Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The right life

What is the most righteous path? How is the best life lived? What makes a good life?

I imagine these questions being asked by a breathless, sweaty climber who has reached a guru atop a rocky mountain. Yet, as reflective beings, we do ask similar questions in our day-to-day life. Without the drama of the high mountain climb, in our cars or in the shower, we ponder: what is the right life? The questions may look more like:

Should I stay home with my children or return to paid work?
Is it better to stay in the safe job with an employer or take a risk and try something new?
Am I happy in this relationship/ marriage?
Should I be tough on my teen-aged child or be compassionate to his/her struggle?
Can I tell my mom/ dad/ sibling/ boss how I really feel?

Of course there are many more questions where we wonder what is the *right* choice.

I recently struggled with a decision about what steps to take next. Should I pursue teaching spiritual circles and focus my efforts on getting more people to come? Or should I continue in the paper-pushing work of getting clinical social work status and taking a few graduate courses? Or should I work away making some money with less loftier aims and primarily focus on the needs of my still-young-but-not-for-long daughters?

I struggled with feeling obligated to my spiritual teachers. I felt that if I have been taught one or two things spiritually that I *should* share the gift. It is not meant for me alone and so I must pass it on. However, I am not ready, in many ways, to focus my efforts on spiritual teaching full-time. I am worried about making a business sustainable and I fear I might not be successful.

This is what happened to me during this time of struggle:

Talking to an indecisive woman about to have an abortion I heard myself say: There is no judgement. There is no *right* choice here. If you choose this path (in her case have a 4th child), your life will look like this. If you choose this other path (in her case have an abortion), this is how your life may look. This is the burden of choice. How your life is created is up to you. This isn't about who is inconvenienced by your choice, this is between you, God (however you understand that term) and your child.

So read that paragraph twice. First there are the words to a woman who is scared she will hate herself if she aborts her fourth pregnancy/ child, but at the same time feels overwhelmed with three small children already. This alone is profound and meaningful.

The second time you read it, it's a message to me about my struggle: what is the right life? Here is the answer:

The right life is the one that you create.
There is no obligation.
It isn't about who is inconvenienced,
it's about you, God and your child*.

(*The feel of "your child" is implied to mean my role as mother,
but also the implication to future generations- do no harm.)

So now then... what is the right life for you?

Well, that's just it. There is no *right* answer. Live with an open heart and hear your own wisdom. You know the answers. There is only love. When you get past the fear, obligation and sense of lack there is no struggle. You are the creator of your life.

With love,



  1. Post-note: The indecisive woman left the clinic and never did return.

    I decided to let go of obligation and close my circles for the summer. I will start again in September.