In 1955, when I was seven, my grandfather took me out one day from his house in La Jolla, California, first to a book store, where he picked up a thin book and then to visit a friend of his who lived in the hills in the back of the town. This friend of his was a very kindly man and apparently he had written this book and it had just been published. He greeted me warmly and very nicely drew a little cartoon inside the cover just for me. The book was called On Beyond Zebra and the man was Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
I still have the book and bring it out occasionally to show to friends. It’s about a young narrator who is not content to be confined to the usual 26 letters of the alphabet and proceeds to expound on an additional 20 letters that are essential to spelling certain creatures of unusual bearing. It’s a wonderful tale of expanding one’s rules of reality to include things we haven’t thought of before.
I was thinking about this book recently when I was considering healing. Generally we find some part of our being that “hurts,” whether that be our bodies that hurt, our feelings, or our Soul. Something’s not right and we want to bring it back into harmony. When we find a way to do that healing, we feel better and get back to the life we’re used to.
But what if there’s more? What if there are ways of being that go beyond the ways we’re accustomed to feeling? What if there are grander states of being that we don’t really have any experience of, but that are within our reach? How do we even start to look for more?
Let’s call this territory beyond healing, “thriving.” Most definitions of “thriving” include words like prospering, flourishing, or success. I’ll bet Dr. Seuss could come up with a much better word for living better than we have ever conceived of, but let’s let “thriving” be our word today.
So what might the characteristics of thriving look like? It would certainly include qualities such as deep self-esteem, self-love, and self-empowerment. These alone would be more than most of us embody on a fulltime basis. Perhaps having a strong sense of place in the world would be a part of thriving, and maybe add to that a powerful capacity to savor life.
How about truly harmonious, healthy relationships to other people, to nature, to Spirit, and, of course, to ourselves? Perhaps add a good dose of peace, both within and without, all excellent characteristics of thriving.
If we incorporated all these characteristics into our lives, what might that experience look like?
I would suggest that one of the first experiences that we’d be aware of would be that we would feel free to be ourselves, to feel that it was safe and proper to be who we authentically are. That’s certainly the number one experience I’d like.
Other things that we might experience are feelings that we are supported and encouraged to be creative. That we are free and safe to experiment and make “mistakes.” I’m sure that fun would have a high and honorable place in that spectrum of feelings. And the peace that comes with honesty would be prominent as well.
In letting ourselves become more vulnerable and feeling okay in not knowing, life would become more of an adventure with lots of exciting explorations. Curiosity, wonder, and awe would be regular features of our lives.
I don’t think it’s enough to come back to simply feeling good, as wonderful and powerful as that is. And this isn’t about transcending life on the earthly plane; it’s about embracing that life more deeply than ever we dared do before. I think that now’s the time to envision who we can become in the fullness of our being. I think that if we throw open the doors of our imagination and free the deeper yearnings of our hearts, we can create incredible lives that fulfill and excite us in ways that boggle our current understanding!
Oh, my! What a life we might have if we simply go on beyond healing!