To Thrive || A Symphony Of United Nurturing Elements
Adventures of the Soul by Khadija Muhaisen Dajani
I have spoken about this to my friends. I am known to be a bit of a talker. (This may explain why I have noticed the dwindling frequency of my visits with friends. I thought it was my nutritional choices. Now I am wondering if this may be the reason. Pause for thought.) I have described to them the process of writing this blog as giving birth every week. When I started over a year ago, the labour was pretty intense. The process lacked smoothness. There was so much cleaning up to do. Nowadays, the words flow. The operation is softer in some ways, and much more intense in others. I notice a slight increase in my heart rate. Excitement gives me butterflies in my gut. Tears and sweat call for a box of tissues and a cloth to be handy by my keyboard.
You see, this does not only involve me sitting down at the computer for a few hours and stringing thoughts together. This labour lasts a week: observing, feeling, and listening. And some serious praying for inspiration, bordering on slight panic toward the end of the week. Yoga practice helps tremendously. The time I spend in meditation, breathing, and conscious, connected movement opens me fully to inspiration. (You really should try yoga.) Most of the time, it descends -or arises- toward the end of my practice, in closing or as I am laying down in savasana (corpse pose).
When my friend earlier in the week brought up the concept of “thriving”, I was intrigued. It brought up so many associations and memories for me. I am sure it did not cross my friend’s mind that death would be one of them. I am also certain Elizabeth Gilbert, Arianna Huffington, and Steve and Mona Jobs were no where near her mind. Let the stringing begin.
Most have read Eat, Pray, Love. I am aware it may not currently be “cool” -or "on fleak" as my 16-year-old would say- to admit it. I personally enjoyed it. More recently, I really dove into her latest book Big Magic, where she writes about creative ideas that float in the universe, waiting for a host -an environment- that allows them to flourish. The same idea will try as many hosts as it could find until it settles into the most fertile garden.
I think one such idea found me on my mat this morning. It was very random - about death and coming to peace with it. Accepting it. And acknowledging that the earth continues to revolve around the sun. The sun rises every morning. The trees grow toward the light. Life goes on. The seeds of this idea comfortably nestled themselves in my mental garden and found water. Nourishment to follow.
I read Arianna Huffington’s Thrive over four years ago. I am not sure what drew me to it. I suspect it was because its creator was a trailblazer. Women like her remind me why I wake up every morning at sunrise with a smile on my face. To be a woman on this planet -today- is the greatest gift. Little did I know that this book would officially mark the beginning of an adventure for me.
In it, she offers a new definition for success -away from the usual materialistic metrics of money and power. She presents a third metric for success, one that relies on the measures of wellness, wisdom, wonder, and giving. I remember a few details from the book. What stayed with me was the simple notion that one’s legacy is never about burning the candle at work or closing the biggest financial deal of the century. It is about a breakfast meal one buys for someone having a rough day.
“Our eulogies are always about the other stuff: what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our family and friends, small kindness, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.” - Arianna Huffington, Thrive.
This third metric of success is self-explanatory. And also unequivocally authentic because it comes from the essence. At his eulogy, Steve Jobs’ sister Mona Simpson spoke of his passions manifesting themselves in his work and work ethic:
“Steve worked at what he loved. What really moved him was love. Love was his supreme virtue.”
She did not remind those who were listening that he was behind the phones that were vibrating in their pockets.
To thrive for me is to live life in its fullest, at every moment. To thrive is to rise at sunrise eager to begin the adventure every day, with a smile of pride and gratitude at the gift of being here now, given another moment to be thankful for every breath. To thrive is to walk unwavering down the path of light, following the light in all its forms, surrendering and trusting in the grace that moves one’s spirit, receiving and sharing inspired ideas so that the collective garden of our human consciousness may provide a fertile ground for the seeds of inspiration, love, healing, and compassion. Simple -and non-negotiable.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” - Steve Jobs, commencement address at Stanford University.
One hand cannot clap alone. That’s another essential element of thriving. The universe operates in symphony, in its wholeness being much more grand than the sum of its parts. Our body functions the same way. Tens of thousands of little soldiers, each in charge of a part, work in unison to achieve a state of balance and efficiency. There is a sweet reference to this concept in yoga: a sangha, a community engaged in serving and bringing joy to one another, who inspire each other to contribute to the upliftment of the whole.
“Yogananda spoke about the importance of a worldwide fellowship; every person contributes to civilization in a spirit of brotherhood. Many people choose to follow the way of Ananda Sangha. In doing so, they take vows not only to the universal spirit and the practice of self-realization, but also to the service of fellow beings. For example, Ananda Sanghis “seek fellowship with others willing to join hands in this loving labor for universal upliftment” and commit to practicing at least one serviceful act per day.” -Ananda Organization.
We are in this together. When my brother heals, I heal. And in my healing, fathers and mothers find the medicine they need to soothe their souls. We are witnessing this as we speak. #metoo