Martha Beck's 5 Best Pieces of Advice
Recently, while paging through an old journal, I rediscovered a daydream I'd written down years ago. It described my fantasy backyard, a desert oasis with natural plants, a rock garden, areas paved with natural stone. A surge of amazement and gratitude overwhelmed me. The description matched the backyard I actually have right now. I'd connected with my heart's desire, and the desire was fulfilled. Miraculous!
Then I remembered something else. My backyard was once a stretch of grit sparsely inhabited by what I call Lady Mac-beth plants (the kind that stab people). I couldn't afford to have landscapers transform it, but I could afford to have them deposit 38,000 pounds of clean rocks and gravel near my back gate. Do you know how long it takes to shovel that much gravel into a wheelbarrow, trundle it to every corner of a fairly large lot, and rake it level? Almost as long as it takes to read a book on stonemasonry, install several hundred slabs of natural slate, and clean the mortar out from under your fingernails. (Hint: The fingernail cleaning alone takes about six months.)
In other words, while I absolutely believe in miracles, I think there's a good reason we say they must be "worked." A client once told me, "If God wants me to achieve big dreams, he'll make it easy and comfortable." I wondered which religion taught her that. Was she thinking about the Children of Israel, who endured 40 "easy and comfortable" years in the wilderness en route to the Promised Land? Or maybe the Buddha, who sought enlightenment through asceticism? Or perhaps Jesus—I mean, that whole thing with the cross was such a warm fuzzy, right?
Einstein supposedly said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." He also said, "If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, where X is work, Y is play, and Z is keep your mouth shut." If you're hoping for a miracle, stop gabbing and start working. When you're completely exhausted, stop and play. Then go back to work. Persist, and miracles will start happening, all the more wondrous because you worked them yourself.
So there you have it: my current grab bag of epiphanies. If I act on them, I know from experience they'll sink deeper into my consciousness, until they're intrinsic parts of my worldview. Then new epiphanies will occur to me, and I'll get to work internalizing them. Because that's the way everyone's destiny unfolds.