The Cosmos Within

I had the pleasure of touring the Kennedy Space Center recently and I found the entire complex to be a testament to human ingenuity and natural splendor. The feats of derringdo wrought from the various launch pads that dot this stretch of Florida coastline are impressive, and it is hard to imagine a more perfect setting – the dividing line between our verdant earth and its azure sea – for the many and varied expeditions undertaken to explore our place in the cosmos.

The Apollo/Saturn V exhibit and the Space Shuttle Atlantis experience were particularly captivating. The sheer size and mind-boggling complexity of these space vehicles demonstrate to what extent man will go to deepen his understanding of the universe and ultimately, of himself.

While seeing and feeling all of this I found myself wondering if we as a race have gained more by looking out than we have by looking inwardly. And as I looked out of the bus window at the commercial investments being made by Boeing and SpaceX, but again, I asked myself if man will ultimately profit more  from probing the stars or examining his heart.
I suppose the distinction is somewhat arbitrary, for are not we woven into the fabric of the universe? I mean, who has ever looked up at the heavens and not felt a certain kinship with the twinkling stars? Are they really so different to the twinkling eye of one’s neighbor, friend, or lover?

To my mind, both outward and inward exploration are important if one is to fulfill one’s purpose in life. Ideally, these two would be balanced. Life flourishes in the counterbalancing of an ever-widening comprehension of the world beyond oneself with an ever-deepening understanding of the cosmos within.

Another Reason to Forgive

There are many reasons why it is important to make forgiveness a regular part of your life, but one that occurred to me recently may not be so obvious. Forgiveness affords you the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful qualities of and positive experiences you shared with those who have wronged you.

Without forgiveness, you remain bound up emotionally. When grudges remain, it is virtually impossible not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In families this may mean devaluing the unconditional love which ought to be the currency of blood relationships. In friendships grudges taint every memory, not just the negative ones.

Forgiveness allows you to release the emotional full nelson you hold against others who may have dealt with you unjustly. I say full nelson because grudges tie up both of your hands, figuratively speaking, both the positive and the negative. When you forgive, you release your tight grip, and as a consequence, you distance yourself from the source of your angst, while regaining access to the library of positive memories you shared.

Most Important Moments

When you look back on your life, would you say that the most important moments were loud, dramatic or did they occur in the quiet times, in the back corners of your mind or in the subtle shifts of heart?

I would have to say that on the balance, for me, the most significant times were probably the easiest to overlook. More often than not they began with little observations, decisions or actions that gained momentum over time.

“NOBREZA SILENCIOSA. SILENT NOBILITY. It is a mistake to believe that the crucial moments of a life when its habitual direction changes forever must be loud and shrill dramatics, washed away by fierce internal surges. This is a kitschy fairy tale started by boozing journalists, flashbulb-seeking filmmakers and authors whose minds look like tabloids. In truth, the dramatics of a life-determining experience are often unbelievably soft. It has so little akin to the bang, the flash, of the volcanic eruption that, at the moment it is made, the experience is often not even noticed. When it deploys its revolutionary effect and plunges a life into a brand-new light giving it a brand-new melody, it does that silently and in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.” – Pascal Mercier

Managing Change

Whenever you look to make positive lifestyle changes you must first meet your own internal inertia. Once that is met you must manage the reactions of those around you to that change. Reactions come in many forms, but most reactions boil down to the invisible “pressure wave” that change sends out into the world you center.

This “pressure wave” is initially disruptive to the bonds between people, as intermolecular forces – i.e. attraction and repulsion – does between neighboring atoms, molecules or ions. When these bonds between people are influenced, the natural reflex is to react in some way to the perceived change.

When you change, those around you must adjust to it. Some may react favorably and actually make it easier for you to maintain your momentum, while others may oppose it (typically due to personal discomfort) and seek to derail your progress, either consciously or unconsciously. The point is that they will typically take note at some level of consciousness and begin their own adjustment process. In the process, they will either be attracted or repelled to you, by virtue of the way they choose to handle it.

At this point you need to hold steady and let the sorting out occur. Many a cycle of positive change has been aborted by reaction to these reactions, and managing your reaction to their reactions can require as much specific internal effort as making the change in the first place.

Your Soul

“The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the Music breathing from her face,
The heart whose softness harmonised the whole —
And, oh! that eye was in itself a Soul!”
― George Gordon Byron

Rare in this world are those people who lay bare their soul before you. They have relinquished all pretense, all defense, all distraction. They have come before you as they are. These are the precious ones, the keepers.

Inspiring Encounters

My sons and I recently met an inspiring gentleman whose enthusiasm for life, passion for his work, and love of people was second to none. He had a knack for making the mundane magical, and for engaging hearts with a bright smile, generous words, and a twinkling eye…all within seconds. 

George (his name badge indicated) was a room service attendant at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando, Florida. 

Thank you, George. You made our day.