would not be one experience in my life,
Not one thought, not one feeling,
Not one act,
I would not bow to.”
Gratitude in all things no matter how catastrophic or forlorn they may appear is a special kind of wisdom that few people ever fully understand and reconcile with. But I believe that understanding this key concept is the crux to finding and honoring the path we were meant to walk. The path to happiness.