When I was a younger man I was consumed with passions.
I think you were, too.
We all go through emotional turmoil, some of you are still young and going through it!
Part of it is feeling adrift in the larger world, small in the face of enormity.
We feel we need a purpose, a reason, a divine path.
And it’s true.
The problem is that we tend to live in an adolescent society that reduces issues to either/or.
Should I do this, or that? Date him or dump him? Take this job, or that one?
What does God want me to do?
Of course, we are making two big errors. The first is reducing the complexities of our options to a binary code when in fact we have an unlimited array of choices we could make.
We don’t just have to do one thing or another. We can do both, find a way to allow for greater freedom in our decisions. Or we could do none of them at all and look to entirely new paths.
The second error is presuming an Infinite Universe has only one Purpose for us. Just one thing we could possibly do to have a positive or profound impact on the world.
We can do thousands of things! Tens of thousands! There is no end to the good work we can do and if we are paying attention, it can change all the time.
The important thing is to start. Start with at least one thing first and then learn to expand our way of thinking to include as many options as possible.
The world is rarely what we think it is.
It’s usually better.
And we are both smaller and larger in it than we might believe. We are not as important as our egos might suggest, but we are far more important than we are able to imagine. If that sounds a bit confusing, it’s because it is – until you start walking your path.
Which as we have learned, is any path that serves us and others right now.
This painting was made for one of my very best friends. His beautiful partner asked me to create it.
It usually takes me at least a year to create a commission piece. Why? I wish I could say. I think there is something that needs to develop, some seed that needs to come to fruition. Even if I finish something quickly, I will stay with it for a long time until I’m sure.
This painting, I realized, had to be about beauty. It had to be about layers of the human soul, it had to be about meditation and prayer.
It had to be about truth.
And that’s not always easy. You could say that adult life is a constant practice of stripping away illusions, stripping away the small dishonesties that plague us.
Purpose will get you there.
It’s my birthday.
I have been trying to walk in purpose all my life and have frequently stumbled, fallen and got back up again.
I’ve hurt others and been hurt in turn.
I know there are struggles and weaknesses to transform in my future.
Just as there are in yours.
But here’s the thing. We are not alone. We are in this life together.
The greatest value you can develop in your heart is to help when you can help, with gratitude and in honouring.
I wish I could give everyone a gift on my birthday, some token to show how grateful I am to be sharing this path with you.
Instead I will offer my prayers, my energy and my hard work. May the love I put into the work I have been given lift you in some small way, at some small time when you need it.
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photo: Jeremy Briand