Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. If we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.
— Carlos Castaneda, The Art of Dreaming
I am taken with these profound words by Carlos Castaneda. For me, catching a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe is exactly what it means to live on the verge.
To get out of your own way, to be available, and to awaken to the freedom of being fully alive.
Let me illustrate what I mean. Let’s say you’re standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon while thinking about your kids who are at home. You may be physically there, but your mind is elsewhere. You’re standing in front of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World—but not really—because you’re distracted or unavailable. On the other hand, if you’re taking in all the glory of the steep red-gold cliffs, engaged in the vastness of the canyon, you’re available to experience all of your senses in high definition—you feel the energy of the natural wonder before you.
In that moment standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, you’re awake to what’s happening around you and alive to what’s happening inside you.
This is living on the verge.
Life is bursting with opportunities to experience fully. Spontaneous sounds, smells, and scenes pop up everywhere. Some stop you in your tracks. Some even bring you to your knees. The sweet smell of lilacs, the cooing of a dove, or tender text exchanges with your partner are all reminders that your lives is meant to be experienced right now—not later when you have more money or more time—but right now.
Although opportunities like these are always coming and going, we’re often too busy to notice them. Sometimes they are so subtle, we can hardly recognize them, while at other times, they’re so direct and in our face that we can’t focus on anything else.
Spiritual teacher Caroline Myss, best known for her teachings on the healing power of energy, writes in Anatomy of the Spirit, “Present time energy is its own transformer.” In other words, showing up for this moment, awake and aware right now, is like plugging yourself into an electrical outlet. Being here now empowers and opens us to a steady stream of energy. Participate fully in standing at the Grand Canyon, and you will feel electrified!
I believe that how we experience life is a choice. When we’re distracted our experiences are dulled or muted. When we’re awake and aware, our experiences are vivid and vibrant. I invite you to appreciate how crisp and bright your experiences can be by getting out of your own way, showing up in this moment, and being fully available for life. As Carlos Castenada writes, “If we were capable of losing some of our importance…we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.”
Your life is waiting for you to wake up and experience it.
Plug in. Become electrified. Live on the verge.