One of the many things I learned at the end of the Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: ‘What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.’ That is an astonishing statement yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply be existing.
– J. K. Rowling, JK Rowling’s life advice: ten quotes on the lessons of failure
I used to live under the assumption that what I looked like, what I drove, what job I had, along with how much money I threw at my clothes and accessories, determined my place in the world—my importance.
At that time, I knew little of what my life was really about and that all that fluff didn’t matter.
Regardless of what I wear or what car I drive or what highfalutin job I have I’m still a human being experiencing life with a mishmash of other human beings experiencing life.
If I don’t take the time to cultivate a strong, compassionate, loving, and kind person, then I have nothing substantial to offer anyone or myself. I have nothing to give of worth, except maybe the example of how not to be.
Of course, this cultivation comes down to whether I want to be shallow and self-consumed or open and available to others. This is not always an easy choice and sometimes fluctuates depending on the day.
What I have found in this gardening of the soul experience is that there is an undeniable grace and freedom that comes when I stop trying to make myself important by sprucing up my exterior and instead focus on my interior so that I find what is important.
There’s an ease that comes to living, whatever the circumstances (because sometimes they’re not easy), when I blend into the human-mishmash instead of trying to be the one and only that is different and better than.
The truth is we are all unique in our own ways and at the same time so deeply the same it’s comical.
Through trial and error and looking for others that had something I wanted, not materially, I began to learn how to nourish and honor myself, along with others. To blend in, you could say.
I’ve found the importance of loving another as they are and the importance of holding another while they cry; the importance of listening to the birds sing and the importance of showing up when I said I would; the importance of offering a helping hand when needed and the importance of laughing with my whole gut.
There are so many important things out there that don’t revolve around me and what I look like or what I drive or what highfalutin job I have. There are important moments that come that demand my time, my emotion, my participation that aren’t about me all that much.
Today, as I sit in the middle of my half-packed boxes, as I’m beginning a journey of moving to another state, I revel in the joy and love I’ve received in this small town I’m leaving.
I came here not knowing anyone and, with persistence and faith, found friends that filled my heart with love. I found the importance of knowing them, of participating with them as one human does with another.
And now that I snip off the remainder of my days here, I know, in my heart, I take them with me and that I will always know them and love them, and some day will see them again.
This love and common bond has nothing to do with what I look like or what I drive or the job I have. It has everything to do with “what we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”