So sayeth the birds, animals, insects, and plants of nature. All nature not only knows this truth, but also lives it.
We are different. We may know this truth, but we rarely live it. Instead, we pride ourselves on being able to do anything, and everything.
When we are young, it’s good to know we have many options. It’s a gift we give to our young. We tell them they can be anything we want to be if they believe hard enough, and match that belief with practical hard work.
However, as we move forward in life, that belief can work against us because it does not help us narrow down what it is that we are designed to be and do. As a result, we often miss living the unique purpose of our lives.
I used to be proud that I could do whatever needed to be done, and I could do it by myself, usually without any help from anyone. I thought of this as a virtue. Now that I am further along in my growing up process, I am beginning to learn the uselessness, and sometimes danger, of that belief.
I heard a talk recently where the speaker suggested that contrary to current thought, following trends is not the answer to being successful. The answer is the opposite. It is to highlight what makes us different.
This makes sense doesn’t it? We are each a unique expression of Life.
Highlighting that uniqueness not only helps us be successful, however we define it, but also enables us to fulfill our purpose within the grand tapestry of the universe; each of us is a necessary thread running through the weave of Life.
Have you ever sat in nature and watched how everything interacts, yet how individual and unique each element of it is, from a falling leaf to the deer in the woods?
On a recent walk, I heard a woodpecker in the distance banging away at a tree. That’s one of his unique and special skills. I have never seen any other bird copy that exact way of getting food. Actually, if you saw me walking that day you might have seen me burst out laughing at the thought of how silly that would be and look.
Now that I am beginning to see the importance of the narrowing down to uniqueness, I see how silly I must look trying to do things that are not mine to do. It is the equivalent of bluebird acting like a woodpecker.
Every spring, I power-washed our decks, and on alternative years I painted them. It took me days. I hated every minute of it. I was wet, tired, dirty, and if truth be told, and it must, I didn’t do a good job either.
This spring we hired John. He power-washed the decks in an hour. He painted the decks in the afternoon. They looked beautiful. And, I wasn’t wet, tired, angry, or miserable. While he worked, I wrote an Ezine, worked on the next book, did some illustrations for the Truth 4 Today series, and even had time to take a class at the gym.
When we do someone else’s work, we deprive them doing something where their unique skill can shine. We also deprive them of making a living at something they love to do.
When we let go of trying to do and be everything to all people, we have time and space to do what we love, and be who we are. We become free to do what we are called to do.
Ursula K. Le Guin, in her book A Wizard of the Earthsea, says, “And the truth is that as a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do.”
As part of the tapestry of life, we are interconnected, not separate. This means that as we do what is ours to do, we understand, appreciate, watch over, and pay attention to what others are doing, especially if they are doing it for us.
Ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge is not power.
It is awareness of the interconnectivity, and individuality of the whole that is both bliss and power. Not the power of I can, I must, and I will, but the power of listening, and responding to the call to be who we are meant to be, and honoring every individual expression of Life, in all its forms.
Interconnected we can say, “I’ll do my own thing, but I am connected to yours;” for the universe as a whole tapestry of individual parts, moves as one.
As I was writing this, I took time to wash our windows. I didn’t like it. I didn’t do it well. I learned the lesson again. Next spring, I am hiring someone.