I’m going to go back to the Starfish Story. I trust you know it? If not, a quick Google search will reveal it.
As the newsletter deadline approached, there was nothing there. But as I tuned in more closely, I realized that “nothing” was being created by a loud “something” in conditioned mind. Every time I turned my attention to the article I realized I was hearing messages such as, “but you have this to do and that and you haven’t finished that other thing and…” A-ha! No wonder there is “nothing” coming through; there is no space for it to enter.
Then it struck me that recently as I have worked on various aspects of the project in Kantolomba, I was hearing messages of the very same process: What about all the other children who are hungry in Zambia? In the rest of Africa? Every other continent? Even amongst our own project, all the children who need more help with reading, English, academic work….
It was so liberating to see that! Just in realizing that the messages are a process, not the “truth,” so much energy was freed up.
And that’s when, of course, the Starfish Story dropped in.
As Cheri points out, the only point of such a conversation is to get us to throw up our hands in exasperation and declare, “What’s the point?! There are thousands of starfish on this beach. Forget it!”
Of course it matters! It matters to Marion who is alive against all odds, living with HIV since birth, now 13 years old. It matters to Joanne, mother of four healthy children with a cooperative income allowing her to care for them even after her husband has died of AIDS. It matters to Osric, one of the first 100 children, now entering grade 12. I have the image of walking along the beach, bending down for each starfish in my reach, carefully scooping it up then tossing it high in the air to sail back into the ocean.
With great delight, I saw that that whole process — of being able to see the conditioned conversation that was blocking the “something” of the newsletter article, to see the choice to direct attention away from that, and to have the great fun of the article appearing—was Life tossing me back into the great ocean. I AM the starfish!
It seems that’s what we talk about when we say that everything we do in practice is for our own practice. It is our own participation that is the process of being tossed into the great ocean of Life’s joy!