Living Large

For whatever reason, I have always been fascinated by the apparent contradictions I encounter while learning to live a life of spirit. Exploring how they come together and resolve, takes me to a place of unity, of oneness, which is the source of me, and of all. Let me explain.

The idea of "living large” conjures images of stepping into a place of high energy, risk taking, going out of the comfort zone, trying new things, going for the gold, and jumping off the edge of cliffs to see what happens (figuratively, of course.) These ideas are all great, and can be a motivation to bigger and better accomplishments, a life lived fully. Sometimes, we do really need to shake it up, get off the couch, run that marathon, audition for that part, while always being true to our inner voice.

As I paddled my kayak around in Tenedos Bay recently, I wasn’t thinking about any of this, and at first I was pushing it a bit hard, counting strokes to keep me going. My goal was to get some physical exercise, hoping to offset the extra food and drink that I tend to enjoy when we’re out in our sailboat for a few days. Each meal seems like a mini celebration, no reason necessary, but not really an atmosphere conducive to disciplined intake. So I search out ways to burn a few calories: hiking or kayaking when possible.

When I had had enough of exertion, I started puttering around the edges of the enormous rock cliffs, looking into the water for whatever I could see. Lots of oysters and oyster shells made a backdrop for orange and purple starfish. Black mussels nestled in rocky fissures, and tiny reddish crabs scurried around, busily attending to their daily chores. Mother Nature’s paintings, one after the other, were presented from all directions. As I slowed down to watch all this, I was surrounded by a school of small fish, so many that the water looked silver with their large eyes glinting like coins as they turned, all going at the same speed and exactly in the same direction, under my bow, along side, away from me, back under the stern. I was so startled that I pulled my stroke, not wanting to dip into their masses with my paddle. I sat still for several minutes in a boat that was drifting on a sea of animated silver coins, each one alive, being itself, participating fully in it’s own life.

That was when I understood that "living large” is not about the size of the audience, of the budget, of the vehicle, or of the serving, but it is about the capacity to experience, to pay attention, to be conscious throughout whatever activity is chosen, however apparently unimportant or insignificant it may be. And although everyone is born with that consciousness, we sometimes get so caught up in the outer living, that we forget to stop to appreciate and experience life. We need to remember to nurture our capacity to make wise choices, consult our inner wisdom, and commit to living large in Spirit.