26 Jul We’re On This Earth To Feel Love
A FRIEND recently told me Vinny, I love talking to you. You make the world seem… better. That’s my definition of success.
Through exploring what grips my heart and soul, I am in his eyes easing the pain in this world, the pain I feel — which we all feel — in some capacity in different seasons.
I go through waves of highs and lows. I know that the peaks and valleys are all part of the experience, as hard as that is to appreciate when we’re in the throes of it.
I am nothing but grateful for it all. We can learn a tremendous amount when in those valleys, at the least, that things get better just as quickly as they get worse.
Life is nothing if not change. To make it through even when I’m hurting and the tears fall, I choose to be hopeful.
I choose to be optimistic.
My beliefs are based upon my conviction that this world can be better by our everyday acts to be good, and that’s often what gets me through the most challenging seasons.
Considering the bigger picture of all this.
I’m not trying to fix people’s problems; I’m not passing out lollipops to strangers or singing in the streets (although I do dance beneath the moon quite often; come to think of it, I sing pretty often, too).
I’m just questioning, as I am insatiably curious myself. I know I’m not alone.
What are we really doing here?
What kind of life do I want to lead?
Who do I strive to become?
I write and I do what I do to understand myself and my place in this cosmic play.
Life is an uphill climb. That’s what I love about it, so, so much. If it wasn’t a struggle, what would be the point of truly going for anything?
Since it’s undeniably a climb, I just can’t see how being cynical, or agnostic, or apathetic, is the best path forward. It feels like giving in.
Perhaps it’s edgy to act as if life sucks and we might as well say screw it. That might seem cool for a second, but it’s not the perspective I want to base the trajectory of my life on.
I understand it’s not always just an act, either.
Life brings all of us to our knees at some point or another. The pain we suffer can inflict a lifelong perspective of cynicism. It’s, in fact, the norm to have a negative outlook.
So is it naïve to be optimistic? Yes, if you believe the world is free of pain.
I’ve known pain for a long time. Physical, all-encompassing pain which won’t leave me be. But I’m on my way out because I’ve never given in completely. I’ve never given up.
My experience with suffering is minimal compared to so many others, for this world can be impossibly cruel. Life is no joke. That darkness lives in each of us.
But so does the light.
It takes courage to go against the norm and be optimistic. To look life square in the face and say I know what you are and what you can do.
Wars are raging, for starters. It’s hard to know what to make of it.
It takes courage to trust life, anyway. To have faith, anyway.
To throw caution in the wind and say I’m going to give this everything I have, knowing full well that I may fail or be hurt or lose everything. I’m going to try to make this world better, no matter how I fall along the way.
The adventure to be had through giving a shit and trying is the antidote to suffering. Even if you don’t get to where you imagined, you will have seriously, and truly, lived.
And what if we could not only bring ourselves up, but actually inspire and encourage others as we persevere?
“Anything that a person can do to alleviate the suffering in others is a good thing, a positive thing, a meaningful thing,” says legendary speaker and writer Robert McKee on The Rich Roll Podcast.
“Stories do exactly that. They make life livable. They help alleviate the suffering because great suffering comes from confusion.”
I’m wonderfully confused, trust me. That’s largely why I write. It’s far easier to give into cynicism and say why bother?
It’s a fair question.
We’re so overstimulated by negativity practically everywhere we look that we hardly know who the hell we are as individuals.
Turn off the news. Its only job is to make every problem your problem, to steal a line from entrepreneur Naval Ravikant.
You aren’t out of touch if you don’t keep up with the bullshit.
The “realists” might say life is pain and not worth living. Maybe that’s true.
But we’re here, anyway — spiritual beings in meat suits hurling through the solar system at a time that is without a doubt the best to have ever been born.
If being optimistic makes my daily experience a more joyful, inspired, and beautiful one, why the hell not believe in it over a more “realistic” perspective?
When I consider the questions:
Is life worth bringing a child into?
Is it wrong to be optimistic?
Is the world really going to shit?
I come to the same conclusion. We’re here, anyway!
So what are you going to do about it?
Talk to people. Engage with life. This world is full of so much beauty, color, and incomprehensible magic if we get out there and look.
We don’t have to go out saving kittens. All that matters is trying to be a good person, for that’s all that matters in the end, not what you did, but who you were.
There are no objective measures, really; no signposts along the way which tell us we’re becoming a better person. In fact it’s practically the opposite.
We see people who are “successful.” We think okay, that’s what it takes. That’s what I want. That’s what people admire.
We hardly consider if that version of success is what we truly want.
We can’t imagine their internal struggles, as often, external rewards do nothing but exacerbate the inner battle between right and wrong.
That doesn’t mean don’t aim to be successful. I want to make it just as much as anyone. We just have to know who we are and why we’re doing what we’re doing.
“There’s a lot of people that have won championships, made a lot of money, won a lot of awards and had what seems like a glamorous life,” says author Ryan Holiday in an interview with actor Matthew McConaughey.
“But how many of those people are happy? For how many of those people did it do for them what they thought it would do for them? You can argue that a rarer feat is the person who is great at what they do, and has enough. And feels good about themselves. And is a good person.”
Success means nothing if we abandon what it means to be a good human being. The reward is empty if we’ve burned bridges, brought others down or only looked out for ourselves along the way.
What you do and say either makes your heart stronger, the ground you stand upon sturdier, the fire of your spirit brighter — or weakens you.
What we feel as real in our hearts may not be seen in the same way by the world. We may have to take a stand for what we feel is right.
This is hard to do, which is why most people don’t.
Being optimistic makes the ground I stand upon stable.
I want to one day bring children into a world I know from the bottom of my heart is good.
Far from perfect, challenging, real, worth contending with — good.
I want to bring children into the world so they can one day feel the fire I feel now, pursuing the answers to the question:
What makes life worth living?
I want them to feel the joy of perseverance and grit and play. I want them to look into the sky and know the wonder of the infinite. I want them to feel the warmth of angry tears rolling down their cheeks.
We’re alive for such an infinitesimal blip of time in the grand scheme of existence. It’s unimaginable how we truly matter.
Yet we do matter; we’re alive, we’re conscious and the time is now — not a million years ago and not the year 2050. Now.
By some miracle our hearts beat for a certain amount of years. We can breathe. We feel things, a myriad of things in this forest of mystery called existence. There’s one road out. The only path that’s truly clear.
Human beings are on this earth to feel love. Love flows through every blade of grass, every wave, every cloud. It permeates all that’s known and unknown.
And we get to feel it. And maybe for a moment, maybe two, maybe undoubtedly and forever we know why we’re here, and it’s to feel that thing called love which makes the pain of being alive worth it.
I believe in human beings, because when you stop listening to the noise and start looking in the eyes and hearts of people, you see what’s really there.
That we really are good.
Far from perfect; trying.
That’s all that matters.