One of the beauties of life is that we are free to operate on all levels. Certainly Christmas shows us this every year. We have the freedom to make Christmas about the consumption of food alcohol and the stuff we give and receive to and from each other. Of course consumption can be fun. Enough fun to last a lifetime, in some cases. But if it is the only thing that happens, some of us might start to question what we are doing. As a child I was wrapped, as much as the gifts under the tree, in measuring my self-worth based on the presents I received or gave. I still feel hints of this, but I am beginning to see that who I am is not at all linked to what I get or give. It is much deeper.
Beneath the gifts, expectations and consumerism there is a deeper message for us. That message is also everywhere around us at Christmas. I am not qualified to say what that is, chiefly because I know it to be an individual journey for each of us to discover. It might be love, brotherhood, peace, sharing, or faith in Christ. The thing about discovery is that it seems to require a mysterious element, first. We are free to make that a part of Christmas, or not. For those that do, the heart grows every bit as much as the Grinch's and our former boundaries are shattered. But unlike the Grinch, it grows a bit each year instead of all at once.
Adventure can be the same. As an ice and rock climber I was a slave to performance, consumption of adventure events and achievement for many years. And there is more. Much much more. There are those out there who are ready for the journey to discover the depth that adventure offers. It is a profoundly individual path that has lessons for us alone. Certainly depth and potential spiritual development is a subject that goes hand and hand with the idea of adventure. The Last Jedi , the latest Star Wars movie, deals with the inner adventure in spades, and since it is based on research of the human journey by Joseph Campbell there is validity to the message. And the heroine gets to choose. At every turn, Rey chooses how deep she goes into her adventure. And the adventure, is about her intrinsic experience as much as the extrinsic one. Rey is asked to face terrifying demons inside and out as she steps into the challenge and in so doing, invites us. As viewers of Star Wars, we get to choose how much we get from the movie. We can consume the experience and think nothing more about it, or ask ourselves if we are living our lives as fully as Rey, both internally and externally.
A rich life is up to us. Do we have the courage to feel? Do we have the courage to face our greatest challenges? Are we brave enough to be the person we were put on this earth to be? Do we have the courage to step into the truth about our lives? Are we willing to navigate adversity or uncertainty and come out changed? Are we willing to embrace the mystical journey to add value to our lives and the lives of those around us?
The invitation is always there. It is the journey of a lifetime. . .not something done in a week at Outward Bound, but a practice. Will we watch others, or jump in with both feet and come to know our potential on a life long journey of self discovery?