In the past post Feeling Disconnected from Life: 9 Steps to Reconnect Today I quoted Abraham Joshua Heschel saying:
“Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder.”
The purpose of this was to bring awareness to the fact that our brains are inclined toward automaticity and the thing we do in life and the ways we are tend to become habit. What was once interesting or what we used to put heartfelt attention into tends to become rote.
Six months before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967 in a talk titled “What is Your Life’s Blueprint.” In this talk he said:
“And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
What would the world be like if this was held in awareness throughout the day?
What would our work be like? What would our relationships be like?
We often have these rules in our head that we “should” be someone else than who we are. This is a recipe for unworthiness and cycling of shame.
The fact is we are far more similar than different regardless of our jobs. Once we begin accepting ourselves for who we are we can tap into enormous potential to live as Michelangelo painted pictures. .
Whether you’re a housewife, a programmer, an author, a teacher, a janitor, or the President of the United States, each of us has uniquely experienced what it means to be human. We each have experienced love and hurt, perceived triumphs and failings, adventures and loneliness, and joy and pain.
We are all human beings and maybe it’s time we look inside ourselves and stop measuring ourselves up to how we “should” be and instead recognize that it’s all right here. This doesn’t mean don’t reach for the stars, but you’ll be a lot more effective if you reach for them from where you are, rather than dreaming you were somewhere else.
There are unmeasured reserves of courage and strength to live Gandhi’s words, to “be the change we want to see in the world.”
So today, pop out of routine, recognize the miraculous intelligence you hold as a human being and live as if it mattered.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
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Last reviewed: 5 Dec 2010