When our children are learning to walk they take slow and unsteady steps. They fall down, again and again. We watch their journey to mobility and know that eventually they will reach success. None of us ever expect them to get it right on the first try. We, as parents, would never say to them after their first fall, "That’s it, you’re done, no walking for you!"
When I was a kid I played softball. The phrase that is forever burned into my brain is, “Shake it off.” I was the strike-out queen and that’s what the coaches and parents say when you strike out: “Shake it off, babe. You’ll get 'em next time.” There was always a next time, another chance for me to hit the ball and run the bases. I struck out more times than I can remember, but I’ll never forget the way I felt the time I hit a triple (even though it turned out to be a foul ball). For a brief moment I felt the glory of hitting the mark.
So how does this connect to my spirituality?
As I have begun to explore spiritual topics, the subject of reincarnation keeps coming up -- and this theme of "getting 'em next time" is one of the reasons that it feels like truth to me. Our entire lives are based on the idea that practice makes perfect. When we're younger, If we fail a grade or subject in school then we are sent back to repeat it. As adults In the job market, experience is vital. When I wrote my first novel and queried literary agents, I quickly realized that I needed to have experience to even get noticed. I also learned that I needed to practice my craft so that I would have a product worth reading...
So again, how does this connect to my spirituality? I believe is that life is, in short, the idea that practice makes perfect. I think that the soul’s ultimate goal is to reach God realization or the mystic’s consciousness. We are put here by God, to experience for God, and ultimately reunite with God... But that is a huge task and takes much more than just one try. We come back again and again learning different lessons along the way. We experience all of the duality this worldly life has to offer and eventually we reach the point where we can rise above it.
I do not find comfort in accepting that this cushy life I have -- in which I have been clothed, fed, cared for, and spoiled -- is my only try here. I like to believe I have earned the blessings and beauty that have filled the experience in my 35 years. I think of the woman in Darfur who has just been brutally raped and watched her husband murdered at her feet, and I pray that in the next life she will be a queen. I can’t accept that the millions of Jews that died in the Holocaust had only one chance and that that one chance ended in the most inhumane suffering. I can’t accept that Hitler murdered all of those people and doesn’t get the chance to come back and save at least one.
I believe that God is both feminine and masculine, mother and father. I don’t know any set of parents who would expect their children to learn every lesson and get everything right with just one try. And if I subscribe to the belief that we are made in the image and likeness of God, why would I believe that God gives me just one try to learn all of life’s lessons and return like the prodigal son?
What do you think, Pinkies? Do you believe in reincarnation, or is this our only shot? How do you stay present in your life while also employing the "shake it off" mentality?
Photo by Meagan Long
Love and Light,
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