I sit now before two expansive windows that stretch from ceiling to floor. The morning sun is beginning to trickle through, dancing between spring’s sprouting tree limbs on this New England morning.
This rhythmic music pulses lightly upon my ears. My mind quiets. And my face begins to lose all expression.
Today the message is clear and simple: friend, let your flag unfurl.
Let go of that knotted mess you palm between your hands, covered in soil and twigs for how often you’ve let it drop to the ground, only to fret and pick it up again. That knotted mess is the desperate ego-plea to Know: the childish whims we grow into believing that claim that there is one solitary path to be walked — the “right” one — and many other paths that we must desperately avoid — the “wrong” ones.
The ground beneath your feet is all you ever need. The path you seek is what you already stand upon. Your life is happening right now and all around you. This is “happening,” my friend Syndee says in God Whispers on the Wind. You path is here. It’s happening today. And you don’t need to know why it’s beautiful or how it shall work out or what the bumps and rocks that gash the soles of your feet “mean” to start dancing upon it today.
Let your flag unfurl.
There are colors bound up in you like the head of a lily that rises to the sun in these spring mornings. Blooming can only be achieved when you let go and allow layer upon layer of your deepest, most honest self open, open, open and unfurl toward the ground.
These are some ways that I have found to be most helpful in teaching yourself how to unfurl your flag:
1) Stop comparing yourself to others.
Stop comparing your hardships and struggles to those of your friends or strangers, and take solace in the fact that each of us suffers equally. Suffering is no competition, and comparing suffering to suffering is a win-less game.
And awakening to the truth of your soul is even less of a matter to be compared and contrasted against others. Do not compare your awakening to the awakening of others. We are each learning, growing and going at our own pace: life is not a race to the finish (for the winner would be dead the quickest) and your mission is to be your most authentic self, to shine, to flourish.
There is enough sunlight to soak the entire earth.
But letting go of comparison to others is a wildly terrifying prospect for your worry-mind. We fret that if we cannot compare and contrast ourselves against others that we might “be left behind,” or that we won’t be able to understand “how we’re progressing.”
Two flowers stand beside one another. Do you sit there and think, “This one is more beautiful, and that one is ugly by comparison.” Or do you sit there and say, “That these flowers stand here is what beauty means.”
2) See yourself in others.
It’s not enough to stop comparing yourself to others — a product of insecurity, doubt and fear that dawns in the worry-mind. To flourish, you need to go steps further.
You need to see your story in the story of every other soul you encounter. You need to see your face in hers. You need to feel his heartbreak just like your own.
These threads of compassion, empathy, relatability and connection are the most fundamental elements of human love — and by tapping into them you continually deepen your own capacity to give love and receive it.
3) Believe you are worthy of everything you deserve, desire, and more.
Are you deserving of everything you desire? Tell me, why are you not? The same source of divine energy that courses through you — we are all, at our core, merely energy, after all — courses through me that courses through the everyone and everything.
Do you truly believe that God frowns upon you, that He should smite you and cast you into the bowels of a fiery hell for the earnest dreams and meandering wishes and hopeful desires that are genuine, good, and exemplary showings of love of self and our world?
Do you believe there is some secret difference between you and someone who “has more than” you? Do you believe life is unjust or that life frowns upon you for karmic injustice you have committed?
Goodness, if you refuse to live for fear of yourself then take this broom and sweep my chamber floor, for the ants that crawl upon it will teach you what it means to be determined to live!
Sweep until you find God there — and, if you cannot, at least my chamber shall be clean!
Those ants are more noble and holy and than those who preach down to you from their mightiness to reprimand you for your sins, your faults, your ineptitude — they who tell you that you cannot or should not taste and touch and feel God in everything you do.
Do you not see it — those feeble-minded men who tell you to live in fear of yourself for the sins you might think or commit are not your friend, they are your oppressors and they use your own fear of yourself to stop you from truly living.
They do not speak for God. You speak for God in who you are, in what you dream and in the love you live. That IS God.
When many flags unfurl across the wind, what’s born is a grand cascade of light and colors in dance. The feeble minds of men fear that betwixt the flags, the wind will be lost.
But there is enough sun to soak the earth. And more than enough wind to let every flag to unfurl, to let dance, to let shine.
How ironic, or perhaps silly, that I find myself speaking once more of religion and politics when I am so far removed from associating these days with either.
And yet theirs are the flags that we raise and drape; those that rise and fall.
And whether or not you are a woman or man of the state or an institution of belief, I wish to leave you with this:
In this enlightened and empowered age, our outward oppressors are few and far between — and yet, our inward oppressors still lie in our way. Your state is your worry-mind that tells you its logic will maintain order and control — when control is an illusion and order is bound by our love for one another. Your religion is your waning self-belief (that wishes to be told what to do, for it feels safe) and is still uncomfortable accepting the idea that you deserve all of the love and happiness and peace that exists in this universe, and more.
Damn that priest, curse that system.
Unfurl your flag. Show me you. And I’ll show you what beauty lies there.