Updated: Jul 1, 2021
First, listen to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”
I think I have been trying to write the perfect post for about two weeks and in the process, I have lost sight of the importance of trying, being wrong, missing the mark, messing up, of just writing for the joy of creating. I have lost sight of the glory of life, for that is life - messy, wrong, broken, wonderful, glorious.
Like the mountaineer who had conquered Mt. Everest afterwards has to discover his mundane life anew, we all have to find new meaning in the lesser challenges, climbing the lower peaks, in the everyday little things. I have to learn that not every post has to be noted by others. There are lesser peaks that we conquer alone. We stand on the summit and enjoy the thrill of achievement on our own. It is not as good as when you can share the experience, but it is good. Every post is an achievement. Writing well does not come easy for me.
I have discovered through living the glory of failure, of the mundane and the small things that I am not required to be the best, or to be remarkable and admired. I know this is counter-cultural and my Dad, who taught me to always strive to improve will probably turn in his grave if he could read this. Jammer Pappa maar ek is so dankbaar ek kon dit leer. Ek weet Pappa weet dit nou ...
I am learning to enjoy things for the sake of things and not for what I expect from them. I am learning to enjoy being a human, learning to negotiate this brokenness with a deep joy.
I am also learning to immerse myself into the journey of learning how to write. For my best work may be a once in a lifetime experience and if I don’t make peace with writing and rewriting and rewriting and losing sight of the applause, I lose enthusiasm and miss the opportunity to scale some worthwhile mountains.
And because I am a perfectionist, I would rather avoid writing than write a sub-standard piece. I have long accepted that applause is the one thing that I crave the most, and I know that there is no applause for second rate performances. The media don't have space for those of us who have climbed the lower peaks, no matter how hard it had been for us or how much it cost us to reach the summit, or what it meant to stand on the lesser heights. If it is not Everest, a world saturated with the extraordinary offers no applause.
So, I should not be doing this for applause. I always knew that! When the idea of the blog site started in my head, I knew that this was going to be my most difficult struggle. I have to learn how to do this for me. To express me. To be who I am first. And for that, I need to know who I am.
Am I a human being in search of a spiritual experience,
or am I a spiritual being immersed in a human experience?
If my identity is locked up in a quest for a spiritual experience, then everything is about the destination, not about the journey and the stumbling blocks and contingencies of this life are irritations and often even seen as God's punishment. The goal is to be perfect and experience the perfection of "heaven", and pain is transient and to be avoided at all costs.
If I am a spiritual being immersed in the brokenness of this life, then everything that happens on my journey belongs. For I learn that I am already perfection learning how to live as a perfect alchemy of God and human. Like Jesus who ... "although he was a son, had to learn through the things he had suffered".
How does my mountaineering metaphor fit into this?
Think through this … if conquering Everest in my mountain metaphor is to be one with God, then that can either be something I aspire to or something I have accomplished.
If I still have to conquer Everest then every lesser peak will never satisfy. But once I have been on that summit, I can really enjoy mountaineering for the sake of expressing myself, while enjoying what I do. It takes the striving out of the way.
I have spent many years trying to achieve oneness with God and the religious treadmill kept me running like a rat in a wheel. I was a human being searching for a spiritual experience. But I have woken up to my real identity.
Everest is a gift … not an achievement.
I am one with God and now I am learning how to love and to live as a human in the midst of mistakes and pain and sin and forgiveness and grace and acceptance and rejection … and questions.
There is nothing more to achieve but to live this life, to climb this peak in front of me or scale this one rock, for I have been on Everest. Every experience, every climb, every blog post becomes an expression of someone who has done it all, who has climbed the Biggy, wrote the post that went viral and has settled into doing what I love, being who I am, writing what I feel, loving the best way I can. Applause or no applause.
I am perfection learning how to live in imperfection.
Now let’s allow Courtney A Walsh to 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.