Today I would like to share a reading that showed up in my mailbox this morning, but first I need to say a little about the book from which it comes. Years ago (about 26 to be exact) I was going through a very difficult and challenging time. My brother-in-law (who I really knew on a very superficial level) gave me a reflection book for Christmas. It seemed an odd gift at the time considering the fact he may have already been my "ex" brother-in-law and I was a much younger sibling, but the gesture was one I really appreciated.
I am not sure I had ever owned such a book and it ended up being one that encouraged me through many difficult years. Several times in the past I tried to purchase the book for friends, but was never successful in finding it and was told it was out-of-print. Then about three years ago I started receiving "Today's Gift" on e-mail. Some days I delete the message and other times it meets me right where I am. One day I read an especially moving reflection only to find it came from (no mystery here) the inspirational book from my past. Amazingly, the book has followed me through many moves and continues to show up at the most appropriate times. Hmmmm.
So that's the short story of the book. Now here's today's message. (I especially love Seneca's quote at the end.)
Do we go about our daily work dutifully but joylessly? Have we settled for less in our jobs, homes, or relationships than we want? Have we substituted financial security or physical comfort for the freedom to pursue our heart's desires?
Very few of us give ourselves the opportunities to explore our real interests and potentials. We "lock" ourselves into rigid ways of regarding the world and our options. We often settle for less than our highest aspirations because we have conditioned ourselves into thinking life is joyless endurance or survival at best.
In order to change the empty circumstances in our lives we need to change our limited thinking patterns. Instead of looking at life as a prison, we can view it as a smorgasbord of opportunities that are well within our reach. By exploring and sampling the choices before us we can discover which choices bring us inner satisfaction and increase our sense of purpose.
TODAY I will remind myself of what Roman philosopher Seneca said hundreds of years ago: "The great blessings of mankind are within us, and within our reach..."
from The Reflecting Pond by Liane Cordes