The inevitable warmth of the Self


There is a point where the leap in front of me feels inevitable. It’s not rational, or even easy to explain. I just know it is time. Bruce Grierson describes it this way:

Every day, in almost every field, individuals perceive themselves to be on the wrong side of a divide.  The ‘second brain’ in their gut – that ten-billion nerve knot – tells them their life must change.  And, on more or at least deeply personal, grounds, they jump the gap.  The apprehension can seem so sudden that it straightens them in their chair – and then seems inevitable.

The divide shows up in a variety of ways. It can be a chasm I have been walking alongside for years but choosing not to look over and see what’s on my flank. It can be non-existent until something happens in life that makes it magically appear. It can sneak up on my consciousness, or it can boldly jump out in front of me.

Regardless of how it appears, when it is in front of me and I look at it fully, I recognize its inevitability. The persistent, practical problems I face will not be resolved until I cross the divide. I am compelled to leap, yet I must choose the right leap, and to do so, I must allow myself opportunities to step back from the edge from time to time.

Facing a threshold, let alone crossing it, is significant work because it requires us to delve into our inner knowledge, our in-tuition.  Our recognition of the crossing comes not from others, but from within. Our ability to make the crossing comes not from others, but from within.

From threshold to threshold new layers of our being emerge. What we become, and our ‘becoming’ relies heavily on our ability to explore our inner struggles. This is not easy work. It’s like looking into the sun: compelling and harmful. We can not fully look into ourselves, but we can let the bright sun warm us up. As the sun travels with us everywhere, so too does the Self, the higher Self in each of us that wants us to do well, be well and become our fullest potential.

Struggle, conflict and tension are not avoidable in life. I believe they are part of our lives because they serve as opportunities to learn. Each time we face a struggle, small, large or monstrous, we have a choice – go forward or turn away. Both choices are right. Its the choice itself that offers the opportunity to learn about our struggles and our path to become our fullest potential, as individuals, as families, neighbourhoods, organizations, cities and as a species.

John O’Donohue:

Without warning, thresholds can open directly before our feet.  These thresholds are also the shorelines of new worlds.

As we make our way through the world, we struggle regularly. When we choose to explore our struggles for what they teach us about ourselves, we begin to explore the shorelines of new worlds.  As we explore the world, shoreline by shoreline, we learn of the intelligence within each and all of us, basking in the warmth of what we know.

What shorelines are you exploring?


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This post forms part of Chapter 6 – Emerging Thresholds, of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities. Click here for an overview of Chapters 4-7 (Part 2 – Organizing for Emergence). Click here for an overview of the three parts of Nest City.

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Bruce Grierson, U-Turn: What if you woke up one morning and realized you were living the wrong life?

John O’Donohue, Bless the Space Between Us

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