Last night as I laid awake listening to the sound of ocean waves crashing, and oversized, jungle racoons rummaging through cans and other throwaway items outside our room, I couldn't get the words, "Onward and Upward", out of my head. I think they were the closing remarks of an email my dad sent me recently. I can't place the exact origin, when and where the phrase entered my life, but it was a stimulus of thought until the wee hours of this morning.
Onward and upward. What does it look like to move on? To move up? Am I doing either? The enquiring last night filled me briefly with questions regarding my self worth that I've grappled with before; questions like, "Am I really making any difference or being of benefit to anyone at all?" or, "what are some initiatives I could implement when I get home to be more productive and focused?" Although I, like anyone else, can get stuck in a rut of despair or doubt, Im grateful that I am usually not stranded there long. Last night was no exception.
"Kindness," a gentle voice nudged inside my heart as I began feeling anxious about the contribution (or lack thereof) that I'm making to the world. This simple word is what ended up keeping me mentally active when I should have been asleep. Kindness was the answer to my questions surrounding onward and upward. Growing in kindness, rooted in love... onward... upward.
My personal aim is to immitate Jesus. Not through some sort of behavioural requirements, but to have a heart and life conformed to love. More than once, Jesus has earged me to be like God, who is kind, both to those who are ungrateful and even evil. His quiet reminder last night served to set my heart and mind at ease as well as to reinvigorate me toward love.
For those consciously on the spiritual path (everyone is on the journey, whether consciously or unconsciously), how we are growing in genuine kindness is an accurate measure of how we are developing, transforming. Onward. Are we moving forward? Are our words, actions, and lives demonstrating kindness, streaming forth from hearts of love? Hearts like God's? Upward. Are we transcending? Moving beyond and above circumstance and situation to a place of existing in peace, joy, hope and courage? Onward. Upward.
Too often we gauge our small lives by the wrong measure and when we do this, we are sure to not "measure up". Life isn't about outward achievements or accolades. All these things will perish and return to the dust of delusion, of which they are made. The love we cultivate, eminate, draw from and become is the real rule by which we can evaluate our progress, growth and accomplishment.
Let's keep our eyes focused today on what is good, beautiful and, most importantly, true. What if today we encouraged our hearts to being kind, quick to mercy and awake with joy. This is no easy task, but it is essential. If we lay our heads down tonight knowing that our heart is a little softer than it was when the day began, we can sleep well knowing that we have truely moved Onward and Upward.
Peace, Kindness, and deepest Joy to you today.