Wednesday, April 1

Navigating your Channel

While on “shore leave” during my recent sailing adventure in the Grenadines, I noticed this quote posted in a coffee/craft shop operated by interesting folks who are clearly trying to adhere as closely as possible to Thoreau’s advice. I was inspired by both the proprietors as well as the sage advice given by Thoreau so many years ago, especially knowing that it was advice he followed himself.
These words got me wondering about how we know where the channel of our life flows, and how we endeavor to dwell there as much as possible.  As I have described in detail in my book HUM, I believe all life moves toward greater purpose and harmony.  The channel in which each of our lives flows is defined by our ability to identify and pursue our personal, unique purpose—and to do so in harmony with other living beings and the planet we share.  Once one finds the essence of one’s personal “calling” or purpose, one does not automatically live in that channel.  For me, it takes ongoing reflection, re-calibration and re-centering.  My understanding of my purpose reveals different dimensions over time and as a result of the lessons I learn in my daily life.  Yet, it is never situational.  It remains like the keel of my boat as reassurance that I will sail safely through high seas without worry of capsizing.
Pursuing one’s purpose in harmony with others and the planet is a daily challenge.  When faced with hate, greed, fear, and competition in their various guises, I find myself in constant inner conversations about the most harmonious path.  Should I face these negative energies head on, which can leave me side-tracked and exhausted?  Should I ignore them and stay in my channel, with the thought that I might be copping out?  When is what others do my business?  (For example, I was recently chastised by friends when I picked up a fast food container thrown from a car in Old Town and walked up to the car stopped at a light, knocking on the door to give them back what they had “dropped.” My friends felt I had gone too far and that the inhabitants of the vehicle were not only irresponsible, but possibly incapacitated or even armed.) I think about the waste I produce and how I use more than my share of the planet’s resources, and continually examine (with guilt) how I can be a better steward. 
I am sure you have similar conversations with yourself, and framing them in terms of Purpose and Harmony may help you continue to grow into the person who dwells in the channel in which your life flows.  With spring’s eventual arrival and the approach of both Easter and Passover, we can all benefit from moments of personal reflection and steps toward realignment before we enter into the more active days of summer.

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