I've been trying to write the perfect post for about two weeks, but in the process, I've lost sight of the importance of trying, making mistakes, falling short, and simply writing for the joy of creation. I've lost sight of the beauty of life itself, which is messy, flawed, broken, wonderful, and glorious. Writing one paragraph lost its sense of achievement in the quest to produce a post that will change lives and evoke applause.
Just like a mountaineer who conquers Mount Everest and then must rediscover the meaning and value of the everyday mundane life afterwards, I struggle to find the same value in the smaller challenges, in climbing the lesser peaks, and appreciating the little things. I am learning that not everything needs the recognition from others. Some peaks are climbed in solitude, and standing atop them brings its own sense of accomplishment. I no longer need to wait for a once-in-a-lifetime achievement; I can find fulfillment in every step of the journey.
Through experiencing failure as a gift, the ordinary as my life, and the small things as the props on the stage of my life, I've discovered that I don't have to be the best or be remarkable and admired to be content.
I am learning that my journey is unique.
I am learning how to draw my satisfaction not from reaching any peak but from my participation in the climb.
I'm learning to enjoy things for the sake of enjoyment itself, rather than focusing on what I expect to gain from them.
I'm learning to embrace my humanity and navigate the brokenness of this life with deep joy. I am learning to adore this one glorious life that I was incarnated to live.
In my quest to become a better writer, I'm immersing myself in the process of learning. I've come to accept that my best work may be a rare occurrence, and that's okay. Instead of shying away from writing out of fear of producing something subpar, I'm making peace with the idea of rewriting and losing the need for applause. The media may only highlight the extraordinary achievements, but I've come to understand that even conquering smaller peaks is valuable. It's about finding satisfaction in self-expression, regardless of recognition.
To write authentically, I must first discover who I am. This journey of self-discovery is filled with stumbling and surprises. Through disappointments, weaknesses, and moments of loneliness, I delve deeper into myself and unearth hidden aspects of my true identity. The pain and ecstasy of this life help me uncover my authentic self. Once glimpsed, this true self transforms me and makes every moment an adventure.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's quote resonated with me: "You're not someone seeking a spiritual experience as a human being. You're a spiritual being immersed in a human experience."
If I am always instinctively reaching for the Everest experience on my spiritual journey, I will be a human being seeking a spiritual experience. Once the goal is set in our minds, everything becomes focussed on reaching that goal.
If the final destination is Heaven, then everything that happens on the way to reaching it, becomes of lesser importance. Our spiritual lives become dedicated to the goal of the "after life" and the brokenness and imperfections of this life are relegated to irritations, or lessons, or discipline. We struggle to see the value and glory of the disappointments and the pain of this very difficult and hard life. And we lose the thrill of the smaller peaks and the hills and the valleys that constitute our normal day. That is when the valleys become too deep and the mountains too high. Without reachable goals that can produce a regular sense of achievement, we can lose hope and opt to end the race.
On the other hand, if I'm a "spiritual being immersed in a human experience", then everything that happens on my journey is significant. Once I wake up to the fact that I'm already perfect, I have already conquered the highest peak. All effort to become something else is gone. Now I'm just learning how to live as a perfect alchemy of God and man. Just like Jesus, who knew who he was and where he was going but still had to "learn through the things he had suffered." (Hebr. 5)
Having reached the metaphorical Everest, I now learn to find joy in the process of living and expressing myself. It removes the pressure to constantly strive for an undefined goal and allows me to appreciate the imperfections and challenges along the way. I've realized that the true achievement lies in living this one life, tackling the peaks and valleys that present themselves. I've been to Everest, and now I'm focused on living as a perfect being within the realm of imperfection.
I've conquered the summit. It took no effort or special accomplishment. I was actually born on Everest. Every experience, every climb, and every blog post become expressions of someone who has done it all, who has conquered the greatest challenge, written the post that went viral, and settled into doing what I love, being who I am, writing what I feel, and loving to the best of my ability.
Applause or no applause.
Now, let Courtney A. Walsh apply all of that to love:
You've got it all wrong.
You didn't come here to master unconditional love.
This is where you came from and where you'll return.
You came here to learn personal love.
Infused with divinity.
Lived through the grace of stumbling.
Demonstrated through the beauty of... messing up.
You didn't come here to be perfect; you already are.
You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous.
And rising again into remembering. ...
It only asks you to show up. And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully.
That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU.
It's enough. It's plenty."