a life-giving existence

Posted on April 8, 2014


“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)

“At the very heart of our ideas about life is this definition, that life begins from the desire to create something original, to bring a new being into form.”
Margaret Wheatley
Source: “What Is Our Work?” in Insights on Leadership edited by Larry Spears

“Capacities clamor to be used, and cease their clamor only when they are well used.” (Abraham Maslow)

“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.” (Parker J. Palmer)

What is it deep within your center that is so urgent and powerful that it must emerge and create something new and meaningful?

As human beings, we need to exist.

As human beings, we need so much more than existence.

We each have a creative core that yearns to bring new life and meaning into existence.

Christians refer to this as being created in the image of God.


Poets and artists harness this creative angst* and give birth to that which has never before existed; a painting, a poem, a sculpture.


Quakers understand that there is that of God within each person that we both respond to in each other and respond to within. This inner Light ignites what is called a “Leading”, which is the source of all meaningful action in this world


It is this relationship we have with ourselves, others, and that which is greater than us that defines what is sacred. It is also the relationship that we have with life, with each moment, with the “ordinary” that defines what is sacred.


Is sacred something out there… or something within? Maybe the sacred is the fire that gives light and meaning to the ordinary. Maybe the sacred is something that I bring to life; to every encounter, to every moment, to every word, to every action, to every reaction. Maybe the sacred calls to me and demands of me to create meaning in each day, each hour, each minute, each breath. Maybe the sacred is a deep calling on my life to live out the divine purpose that I was born with, using the gifts I came here with… making a difference.


A Sacred Life = making the ordinary (all of life’s moments) sacred.

A Profane Life = making the sacred (all of life’s moments) ordinary.


Work as Worshipsacred

Love as Action

Faith as Practice


Assuming that human beings have a (possibly insatiable) drive at the core to create meaning, the study of this drive and the actions that arise (whether thoughtful or thoughtless) is called praxeology; the embodiment of our theory of life. What we do is an expression of who we are.


I propose that for most people, much of their lives are lived unplanned, reactively rather than proactively. In order to create meaning in life, transforming the ordinary into the sacred, we must know who we are (my Identity), why we are here (my Purpose), and what we are going to do about it (my Mission). These are deeply personal questions requiring an inward journey; inner work.


We cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results. Unless we are blind to the condition of our culture, the system, the “way things are”, then continuing to live mindlessly, repeating the same things over and over, is, in itself, the definition of insanity; according to Albert Einstein.


What if we were to begin seeing our work as worship; our play as worship? What if we were to stop and think before acting? What if we realized that without action our love is dead, without practice our faith is dead? Isn’t that the same as living life as if God were dead (a practical atheism that is seen in many churchgoers). Whether or not we believe in God or anything greater than self, what if we were to begin to align who we are with what we do? What if we were to be quiet, go within, and find that silence at the center of all things where all true meanings and all meaningful living come to be?


What if we stopped doing the same mindless things over and over. What if we were to define ourselves by:

Reflective living versus Reflexive living?

Mindful living versus mindless, thoughtless, and uninformed living?

Intentional living versus unintentional, unplanned, involuntary living?

Eupraxia versus Dyspraxia?

”The best in art and life comes from a center – something urgent and powerful, an idea or emotion that insists on its being. From that insistence, a shape emerges and creates its structure out of passion. If you begin with a structure, you have to make up the passion, and that’s very hard to do.” (Roger Rosenblatt)

“To believe in something and not to live it, is dishonest.” (Gandhi)


*creative angst

Angst, often confused with anxiety, is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. Without the important element of hope, then the emotion is anxiety, not angst. Angst denotes the constant struggle one has with the burdens of life that weighs on the dispossessed and not knowing when the salvation will appear.