Chris is the proud father of two young children and the founder of Westslope Organics (www.westslopeorganics.com). In both personal and professional relationships, Chris seeks to support their natural best. His practice of Love in Action is the foundation and support for all of these endeavors.
One of the most challenging parts of practicing love in action is when I feel wronged, taken advantage of, or even made a fool of. I felt all of these things when someone really screwed me in a business deal – and all of this at a time when every penny counts for my young family and me.
So what was to be learned from this? How does Love show up in this situation? Is it about having my guard up more and nailing down the legal protections that are available? Did I just learn to assume the worst of people, to not be so trusting, and to cover my ass so that I don’t get taken advantage of? Could that really be the lesson?
I asked myself, “How does love in action handle this?” Attacking and blaming will never amount to anything. The person would continue to deny responsibility and deflect blame in any case. I didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute the person in any way. At the same time, just letting it go didn’t feel right either. Do I just let karma work this out, or should something else be done? If it’s something else, what would that something be?
I was angry and regretted ever trying to engage with people in this way. So I did the only productive thing I could think to do. I asked for help. I posed this scenario and questions that followed to a friend. His response was heartening:
Can I split the cost with you? You don’t have to bear this burden alone. Be assured that being such a person is its own punishment. They already are reaping what they have sown, and there is more to come.
I do suggest that you tell [XXX] about it, naming names.
And then let it go.
Not only did my friend show up for me and reassure me that all was ok, but I received surprising accommodations from other sources that helped a lot. The immediate flood of support and encouragement welled up in me. I felt whole again.
Love in Action tells us that we can and should give freely, and that what we give comes back to us, and more. In a culture that tells us that we should strive to control our environment and have a predictable future, this is a leap of faith to say the least. But time after time, I experience this as truth.
“I guess that’s the other side of this,” I replied to my friend, “that engaging in the pain and suffering of the world also gives the opportunity to engage in its generosity, grace, and beauty as well.”
In one of my favorite chapters from John Records’ book Love in Action, “Be Like a Bird”, John says, “We can take the risk of alighting on the ever-unreliable branches of the world, engaging with the pain and fragmentation, because we know that our wings will bear us up until we choose to alight again.”
It sounds strange, even unreal, but it’s true. Every time I take a risk to let Love lead me, I take a deep breath. Often, I’m preparing to fall flat on my face. But that doesn’t ever happen. I’m fine. Not only do I not hit the ground, when I open my eyes to what’s happening, the outcome is often better than what I imagined – for everyone. Ripples can fan out in ways that I don’t even realize.
The implications here are tremendous: if we aren’t trying to control our circumstances, we open ourselves to positive outcomes that we could never have envisioned. We can use our intelligence and reason, but not be limited by it. That takes a tremendous responsibility and stress off of our shoulders.
Our tendency to worry is strong, but what use is it? I can’t think of a situation in my life where worrying has actually helped me, and yet it feels like the most difficult thing to let go of.
If what I have believed is risky in being open and vulnerable – that this exposes us unnecessarily to pain and suffering – is all wrong, then what do I know at all?
How I live in the world can be very different, very inspiring, and even feel magical compared to how I’ve lived in the past. I choose love in action, as scary and difficult as that may feel sometimes.
I’ll make mistakes. I may fall on my face. I might play the fool. And, I’ll see and experience the beauty and grace of the world in a way that few people do. I will support and be supported. I will be guided by a higher purpose, with the satisfaction that I offer what I am able to.