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Take the Leap
Do What You Love 15 Minutes a Day and Create the Life of Your Dreams
By Heather McCloskey Beck, Lonely/shutterstock
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC Copyright © 2013 Heather McCloskey Beck
All rights reserved.
A Tale of Possibility and Calling
We stood in a circle, infused with the exuberance of youth, foolishly blinded to the challenges we would face when we arrived, though we had been forewarned. We were briefed on the peculiar nature of the environment of where we were headed, one which was far more dense and sluggish than anything we were accustomed to.
We were told that once we left home and entered this new place, most of us would no longer remember where we had come from, nor that we had ever existed anywhere but in that new place where we wouldfind ourselves. They said we would become unequivocally integrated into our new lives, with little hope of preserving any recall of the current moment. The challenge we had all accepted was to go there, each fortified with our own unique abilities and talents and then to call upon them, or perhaps answer to their Calling, bringing them into a form of our own creation and design, into that place where everything was possible, yet nothing was easy.
We were to choose a Guide who would watch over us, paying close attention to our physical safety and general well-being. They would assist us by facilitating introductions and connections, arranging serendipitous events and all things oft considered coincidence. They would collaborate with us so as to successfully accomplish our intended mission, offering hope and support to us in ways unseen. But our Guide would stay behind, leaving us to venture into this new, physical world unaccompanied and quite alone.
Yes, we knew what our mission was. We were being directed to craft a life that we would love: a life that would be the creative expression of our true Essence of pure consciousness, placed into a Form of density and physicality. With our uniquely creative genius, coupled with our consciousness of Essence, we were to become an integral component of humanity, each person bearing an internal directive to live a life of inspired meaning and value. By embracing our talents and abilities, we were about to live a life that Called out to us.
By embracing our talents and abilities, we were about to live a life that Called out to us.
We collectively scanned one other, hoping to etch the memory of this moment and each of our dear friends' unique spirits into our consciousness, so that should we be fortunate enough to cross paths while there, we might recognize at least a flicker of that beautiful, kindred energy.
With the help of our Guides, we selected our circumstances, our families, and the architectural framework of our new lives. Reinforced by our passionate Callings that would serve as beacons of light on our new path, we heard a flu tering of gentle assurances, felt a powerful push, and then we Leaped.CHAPTER 2
If Our Tale Be True
Yes, we leaped. We leaped straight into these precious little bodies, and if this tale be true, we leaped into the architectural framework of our new lives, with all the exuberance and joy that defined our unlimited and Essential Nature. We leaped with an enthusiasm born of possibility and promise, into the life we had attentively prepared for ourselves. Locked and loaded, we were inspired to get busy, to begin crafting a life that we would love, reveling in the freshness of our uniquely physical and creative abilities.
But as the story goes, physical life didn't quite match up with what we had imagined, and it appeared that we had a great deal to learn now that we were here. Though we still had one foot dipped into the collective, quantum Wave of our non-physical Essence, we had, indeed, Particulated, and stepped with our other foot into the individuated physicality of life in Form. We found ourselves bound by the laws of gravity, driven by a deep and profound need to connect with others. We quickly discovered that we were no longer masters of our own expansive beings, but rather, now we were babies born into the arms of our newly acquired human guardians, our parents, who were charged with tenderly caring for our disoriented little selves. While some of us were fortunate enough to be welcomed by loving mothers and fathers into safe and comfortable homes, others of us were not quite so favored, having to struggle with trauma, illness, violence, and poverty.
Yes, we had been forewarned that we might easily forget all that we had known in Essence, but who among us had truly believed it when we had stood together, poised on the brink of a fantastic and highly creative adventure? Who among us could have imagined that we would slip into this new story line of physical life so completely, so utterly unaware of what had preceded all this? We were humans now, and whether we alighted into the safety of love or landed in an exposed and dangerously vulnerable environment within this foreign world, we had arrived, and this world had become our instant reality.
Swiftly, we were swept into the ebb and flow of daily living, busy with the basics. Eating and sleeping, sleeping and eating became the most compelling activities we engaged in. Day by day, our little lives continued to unfold, as we were drawn into the perpetual routines of survival and social enculturation. Preoccupied by what was directly in front of us each and every day, we were lulled into this business of living, progressively forgetting that we had come here with an inspired plan of our very own. This bustle of life became an insidiously powerful force, silently seducing us into a repetitive rhythm of insistent activities, which was swiftly becoming the platform from within which we were navigating our lives. Day by day, we became increasingly immersed within the perspectives, values, and belief systems that were integrally woven into the fabric of our new family's cultural patterns and traditions, forgetting that we had a plan to craft a life of our design. We became so entirely involved in our new stories that we were no longer attuned to that quiet Call from deep inside of us, beckoning and whispering to us that we had come here with something very important to do—something much bigger than this.
