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Blog Alan Seale, November 16, 2020, Intentional Living

So many feelings and emotions all at once. You no doubt have your own version of what those words mean to you right now. For me, there is grief in my mother’s recent passing while also celebrating her beautiful life, and, at the same time, missing her every day. There is great relief that we will have a new president in the United States, yet continued concern for the great divide in our country. And then there is the continued diligence for the hermit life during this seemingly never-ending pandemic. Add to that great fulfillment and reward from mentoring and coaching incredible people, and from teaching our signature courses on Zoom. There is great richness and complexity in all of it. And it seems that every day brings another layer, and then another layer under that. It just keeps coming.

In a recent New York Times interview with the legendary Italian film actress, Sophia Loren, now 86, she reflected: 

Life is not just one thing; 
it’s so many things, 
and sometimes so many things together.

Life is indeed many, many things, all together. That’s what makes it so rich and full and challenging and confounding and precious and real, often all at the same time. It’s a lot to take in. And that’s hard to do when it just keeps coming.   

Through this time of my mother’s passing, I have been blessed with hundreds of messages of love and care from all over the world. Several people made it a point to send short emails or texts of support and embrace every few days. In one of those messages, these words of 20th-century American Orthodox rabbi and philosopher Joseph Soloveitchik immediately gave me pause:

In every sorrow, there is a summons.

I read them again and again, knowing that I needed to pay attention. A summons is not the same as an invitation. An invitation leaves you with the option of saying “yes” or “no.” A summons, on the other hand, carries a sense of authority. It feels more like a command that leaves little room for choice. It’s much harder to say “no” to a summons.

Since March, these pandemic times have invited me to slow down. And indeed, I have. 

However, with my mother’s passing, that invitation has intensified into a summons—an authoritative command from Life to slow down even more. To rest even deeper into the full experience of each moment. To make time to take it all in. To make the conscious choice.    

Slow down.
Make time.
Surrender even deeper into
right here, right now.

Life on its own terms, not mine. To say “no” at this point is not an option. My soul will only let me say “yes.” 

Slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean that I will stop doing anything. My life and work are rich and full and rewarding on so many levels. My life feeds my soul. 

Yet I’m being summoned now to take more breathing space in between the different parts of my life and work. While I strive to live every day with awareness and intention, I sense deeper layers waiting to be explored, greater depths to be plumbed. I am ready. It’s time.

In every sorrow, there is a summons. Life offers invitations every day. And then come those rarer occasions when Life issues a summons. I choose to receive this summons as a wise gift. And I look forward to what awaits. 

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