For each of us that experience is unique.
And so is the result.
The soil of humanity
I’ve written elsewhere about the shared linguistic roots of the words humility and humus (hyoomis). The word human is also thought to share those roots.
This relationship is a clue, embedded like a code in our language, to the inner workings and mandates of why we’re here, walking around.
Feeling the urge to live and make.
Humus is the most basic form of soil. It can’t break down any further. It’s ready to go.
Speaking metaphorically, humility is the soil of your self. To cultivate humility is to open yourself to acceptance of what is you, and receptivity to the creative force of the Great Making.
Humanity is what grows from that soil. Humanity is the activated state of participation in the vast creativity of the Great Making.
So, becoming human is the end result of cultivating humility.
The struggle to be human
But humanity is a condition that can come and go many times in the life of any individual.
Because life makes it hard to be yourself. That’s the bottom line of the struggle. In fact, the struggle of life is exactly this: the struggle to be yourself.
When you are born, you have all you need to complete the transition into humanity. You are born on course, on target. For a few years after you’re born there is no difference between your creativity and who you are in this world.
But the accumulated fears of the the world begin to weigh in.
Gradually the difference emerges. It is imposed with greater and greater strength by the institutions of safety we have built to preserve our status quo. Institutions found at every level of society, within the family, and within the hearts and minds of individuals.
By the time we’re adults, fear has some serious momentum.
You are a creative act.
You sprang from the Great Making. And you are the great making, unleashed in your little corner of the world.
Make sense? Maybe read it again.
You are soil. Physical soil. Spiritual soil. Creativity and fruitfulness come to you naturally. You may not have noticed it yet but you do it every day in little ways.
You can’t help it. Your soul needs it.
A courteous remark. Holding a door for someone. This stuff just pops out, even if you’re a complete prick. It’s a symptom of your status as a creator.
No matter what your life has been like, you have the ability to extend the Great Making into the world through the choices you make: your thoughts, your words, your deeds.
You can begin now if you choose to. Or now. Or now.
You do it through total surrender to who and what you are, good and bad. When you do that, you begin to adjust course, to assert momentum in a new direction.
Keep going and you will gain steam and become more and more inclined to let yourself shine.
In all the ways large and small that only you can.
The spectrum of escape
But it’s possible to sustain the difference between your creativity and who you are in this world. It’s possible to live your whole life separated from your story. You can be comfortable, financially prosperous, surrounded by people who love you.
And yet live in an experience that has nothing to do with your source or your potential.
This could be caused by allowing fear to set your priorities. Understandable given the signals this world can send you.
And so you might choose a life designed to provide security and distraction. This will be necessary if you’re cut off from your creativity, because you will need escape from the soul pain that goes with that.
But even in a person in poverty with no seeming security can live a life of escape. Proximity to the edge can provide distraction from the soul pain, and therefore a subtle form of security and escape.
Security is not synonymous with money. Rather, it’s characterized by an absence of the risk of self exposure, of trusting the inner drumbeat. A lack of resources can provide a powerful, believable excuse for not living a life of your own making.
I learned this hard when I was unemployed. All that pressure makes a great excuse that others will support.
It’s the anti-soil. Soil where nothing will grow.
A dead garden.
Holding back on being you guarantees a life without the risk of self exposure, of trusting your inner drumbeat.
At a glance false humility can look noble and selfless. It’s actually debilitating, arrogant and morally wrong.
Each of us has a moral responsibility to share ourselves with the world, and false humility prevents that. False humility asks, “Who am I to be awesome?”
Who are you to withhold your awesome for any reason?
Each of us secretly suspects that we are awesome. And we’re right. That makes false humility a particularly damaging disconnect.
It means you deny the truth about yourself.
And this world cannot be what it was meant to be without your awesome.
It’s as simple as being you
And there’s the rub.
Awesomeness is sitting there inside you just waiting for you to let it happen.
Because awesome doesn’t just happen.
You have to get out of the way.
You do that by relaxing. By allowing all those things to happen that would happen if fear, hesitation and preconception were not blocking them.
Remember that moment when it just popped out? You made a room full of people laugh. You wrote an amazing article for that trade magazine. You completely nailed it when you chose that anniversary gift for your partner.
Awesome happens when forget to hold back.
It’s a mental state that can be practiced, cultivated. Allow this mental state to influence your choices: what you say and do, who you keep around you, how you spend your time.
Awesome will saturate your existence and build on itself. It will generate a self-propelling, ever increasing momentum.
But only if you let it.
Your talents and ideas are the key.
Your talents are prompts from the Great Making. They are your entry point into participation with the ongoing creation of the world.
How you treat yourself and others determines how much of the Great Making you permit to enter the world through you. Treating others with reverence and respect opens the flood gates.
Treating yourself that way does too. And that includes exercising your talents, respecting your dreams and creativity, taking your own ideas seriously, and not allowing others to trample them.
If you do those things, the Great Making enters the world, through you.
And awesome is born.
Carry awesome into every situation.
For most of us, awesome is born slowly. Over time. In fits and starts.
It’s like learning to ice skate: short bursts of woo-hoo! followed by minor disaster until you relax and just start doing it.
At work, carry it into meetings, into the break room, into the report your writing.
At play, carry it into your teamwork, your focus, your ability to learn from errors.
In your relationships, carry it to the dinner table, into date night, into Wiffle Ball with your son, beers with your buddies, and the handshake with that new friend.
Let it permeate everything you do.
Identify those places where awesome is not, and learn to take it there. Encounters with certain people? Certain circumstances? Out of nowhere for seemingly no reason?
Your work in this consists of rallying yourself, remembering what awesome felt like and importing it into your here and now.
Awesome is born right now with a simple decision.
Again and again.
For the rest of your life.