I’ve discovered that when I write and speak, I have a choice as to what pronouns I’m going to use. They all have a place. We has a place. You has a place. He, she, and they have a place in my writing and speaking.
We emphasizes the experiences we share. You is a very clear and directly connected way of speaking to another person. And he, she or they addresses an experience of someone else in which I am not necessarily participating.
Here, I would like to write in the first person singular, I. But I’d like to do so with an awareness that I may not be speaking just for myself. I believe that about pronouns, no matter which one you use. We share something in common, so there is plurality whether you use a plural pronoun or not, and there’s also individuality no matter what pronoun you use. So in some way it doesn’t matter what choice I make, yet different meanings are highlighted by different pronouns.
My own path is a journey of full self emergence. That is the name we use for our seven-month residential program for spiritual awakening and personal development here at Sunrise Ranch that begins in April. But I’d like to speak about full self emergence personally and what it means to me.
For me, full self emergence does have the implication that is most obvious. Who I am is emerging as fully as possible into the world in which I live. So as much of me as possible is going to find expression as truthfully, as strongly, as gloriously as I can allow. That is a goal of my life, if you didn’t know, to be as out there as I can be—not just out there in the sense of being outrageous, though I’ve been known to be outrageous on occasion. But out there in the sense of being out beyond my humanity, expressing out into my world, so that I reveal who I am as fully as possible; so that I express all the diversity and range of who I am. To me, that’s a recipe for joy and glory in living.
But when I think of selfhood in my own understanding of who I am, yes, I am a human being and I have a human history and human characteristics, like all of us. It’s good to exercise that character and allow the finest of it to come out and find expression. I also know that the truest thing about me isn’t human at all. The truest thing about me is a spirit that is not defined or confined by my human reality. I know that I am a spirit who has chosen to incarnate into this physicality—in fact, to raise this flesh, starting with a single cell, and then to gather more flesh to myself for my expression.
And I know that as a spirit, like all spirits, I have particular qualities and essences that are natural to me, and I have particular abilities that are my gifts that I have to bring. Those gifts are unique to me. So I take delight in the fact that there are things that I can do that nobody else can do. I believe that’s true for anyone. There is the Tone of Creation, and then there are tones that only I can strike, harmonies that only I can weave, messages that I can bring and things that I can accomplish that nobody else can. It thrills me that I get to do that.
I want to speak about another part of full self emergence. I spoke of it as coming out into the world, and that’s true. But there is another dimension that’s oh so important to me. I see my life as a dance before the King and Queen that I serve. Invisible, perhaps, to you and to me; a King and a Queen that in some way I’ve never met—but I have. They are a reality that I know. More than anything else, my life is a dance of service before the King and Queen that I serve.
I seek to bring joy to the Ones whom I serve. I seek to bring joy because of creative expression. I seek to bring joy because I know the joy of bringing life into my world. I seek to bring joy because the spirit who I am is finding expression through my humanity. And while, at sixty-two years old today, my humanity creaks at times—I can’t hike as long or as far as I could at one point—nonetheless, my humanity does a good job of being willing to run the race, to sing the song, to do the deed, to be the friend, to be the one who shows up and does what needs to be done. There’s joy in that for me. And I know I give pleasure to the Ones that I serve when I do so.
For me, there is an ascending process in life, a winged flight. This summer, Michael Costello and I had the opportunity to hike down the Poudre River from its headwaters. It was glorious! Along the way we saw an osprey. It circled in the late afternoon sun, in the most glorious way, higher and higher. He called out as he soared.
That is symbolic of me and what my life is about, because no matter what happens, what succeeds or fails in my life, no matter who is with me or who is not with me in the living of that life, my life is like that osprey: a continual rising, so that there are new vistas and new horizons and new air, and rarified heights to know. In knowing those rarified heights, there’s more and more of my King and my Queen to see and to know, and more and more pleasure in my flight.
That osprey is a fisher. Not only did we see him circling up in the sky, but we saw him soaring, then swooping down into a lake until he had a fish in his claws. He plunged underwater as he caught it, then soon rose again.
For me, that’s part of full self emergence. I’m both the osprey who rises and soars in the air, who dances in flight, in joy, and also the osprey who finds his prey; who, relative to the thing of the moment, finds what needs to be found, and does the deed that needs to be done in the earth. I am the osprey who hunts until he finds his prey.
Real joy and real creation is like that. This is my experience of the creative process: I start, I focus on what’s at hand in the present moment, and I don’t stop. That is a glorious journey. It may sound simplistic, monotonous, tortuous even in the telling of it. But in the doing of it, it’s glorious, because what unfolds is Creation. Creation unfolds and the way opens before me, like the Red Sea parting.
As the story goes, Moses and the Hebrew children came right up to that sea, with Pharaoh and his armies hot on their trail. This is the commandment Moses received:
Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.
In my standing still in the present moment, I find that the way opens before me. I come right up to that sea in front of me. It looks like it won’t part. Then I stand still, I begin, I don’t stop, and I stay focused. The sea parts. The way opens before me.
The way is opening up before me now because I am present, because I have put my shoulder to the plow and never taken it off. (I understand I’m mixing metaphors.) There is a magic to starting and not stopping, staying focused in this present moment, and staying with the unfolding creative process. It is the magic of penetration, the magic of catching that fish—and it’s the difference between catching it and not.
A life of full self emergence brings me one of the greatest joys imaginable. I have the opportunity not only to live and dance before my King and Queen but to do so before my friends. And not only to make commitments to the unseen reality that I serve but to have the grand privilege of making commitments to the people in my life, knowing that, like me, those people are not just human beings. That’s not how I see the people who are with me. I see them, like me, as angels in human form; angels who are riding their chariot of human flesh—physical flesh, mental and emotional flesh, spiritual flesh, all of which is human. The angel is riding his or her chariot.
I have the great privilege of making a commitment to those angels who are with me—a commitment to be present and to stay present. I will stay focused; I will not stop. I will serve what is mine to serve in the Unseen, and I will serve that reality within you.
And in doing all those things, I will be of service to you. I will do my part, as best I know how, to make your full self emergence easy. I will do my part to inspire you as best I can, to show the way, that in seeing me you may see for yourself your way—perhaps similar to mine, but yours nonetheless.
I seek to illuminate and bring understanding to that way. I seek to bring passion and intense commitment, that you might feel more strongly your own passion and your own commitment, so that when you come up to your Red Sea it parts before you; so that you may know more fully for yourself that you don’t have to stop. Even though you may end up taking a different way than you had planned, or it may not be working out like you thought, you can keep right on going. You will find, as you do, that your Red Sea opens up before you, as does mine.
So this is my path of full self emergence. It relates to every aspect of my life. It relates to my mind. I never stop thinking. For some, that might seem like a burden. But I know that if I do not see the way, if I am open and willing to have another thought, in that next thought will be the way. If I don’t understand something now, if I’m willing to stay open and keep thinking, there will be another thought, another idea, another realization, another awareness coming that shines light on the understanding I need.
Full self emergence relates to how I feel. I know that when my heart fails me and I feel discouraged and feel like I’ve been let down, or feel like what is in front of me is impossible, I don’t stop. I know there are new feelings to have, if I am open to them. I know I can let go of those feelings that are failure-oriented. There is another feeling to come that brings hope and love and possibility. I do not stop until all of me that can come through and find expression in this moment, and in the trail of moments that is a lifetime, has come through.
I believe that our world is waiting for a person who will live a life of full self emergence, and our planet is waiting for humanity as a whole to live such a life. This is my life. How about you?