Ah, but good news! Isn't there always a redeeming and omniscient kindness hidden in every good tale? We were not just left on some random doorstep, as if abandoned by a negligent parent, to single-handedly hold to our own plan—a plan we were no longer even aware of! Though most of us no longer remembered, we still had our Guides to support and encourage us along our new life's pathway, to remind us that we had a purpose and a beautiful reason to be here. They were here to be our constant companions, helping us to navigate the twists and turns, but more importantly, they were here to ensure that we accomplished our life's mission: to live our truest purpose. Our beloved Guides knew the beauty and brilliance of our innate genius intimately well, steadily maintaining their singular focus of helping us to recognize and embrace our gifts, even though we had become entirely blinded to their very existence. Though they would remain cloaked to our conscious awareness, it would be our Guides who would help us to navigate within this new environment we had leaped into, encouraging us to live our Calling and to craft a life that we would truly love. A tall task, indeed!
Theirs was a quiet, yet essential gift, of orchestrating seemingly serendipitous meetings and facilitating adventitious connections on our behalf, while helping to ensure our safety in a world that could be so confining and unforgiving. They were to be with us every step of the way, tenderly nudging us back toward our true pathway when we strayed too far away from our treasured, yet forgotten goals.
And what of these goals? What really had been our reason for wanting to come here in the first place? Before we Leaped, we had asked our Guides what was so desirable about leaping into one of these little human lives.
"Ahhhh," they had responded. "Life is a highly creative act! When you Leap into being human, you will experience your first creative act within the physicality of life—your birth! The reason for living is to create a life that you desire, in all its beautiful, creative physicality, a life that is a brilliant reflection of your truest Essence. The purpose of Leaping would be to live that life and create it in accordance with your own passions and desires. You would be using your talents, your unique genius, say, as an artist, to paint your joyful appreciation of beauty into your worldly canvas. If you are to become a musician, you will share your song of love, and if you will be a poet, your verse will couple heart and soul in a rhythmic dance of words. Your goal will be to express yourself in the highest and most beautiful of ways! Now tell us, do you desire to take the Leap?"
We knew our answer. We were exuberant, inspired, and ready for adventure! So, as our tale continued, with the Wave of Essence slipping away into elusive memory, we became consumed with moving into our individuated selves, connecting with our world, and yielding to the framework of our life. However, as we grew from babies into children, some of us were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play, as all children love to do. Within our minds, hearts, and tender young bodies, our imaginations were free to wander as we dived into the joy of creating our own stories and games and developed our unique interests in those things that called out to us. Little did we realize then that through the brilliance of our imaginative play and the pursuit of our developing interests, we were aligning ourselves with our own true Essence, paving the way for our creative Calling to be ushered into our world.
Companioned by our Guides' assistance, we began to experience a taste of why we had taken the Leap. When we were left to ourselves and allowed to simply be, little masters of our own making, we experienced something deeply primal and precious. Within our private world, we were free from censorship and criticism, unencumbered by values imposed upon us by outside influences. We felt unfettered and free to express ourselves in our own uniquely creative ways. Whether it was coloring with crayons or playing music, running around wildly or cozied up reading, whatever it was that Called out for us to do, that is what unequivocally made us happiest. We instinctively knew the imaginative activities that made us feel vibrantly alive and connected to the most essential part of ourselves. We felt joyfully inspired, unlimited and free.
It was a beautiful thing when we had the opportunity to play. We became entirely unaware of our physical surroundings; the passage of time held no meaning for us at all. We were Streaming within the exuberance of Being, temporarily released from all perceptual awareness of our life's framework that we had Leaped into. Though this was merely the beginning, we were to eventually understand that these simple pleasures would serve as pre-encoded beacons for us, indicators that would call out to us and help direct us along our life's pathway.
It was from within this incredibly important opportunity to play and express our creative selves that we were able to reconnect with who we were in Essence and experience the confidence and joy of becoming a reflection of our truest nature, only now in physical form. It was from within this delicate alignment that we could almost hear the whispers from our Guides, encouraging us to continue, urging us onward to do what we loved. This was our challenge and this was our goal. It was our mission to tap into that which we loved to do and then create a way to weave it into the fabric of our lives.
