by Celicia Theys
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.”
~ John O’Donohue ~
We all carry a secret knowledge deep within us. A secret that weaves its way within and between us: there is more to life!
As we grow up in this world, often the possibilities presented to us feel narrow and empty, devoid of the flesh and shiver of real life. What, then, would “real life” be? Something like what Charles Eisenstein calls “a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.”
We are born with it, with this knowledge of the true brilliance, depth, breadth (or breath) of our human nature, of our experience as living beings on this planet! Somehow the stories we are being told about the world today seem out of tune with this intimate knowledge. War. Crisis. Life equals Born + Go to School + Work for Money + Get Married + Climb The Ladder + Reproduce the Cycle. There is no alternative.
Professionally, we often find ourselves turning into, what David Brooks called in The Road to Character, “meritocratic materialists who have streamlined [our] inner humanity to make [our] ascent more aerodynamic”, showing up to work with only the part of ourselves that we deem fit for that environment.
Wait a minute!
If I streamline my humanity, what is left of me? Isn’t there more to life? More to life than doing as we’re told, fitting in, reproducing past trends and conforming to a norm that is no longer in tune with the world, and certainly not in tune with our profound aspirations? More to life then stepping on others’ toes to make it to “the top”, the heights of which often bring more loneliness, bitterness and dissatisfaction?
Surely, being alive is something fresh, vibrant, and colorful, something that beckons our hearts to break open, and causes our souls to dance and wriggle with glee! Surely being alive as a human being on this planet brings deep connection to self and other?
How can we snap out of the current world narrative and write a new story for ourselves?
And as we grow, some of us may decide we want to have children. How do we break the cycle of the old narratives, bringing our children hope and breathing oxygen into their hearts and lives?
One way is by telling different stories, stories of people who have come alive and, by doing so, splashed the lives of countless others in positive ripple effects. Such people do exist, and their lives are re-crafting our horizons, inspiring us to look within and find our own calling, that place deep inside that is crying for attention and begging to come into the world.
What their stories tell us is that we are born with it. We are born with this sacred place within that, when we can connect to it, reminds us of our importance in the walk of life, the walk for life. Of course we can change the world, though that is never the initial intention. The initial intention is to reconnect with what feels alive in us right now. When we are truly connected to that place inside, commitment follows suit, naturally, effortlessly. We discover that being grateful, generous, kind, creative, compassionate actors of our lives, our communities and our world comes easy to us! And we pass this knowledge on to others simply by, as Gandhi said, “being the change [we] wish to see in the world.”
This is my invitation to you today. Connect to what is burning inside you at this present moment and stay with it. Feel it, recognize it, and commit to it. Musician Just Jack sings it this way, “We are all embers from the same fire.”
How do we tend to the fire, to keep our common humanity burning? What is the oxygen? Who is the wood? What are the flames? What is the heat, and how do we make sure it warms as many hearts as possible?
We are all born with the power to imagine what does not yet exist. When you connect to your own inner fire, what do you envision for our common destiny as human beings? Maybe you could write it down as a letter, a ‘letter to humanity!”’ How would you put into words your wishes for the world and your aspiration to do something to bring change and make use of the talent that we all have in our hearts? Write whatever you like to the rest of your human family and imagine ‘a million new friends’ just waiting to hear from you. If you like, share your deepest hopes and yearnings. Feel free to reveal your insights—and don’t forget some thoughts about what you are going to do.
I have done this exercise myself. Through reconnecting with my inner flame, I have ignited a spark that has danced into real life, birthing opportunities and projects that tied together my intuition of the importance of culture as a tool for personal and social transformation and my desire to create spaces for youth of radically different backgrounds to connect, explore their differences and discover their common humanity.
There is more to Life.
“Talent” is “Latent” unscrambled. So, are you ready to ignite the spark of your own talent and step into the bonfire of Life?
Once it is written, feel free to join ‘a million new friends’ by uploading your letter on the Talent for Humanity website.
Celicia Theys is the spokesperson for the book, Talent for Humanity, and a team member at the organization by the same name, an international non-profit that recognizes, celebrates, and supports individuals whose talents had, and still have, a positive impact on humanity and serve as a source of inspiration to others. It was conceived by a group of people drawn together by a single vision of serving humanity and by the idea that it is possible to create a better world through entertainment and the performing arts. For more information, visit www.talentforhumanity.org.