Last week, on a visit to Yellowstone National Park, I was immersed in Natures glory.
Yellowstone is teeming with geysers where the earths crust literally cracks and shifts before your eyes.
Watching the dynamic movements of water and earth got me thinking about life on the edge, and then there was the return home….
The case for being extreme and the dreaded to do list.
Yellowstone’s grand prismatic spring is the worlds third largest hot (it’s very hot) spring. The vivid colors around it’s edge are created by the presence of billions of bacteria.
Scientists call these bacteria extremophiles because they thrive in extreme environments of heat and pressure.
It’s also believed that earth’s complex life forms probably began at the edge of hot springs when the brightly colored microbes combined as one.
Are you hot or cold?
Questions such as “Who am I?” and “What am I really here for?” lead us to dive from the surface of our life into our core.
Like diving into the middle of a hot spring, these age old questions turn up the heat in our lives.
The deeper you dive into your core, the more conscious you become. The more conscious you are, the more you hear and sense your higher calling, and just like water that expands into steam as it’s heated, the more you listen to your higher calling the more your attention rides out to the edges of your previously known life.
Life begins at the edge.
As your conscious awareness expands you’ll start to notice hidden aspects of yourself.
Some of what you find you might want to avoid, it’s what you’ve pushed away or simply not learned how to face and resolve, but what is on the edge of your awareness contains your fresh potential for living more fully.
When you begin to face what’s on the outer edges of consciousness it can feel intense, at least at first, but the more you open and allow the intensity, rather than resist or seek to escape, the better life gets because you begin to experience a lighter, free-er more fully expressed version of yourself.
Not only that, when you train your attention on what matters to you, you begin to find gifts, strengths and potential that were previously out of reach.
Then the earth starts to move.
So now you’re ready, even though you might not feel you are, for your outer life to shape shift to match your inner expanded state.
And this is when things can become a little chaotic, at least for a while. So it’s helpful to recognize the chaos for what it is – life re-organizing itself – as opposed to what it’s not; something going wrong.
Because Life: begins under pressure.
Living at the edge of your life allows you to create your life a-fresh in each moment.
But what about the ‘to do’ list?
After a week of being unplugged I arrived home feeling refreshed and expanded by the vast space of Yellowstone and was confronted with my ‘to do’ list.Thud. It was as though a twenty pound weight had suddenly landed on my shoulders. My everyday mind clamored “You’ve got SO much to do!”My ego thinking had swung full throttle into linear time and I was sinking under the anxious belief that I needed to complete numerous projects by yesterday.Fortunately I recognized the spin of my everyday mind and softened inside. When I stopped paying attention to my thinking, I began to see through my limited thoughts. The feelings of heaviness and pressure released and I my to do list morphed into a set of possibilities rather than urgent imperatives.
I turned to Facebook for an outlet to share my gratitude for seeing that Life always works with us, not against us, and shared this comment:
“My ‘to do’ list is bottomless. Standing at the edge, peering in brings a lurch to my stomach with thoughts such as “when am I even going to get to all of this…” And then I remember to fall into abyss…the anxiety drops away as I free fall in the deeper remembering that all is well and life is always taking care of itself. I relax in the knowingness that what needs to ‘get done’ will happen the more I simply open and allow.”
Dan responded with this loving observation:
“I’ve found that when one thing finishes another begins. Therefore when I remember this, I see the futility of rushing to finish things, and my list feels lighter and more enjoyable. Since I know I will always have about the same number of things to do, I feel much less pressure to finish these things. Also, looking to the finish line saps our power and prevents enjoyment of the steps in between.”And Sue amplified the ripples of wisdom with this:“The fallacy is that we think our to-do lists are meant to be completed. But they are like the grass that we mow or the laundry we do. It’s not a list to complete but simply a reminder of where we are called to next “chop wood, carry water.”
It takes practice to live in expanded consciousness AND manage the day to day nitty gritty things of daily life.
My favorite expression of this paradox is: Being in the world, but not of it.
This is when we’re free to enjoy the incredible creations in the physical world, not caught up or overwhelmed by life’s demands, and are living into new and miraculous possibilities that exist on the outer edges of our consciousness.Where ever you are in the world, I wish you, your loved ones and all of us the ability to live at the edge; to be in the world and simultaneously not of it.