It was our mission to tap into that which we loved to do and then create a way to weave it into the fabric of our lives.
However, as our Tale told us, life doesn't always allow us to weave these threads of creative joy into the tapestry of our lives. Far too often, life has a way of sending us along detours and pathways constructed by the perceptions and patterned behaviors of those presumably responsible for our welfare. Our families, teachers, governments, and religious traditions, the structures that have been culturally and socially in place throughout all history, hold a powerful influence over our human lives, oft times interfering with our very own original plan.
Just how were we going to navigate these dips and turns along our pathway? How were we going to take the possibility and promise of living our Calling and make it become a commitment that we could fulfill? How were we going to live a life that we would truly love?CHAPTER 3
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to feel happy and fulfilled, to live a life directed and guided by your own natural inclinations, your own creative interests, and personally impassioned ideas? Have you ever felt the stirrings of some deeper desire or sensed a hidden purpose residing within you, but couldn't quite figure out what that might be? Perhaps you might recall an exuberant thrill that raced through you as a child, as you were immersed in doing something that fascinated you and held your focus.
Was it a cool splash of raindrops on your face as you dashed home on your bike, or the smell of a cinnamon-apple pie that you baked with your grandma? Maybe you can recall the blissful feeling of building with your blocks or dressing your dolls, or the resonant warmth of the first musical note you played on the piano. You may have imagined yourself to be a knight in armor or a fairy princess, a great soccer player or a prima ballerina. Whether you were playing dress-up, making model cars, or immersed within a colorful spectrum of imaginary games, you were uniquely inspired, though very likely you never thought of it in this way. You were just a child, immersed in being a kid!
Life was simpler then. We didn't have to think long and hard about what we wanted to do. Quite simply, we had the ability to just give it a try! We didn't need lots of toys. All we had to do was imagine: imagine that we were parachuting from a plane into a lush, damp rain forest or deep-sea diving off a tropical island, in search of hidden treasure. Our imaginations ran strong. We were highly inventive and always found a way to make our stories feel vibrantly believable, as we experienced the wonder and possibility of whatever adventure we had created for ourselves that day.
Whether you were playing dress-up, making model cars, or immersed within a colorful spectrum of imaginary games, you were uniquely inspired, though very likely you never thought of it in this way.
When I was five years old, my best friend and I played endless games of galloping on horseback throughout the mountains and riverbeds of the Rocky Mountains. But of course, there were no mountains or rivers to cool our horses' wearied hooves where we lived. While the North Shore of Long Island was a beautiful place to grow up, it was flat as flat could be, with no running river in sight, no horses stabled in our backyards. All the same, it made little difference to us. We felt expansive and free, employing a miraculous mixture of imagination, impassioned spirit, and determination within our play. We were not attuned to a droning, rational voice whispering to us that our games were impossible. We were young and fresh and it hadn't occurred to us to wonder if we were capable, deserving, or good enough to play in these adventures. We didn't evaluate or assess our activities. These were not our concerns. Playing was something that came naturally to us, in the best and most pleasurable ways, and as children, we did it really well.
Have you ever thought back to a time when you were little, and remembered something that you loved to do? Try it now. Take a moment and let that idea simmer within you. Allow yourself to drift into one of those special memories. Do you recall how time seemed to stand still and how you had little awareness of the world outside of what you were doing? How did you feel then: warm, contented, inspired? Likely so, if you were relaxed and free to enjoy your play. It is actually quite remarkable to reflect upon these earlier times. Did it ever occur to you that within these profound, yet simple childhood pleasures resided a hint of what you would deeply desire to do within your life as an adult?
Did it ever occur to you that within these profound, yet simple childhood pleasures resided a hint of what you would deeply desire to do within your life as an adult?
When I was in elementary school, I knew a boy who carried a toy doctor's bag with him to school every day for six months, insisting that we call him Dr. Smith, rather than Randy. Not at all surprisingly: Later, as an adult, Randy went on to become a family doctor. Looking back on our lives with the brilliant clarity of hindsight, many of us have known people like this: the kids who just always knew what they wanted to do, from the time they were very little. The boy who was always out on the baseball field until long after dark went on to play college and pro baseball. The little girl who loved to play dress-up had become a very talented fashion designer. Think back in your life and see if you remember someone from your childhood who always seemed to know what they loved and wanted to be when they grew up, and then actually did it!
Excerpted from Take the Leap by Heather McCloskey Beck, Lonely/shutterstock. Copyright © 2013 Heather McCloskey Beck. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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