This Marvelous Adventure Called Life
“The soul is always beautiful,
The universe is duly in order, every thing is in its place,
What has arrived is in its place and what waits shall be in its place…”
Walt Whitman’s classic, Leaves of Grass, still calls to me now and again. In this passage I embrace the way he gives such unequivocal assurance about the order and perfect timing of all things. It brings to mind Bob Proctor’s teachings of Wallace D. Wattles, author of, “The Science of Getting Rich," when he asserts that, “God does nothing other than perfectly.” We have choice, will and volition, among other glorious faculties, but the timing always belongs to God; which ensures what Whitman assures, namely that what has arrived is rightly placed as well as rightly timed, and that for which we wait will arrive in its own perfect time, not ours. And when it does indeed come, it will be in its right and perfect place.
This can be both comforting and frustrating. It is comforting because we are given the assurance that we can count on this being always true and right. It is frustrating because often we want things before their time, before they manifest; and consequently, we can become impatient and discouraged, like the one who cries, “Dear Lord, give me patience; but give it to me right now!”
There is an image that sometimes comes to mind as I think of myself or others, when feeling impatient. It is almost as if we plant a seed in fertile ground, and even though much is stirring underneath the soil we cannot see it, and we do not yet detect any movement, change or growth. The temptation is to dig up the seed and see if anything is happening. What a set-back that would cause. With a little more patience, we will soon see a tender shoot emerging from the surface of the ground, and advancing toward the light.
So it is with our own growth and development. This is the way of faith as described in Hebrews, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Our task is to continually nurture, tend and cultivate our ideas, our dreams and our plans, with patience and persistence; knowing by faith that the richness of the soil, the promises of God and the pull of the light will do the rest.
I think this is one of the hardest lessons for many of us. Yet once grasped, it is one of the most empowering. After we have tested this, usually many times, and found it to be always true and trustworthy, then we approach everything differently. Where once we might have had fear, doubt and a sense of foreboding, now we live with that deep assurance, and there is a lightness of spirit. We can trust the veracity of that unequivocal assurance. We simply need to take that proverbial leap of faith.
In his timeless book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” Norman Vincent Peale tells the wonderful story of a famous trapeze artist who was giving instruction to one of his students about the high bar. The student looked up and simply couldn’t imagine being able to perform the act. He froze and exclaimed that he just couldn’t do it. The instructor put his arm around the frightened student and assured him he could do it, and that he would explain how. Then the instructor made a remarkable statement. He said, “Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow.”
Perhaps the best antidote or counsel is one of encouragement; and sharing of personal stories that illustrate this truth. When I was beginning in corporate management one of the company’s vice presidents said to me, “If you want to be a leader, be a reader.” The wisdom of his statement continues to resonate within me to this day. We can’t possibly live long enough to make all the important mistakes we’ll need in order to learn from them. By reading about and studying the lives of others who have accomplished the things to which we aspire, we can glean the lessons from their mistakes and experiences. It is a marvelous gift.
As Napoleon Hill has rightly instructed, “The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.” And as Bob Proctor explains, and I wholeheartedly concur, any program of personal growth and development which does not have a spiritual component is incomplete. Whether you believe that we are spiritual beings on a human journey, or human beings on a spiritual journey, the element of spirit is an integral part of us and our travels.
Joy and gratitude are absolutely foundational as part of our success and fulfillment. In closing I quote Whitman once again, “Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy.”
May you find this to be true for you, as you make your way throughout this marvelous adventure called life.
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