just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Living the Affirmative Life

Published on 11/03/15
by randy


Living a life of “yes” in the throws of uncertainty is extremely difficult. Yet, through my years of living it’s been perhaps my most reliable practice. Brother David says we must “make space to find the gift in the given”. When my son was facing the uncertainty of a deadly disease it seemed to be a stupid practice. Yet, over time, no matter how difficult the situation, there came moments of insight that revealed the gift in the experience. Perhaps the most important insight was to never, ever take anything for granted. Life is very precious, delicate and impermanence is with us always. Savoring each moment as gift, returning to each breath anew, in gratitude for the very opportunity to ‘just be’ seems to be a hallmark of the affirmative life.

Letting the realization of an “affirmative Universe” sink into our flesh and bones is the key to allowing Universe to hold and support us. When we doubt, when caught in wanting things to be different, consumed with our restless minds and dissatisfactions, we suffer.

As a young child I desperately wanted to play guitar. My parents said no and got me an accordion. I continued to plead my case for a guitar. Three years later they got me a trumpet. I said ‘yes’ and it’s been my life long friend. Amazing guitar players seem to be everywhere, but there are very few trumpet players. When I show up for a jam or want to join a band, it’s seldom a problem as I’m welcomed in due to the contrasting element of the trumpet. The awareness of that gift didn’t come until long after the fourth grade when my parents gave me the trumpet instead of the guitar.

Today my restless mind wanted to get in the ocean. The wind was too much for SUP surfing and too little for kiting. I rigged up my windsurf rig and attached it to my board for some SUP sailing. Conditions were changing as the wind direction was shifting. I continued to walk my rig through the shallow surf break to get to the wind line. At that pointed I heard a snap and saw my mono film sail disintegrate from age. A short time later the wind had almost completely died. Had I continued my unaware approach to the wind I would have been doing a long, difficult prone paddle back. The gift in the torn sail was evident.

Other people may be our biggest obstacle to the affirmative life. It seems our culture puts us in a negating universe as we resist change and creativity. The worst thing we can do when moving to the affirmative life is to hang out with complainers. We can all smell negative emotion and when I do I try to run from it. If I can’t run from it I’ll do whatever ever I can to not take what they say personally. All we can do is show up to ‘this breath’, ‘pay attention’, ‘be our best for what we have to offer to this moment’, and relax in knowing we ‘can’t control the outcome’. We hope people will like us. We hope we’ll live forever. We hope we manifest everything we desire. Yet, there’s something called ‘Big Hope’. It can’t be described in words. It’s the kind of thinking that’s done from the heart where real truth is revealed. There’s a knowing that we’re all supported, that we’ve always been supported, and there’s a peace that comes from knowing we’ll always be supported. When we live long enough we’re humbled to our knees in awe to the Mystery. We’re flexible in our understanding and learning, open to what’s to be next revealed to us. This ‘affirmative life’ is outside the bounds of time and space, free from the didactic, competitive universe our ego would have us live in.

We know so many who suffer so deeply. If only we could hold them all. If only they could find relief in this knowing, no matter what. For sure, life is difficult. We all get sick, we all age, we all say good by to these bodies who’ve been such dear friends to us, and we all say good bye to friends, family, and all our ‘stuff’. Yet, what remains are the results of our actions. These results are wonderful when lived from the affirmative life, aiming to do what we can to heal one another, our community, nation, and planet. Making space to find the gift in the given, at the very least, we reduce our harmful footprint. Hopefully, we honor our gift of ‘being’ with our love and mindful actions to serve one another.

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