Too often our worlds revolve around the “me”, MY pain, MY joy, MY success, MY GROWTH my my my, me, me me … We may think, if this doesn’t happen, my world will come to an end or if I don’t meet this target, I’m a failure, or people are not going to take me seriously if I don’t get this right, or if I change my mind. These stories and narratives go on and on in our minds taking up so much creative space.
But what if I told you, it all just really didn’t matter! In the grand scheme of things, nothing really matters.
I remember a verse in the Bible I read while growing up….
Ecclesiastes 1:1… “Everything is meaningless. Utterly meaningless”
Well, that is a little morbid you may say, I’m me! What is the point of me living if there is no significance or purpose?
Here’s the paradox, a little secret I discovered that turned my world around.
You can find your significance in your insignificance…
In 2009, I was in the Serengeti, pulling off one of the most crazy biggest events of my life, I had left my husband just a week before, and was reeling with not knowing what I was going to do.
I was lying under a starry night sky. It was a new moon, there was no artificial light around. I saw galaxy upon galaxy — the perfect place to feel completely insignificant. How did my pain even matter? Who did I think I was?
A year before I had read “A New Earth” by Eckhard Tolle and my life had literally changed in one weekend, with a ripple effect that… well, that triggered a tsunami of change in my life. I recognized my ego, the narrative I had created in my head on who I was — I began to change….
The second AHA moment of insignificance was almost 10 years later staying with a friend in downtown Manhattan in a beautiful Spruce Street apartment on the 55 floor with magnificent views of Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, with lights shining as far as my eyes could see…
I imagined every light represented a person, and every person had a story, and so, who did I think I am? So what if I planted only 100,000 trees and not 1 million trees that I had planned? So what if I failed or succeeded in my mission. The world would keep spinning around and around, the lights in NYC will keep switching on night after night, the stars would still twinkle at night…
YET, here was the paradox, in recognising my insignificance I could also celebrate the joy of finding my life’s purpose. Maybe I wouldn’t leave a legacy…maybe I would … maybe I won’t be met with global acclaim… maybe I would….,
But far richer than wallowing in my own insignificance I can find joy in my life’s purpose.
When we show up to show up to life as our best self, day in and day out, committed, resilient and preserving, finding joy in the unknown; recognizing that there will be days where we won’t feel like showing up but we do so anyway.
The world will keep spinning around and around, the lights in NYC will keep switching on night after night, new moons will come and go and stars will still twinkle at night, and life will go on.
So, if in some small way we can see the light in this, to not take ourselves too seriously….
…. the possibilities that await to try new things, to love unconditionally, to explore and discover new ways of doing things, to make a fool of ourselves, to play, to work hard, and to find our purpose ….
Discovering significance in the insignificant!
Be significantly insignificant!
For this interested in the full ECCLESIASTES PASSAGE
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
3 What do people gain from all their labors . at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the southand turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.