08 Nov Calling on My Heart of Hearts
RAIN PATTERS DOWN on the ceiling early in the morning. It falls beyond the blue stained window of my friends’ San Francisco living room, where the buildings are dense and timeless. The world outside the glass is dark.
The cracked walls and the colored flags, the streets which lead to the ocean’s edge, they make me feel at home. But I’ve never called this city home. Perhaps wandering these storied hills makes me feel alive, for it induces a sense of adventure and connection, a mingling of the present and the past. People have been up in the rain for hours, making sure the city runs.
This is what I love.
I bundle up in a large black coat and heed my spirit’s call. I head up to the roof to feel the rain. The pink morning light pervades this maritime town. The rain falls lightly upon my jacket. It drifts from the sky, like it does in the morning when close to water, by the sea or in the mountains or by a river, the complement of day and night. Dawn.
The damp wooden steps creak as I make my way up. I smile and take a breath. A rolling wave of clouds settles on the ocean’s crest; the auburn Golden Gate Bridge hides within the somnolent sky, red like autumn leaves or the day’s last rays of light.
Boats and cargo ships sail steadily across bay, passing the rock turned island prison, Alcatraz, on their way. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but moments like this, observing an enduring city’s spirit slowly start to glow, mean everything to me.
The weather changes and I listen — the sun’s light pierces through those gloomy clouds; the world begins to glisten. I think about the subtleties of our experience — about the feeling of being somewhere, anywhere, where life occurs and time moves forward, where good people do what they’ve always done.
They care for their families and loved ones and even perfect strangers — they face the day and grind to live and do what it takes to somehow give, and perhaps from what’s left over, people, no matter where or who or what they are, hope to hold on to a moment of joy, peace, ease, to store and lock away, from the endless stream of doing what must be done.
To those in the boats and those in the streets on their early morning walk; to those turning on the lights in the faithful corner store and those making breakfast for their children; to those who’ve burned the midnight oil waiting for this day, to pass a test to go where mentally, emotionally, physically they’ve never gone.
To those interested in what we do, how we do it, and the interconnectedness of it all — the rain and these words I’m putting down and the allure that has brought me to this roof — I trust it’s all connected.
Following our interests with everything we have — the adventure of our lives.
Even though my eyes are heavy and I’m slowly growing damp, my spirit restores when I watch the sun breathe color into the sky, when it feels the touch of cold, the chill of wind atop the hills. It flows like water through the streets and carries leaves in gusts. Summer’s gone. Nearly fall. I hope to grasp it, to impart the way it makes me feel.
It’s not the change of season which brings me joy. It’s what the change of season means — I don’t know what it means. Death and rebirth, the passage of time, the perennial nature of change — a reason to explore, to get outside and live. We can’t stop the seasons — we can only watch them go.
Next year it will be fall again. A year we get to experience. Who will we be? What actions will we take day by day? Perhaps less action is what we need; whatever makes us happy.
said the Greek philosopher Socrates.
Two words which thread like a needle through all of history. Through the quests of our greatest heroes and the brave pursuits of everyday individuals who seek, who try, who care.
John Vervaeke, an award-winning professor at the University of Toronto, explains in his YouTube series “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” that Socrates didn’t mean necessarily to know where you come from, as in your family tree.
He meant you must strive to know how you operate — how you interact with the world, what makes you truly feel, how you could be better.
Vervaeke explores the growing disconnect that people are feeling for themselves, from each other, and from a foreseeable future that truly matters. But we can change.
Know Thyself, Vervaeke explains, is to know why you do what you do, what you truly want, and if we’re being truthful in how we’re living our lives.
How do we truly get to know ourselves? We’re multi-faceted, cut like diamond. But what guides us underneath this aging set of bones is our heart of hearts; through subconscious desire, through dreaming, through interest, we’re being called to do something, to be something, to break from what we think, and to trust.
“Interest is a spirit beckoning from the unknown, a spirit calling from outside the ‘walls’ of society,” writes psychologist Jordan Peterson in his book Maps of Meaning.
Risk your security. Face the unknown. Quit lying to yourself, and do what your heart truly tells you to do. You will be better for it, and so will the world.
How often do we shy away from that inner voice because of fear? How often do we stay where we are when we’re called to face the unknown? If we don’t heed that call, we may as well be dead. We’re alive; our spirit is calling us to live.
This — whatever it is I’m doing — I know, is what I love. Still, it’s a challenge to describe. All I know is I’m being called, just as each and every one of us is called to something.
I’m willing to dedicate my life to discovering what that something is. I know that if I don’t listen to what my spirit is calling me to do, my life will lose all meaning; my energy will deplete, my eyes will lose their sparkle.
Committing to our interests makes life more than bearable.
It makes it fucking meaningful. Do it for you.