Last week I heard the downtown bike shop I adore is closing. Rent shot way up and the owner just can’t make it work.
For a moment, I felt the pinch of upset, disappointed to live in a society that doesn’t adequately support locally owned, independent business. Doesn’t it matter to us that those are the businesses that direct our tax dollars to improve schools, parks, roads and public safety?
About 30 seconds after hearing the news, I asked myself the question, How is this perfect?, the most powerful question I’m aware of these days. Another way to ask the question, which makes it easier to answer for some people, is What is the gift here?
The answer was clear. I immediately felt peace.
I thought of the shop owner, Ron, an upbeat man who is generous with his time and honest with his approach. He’s not a robot trained by a corporate industry based thousands of miles away; he is a father, an avid cyclist, a member of our community who promotes healthy transportation by bike.
I wondered what he would do next for work and planned to go into the shop to express my condolences and offer support for his next endeavor.
Suddenly I saw a cycle (no pun intended), a pattern unfolding.
I realized that I could empathize with him as a small business owner, deepening a connection with a treasured community member as he was moving through a difficult experience. Then I imagined that I could tell him about my services as a memoirist. Simply having one more kind, vibrant person aware of my memoir offerings made me feel more alive.
I imagined all of Ron’s other adoring customers extending their compassion and support. This initially bad news actually ended up strengthening our community, as we leaned in to support each other.
Everything is contagious; it’s all energy. Goodness feeds goodness.
By simply asking myself the question, How is this perfect?, I invited myself to see the cycle of life and its perfect order, unpredictable, beyond the realms of rationale and control, silver-lined with beauty…
We can all see this when we choose to see through Love’s eyes.
Life’s perfection appeared. As I hiked up the hill, my consciousness was able to see it.
We need each other.
We need each other because we are each other.
Within minutes, my initial disappointment transformed into an expression of deep inner peace, as I accepted that this moment of upset was actually an invitation, an opportunity. Fear is an invitation to feel more Love — inviting humans to surrender to the fact that we need each other.
Your moments of upset can lead you to peace, too.
In our society, we are resistant to ask for help. This only hurts us. I’ve learned this through mothering and also “the hard way” — a massive brain tumor. May those who seek to learn big things without having to go through horrendous, life-threatening pain, embrace the fact that we need each other.
Humble down before extreme pain needs to walk through your front door to teach you. Ask for help; let your relationships bloom through this simple gesture of interbeing. Intimacy isn’t easy but it is one of life’s delicacies, inexplicably worthwhile.
For a system to heal, its parts must connect with each other. Nations, oceans, human beings. For humans, disappointment and upset are invitations to reach out, connect, and grow closer to others.
Essentially, we are not separate from each other or God. We need each other because we are each other.
And guess what? A week after I posted this, I went into Ron's shop and he told me the landlord set the rent raise more reasonably, and he's staying. What a win!
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, was born with a divine pen in her pelvis. She is a lifelong letter writer, a thought leader in Love, and she writes memoirs. This blog is devoted to her greatest passion: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.