"How much we taste of life depends on the integrity of our relationships. I've been blessed to have good friends. They've taught me that the heart of relationship is tested when life undoes us, when we're forced by love to step from the confines of what we know in order to hold each other in the rough sea where nothing makes sense. It's love that leads us closer to wholeness.
"The truth is that once turned inside out by experience, we're opened to the life of others and challenged to enter the endless river of feeling. Those who think they can skip over life by never showing their insides take a different road. Wholeness demands opening up and feeling. With those who won't accept this, there is less and less to share.
"If blessed, we're broken of our stubbornness and humbled to discover the larger Wholeness we're a part of. Even so, relationships have a natural course. Some blossom and die, as we connect and disconnect. We lean on each other, then back away. We think we can make it on our own, then need each other nakedly. It's all very humbling.
"I've learned over and over through my breakdowns and rearrangements that everything I've longed for was already close at hand. I just needed to recognize it, befriend it, love it, and embrace it. This changed what I'd been taught about willfulness and control. Tenderly, I've learned to align with the forces around me and have stopped trying to defeat them. To defeat experience is like a fish trying to defeat the very river on which its life depends.
"By facing our troubled waters, we're called to the timeless question, 'Who will live your life?' And to our surprise, our beliefs are lost or burned or torn apart along the way, through no one's fault. And though we can get stuck in the occupation of blaming, the loss of our beliefs is a vital part of the journey; so we can start again, sometimes more than once; so we can learn who we are and who we're becoming – all to get closer to this thing called life.
"Still, when turned inside out by life, Wholeness seems impossible to grasp and yet every meaningful experience returns us to the fact that there is no 'there' – only 'here.' From the confines of our pain, fear, worry, or doubt, from the confines of our immediate problem that seems to have no way out, we're challenged, again and again, to realize the mystical fact that the air of the sky is the air in our lungs, that the immense aliveness of the Universe is the impulse of joy waiting in our heart, and that the vastness of peace we dream of is quietly waiting like a seed of emptiness in the very pit of whatever darkness we're struggling to free ourselves from.
"When something is whole, it's complete in itself. Though being human, we can't experience wholeness all the time or be permanently complete. Ultimately, it's through relationship that we approach wholeness, again and again. Along the way, life wears us down to what matters from the outside, while love prompts us into the open from the inside. So, to approach wholeness means that we can inhabit the gifts we were born with, from time to time."