a life of Must

Someone stopped me in the corridor last week. She said, “You will not lose one iota of your faith if you are true to yourself”

There is an article on Medium that references a WH Auden quote, and the idea that, getting older, our lives are becoming more specific. As they become more specific, we are actively making choices on who we want to be, and what we want to do. The writer of that article said, “An authentic life must be lived with integrity. That calls for choosing and committing without holding back.”

I was thinking about that article last night, while also thinking about what integrity means. What “following your heart” means. What “being true to yourself” means.

Who knows? Kind of.

This year I’ve been thinking of the idea of synchronicity. I’ve been thinking about the idea of being led, doors opening, the universe conspiring, et cetera. I’ve been thinking that if we are all born with very specific giftings, contexts, and desires, we are all born for very specific purposes. And somewhere, inside of us, we have inklings towards what that is. Or what they are.

In the past, I have wondered whether this is irrational, illogical and unrealistic. But more and more, I am becoming convinced otherwise.

I stumbled across this article today about the crossroads of Should and Must. Should being what we, society, our friends, our imagination had thought of us and they way we should live. Must being this undergirding force, this inner propelling inside of us that dreams of breaking out, being free, living true.

In the article, she talks about the fact that Picasso’s life blended seamlessly with his work. She purports an idea that our career can be our calling can be our job. I have a faith, and have often been told that there is a difference between having a calling, and having a job. The word vocation comes from the latin vocare; to call. So this idea is indeed ancient. And sure, job and calling, they don’t have to blend in obvious fashions and facets. But I’m increasingly believing that in some ways, they can – and will. If I am following what feels right, if I am following some sort of intuitive leaning. And that is because my God is as interested in my creative work, as he his my ideas for a story, my desire to connect with people, and my desire (most of the time) to challenge myself.

But that’s not what this is about anyway.

What this is about is more synchronicity. Call and response. Following what feels right. The inner unctioning, of what I would call, the spirit. What every person has inside of them – I guess the gut, perhaps intuition – of what helps make decisions.

“Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place”

Back to Picasso. Picasso’s life blurred and blended with his work. Which reminds me. A couple of weeks ago, at uni, we had a guest speaker that came to speak to us. He was a non-fiction writer of Jewish decent. He told us that he was led to the Middle East as a correspondent, believing that “inside every person, there is an arab-israeli conflict”, and if he could understand that conflict, he could understand every confict. That was because, he said, this was a conflict about memory, tribalism, and family. Those, he said, were the genesis of every conflict. Brother against brother. Cousin against cousin.

What struck me most was how he talked about his faith, his career, his dreams and his family with poignant humanity. Everything blurred into everything. In interviews with people, he tried to capture the “essence” of a person – the crinkle of their eye, their multi-faceted mind. He wanted to find out what made them tick. I want that blur.

According to a friend, this belief, that everything flows and blurs into everything is a Hebraic idea. A Hebraic mindset. There, everything moves in spirals. Time is based on context “the day that the Lord did”, rather than on a linear scale. Everything is spiritual, and centred around family. It’s centred on good humanity rather than good thinking, chronology and a ladder of success and understanding (Greek.)

There, true living is being true in every facet and in every sense. One thing will lead to another. It’s cyclical and unconventional and moves in seasons and spirals. “Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before”, modern philosopher Joseph Campbell wrote.

I am inclined to believe that Must will actually filter out the things we believe we should do with ourselves. Must says that there are things that have been placed inside me that I will use. That I will dream with and then that I will build with. Must says that I have a “luminous part of me that exists beyond my personality”. As George Saunders said I must “do those things that incline [me] towards the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce [me] and make [me] trivial.” I need to “believe [that part] exists, come to know it better, nuture it, share its fruits tirelessly.”

It also says that I can throw myself into things. I can believe with all of my heart. I can go with what feels right. I can trust that there is abundance. I can trust there is room for everyone. My friend says, “everything is poetry and alchemy”, and that’s how she tests working it all out. Feeling out the chemicals and the rhythms. Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist preacher said, “lead us into marrow and fatness Holy Ghost.” The book of Job says, “he will complete the things he appoints for me, and many such things are on his mind.” I am inclining towards believing these things.

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