I have a dear friend who is a gifted biologist. Hiking with her, she always manages to notice a ring snake among the leaves, the curved tail of a salamander just below a river rock, or the fluttering wings of some reclusive bird species high up in the canopy. I imagine a great many people might hike the same path and notice none of these things. In fact, they might conclude that there isn’t much life within that stretch of forest at all.
So often in life, what we find is predetermined by what we are looking for.
On our own unique paths as individuals, how much beauty and wonder are we open to noticing? How alive is our inner forest, and how are we interpreting the experiences we have along the journey?
The stories we tell ourselves about our identities, communities, relationships, and worth can be self-fulfilling prophecies. If uninterrogated, these narratives create patterns in our lives through confirmation bias. And these narratives are not only dangerous, but often untrue. How many of our self-created villains, heroes, or detractors are actually just the shadow puppets of our own fears, justifications, or desire to belong?
I think of the famous quote by Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
I think the “power beyond measure” she is referring to is the power to write and rewrite our own stories, change our perspectives, and build a brighter reality. One of the many things that inspires me about The Pollination Project community of changemakers is that their awareness is trained on goodness and solution-seeking. The very act of applying for seed funding means that their personal narratives are expansive; the story they have created for their own lives includes belief in their unique ability to be a force for goodness in the world.
Focusing on light does not mean ignoring the dark. Amplifying goodness is not to assert that suffering does not exist, but is a choice to focus on what we are for rather than what we are against; to be moved by love, rather than fear.
If we find ourselves unable to see anything but darkness we can pause and ask the question – what am I seeking?
Whatever it is, you can be sure you’ll find it.