Receiving Our Lives, Episode 153

We’re encouraged to live our lives as a way of controlling things – most particularly in the realm of acting into the world to get attention from others and to be recognised as special. This understanding leads us quickly down a painful and deeply unsatisfying path of needing to be verified at every turn. But if instead we could learn to pay attention to life, and to find a way to receive the one unique life that we are, we might find ourselves more fully inhabiting the gifts of our lives and, perhaps paradoxically, more able to be a genuine contribution to the life of others. This episode of Turning Towards Life is a conversation about how we can find our place in the beauty of things by the way we pay attention to life, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

Turning Towards Life is a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify. You can find videos of every episode, and more about the project on the Turning Towards Life website.

Our source this week is written by Mark Nepo.

Much of our anxiety and inner turmoil comes from living in a global culture whose values drive us from the essence of what matters. At the heart of this is the conflict between the outer definition of success and the inner value of peace.


Unfortunately, we are encouraged, even trained, to get attention when the renewing secret of life is to give attention. From performing well on tests to positioning ourselves for promotions, we are schooled to believe that that to succeed we must get attention and be recognized as special, when the threshold to all that is extraordinary in life opens only when we devote ourselves to giving attention, not getting it. Things come alive for us only when we dare to see and recognize everything as special. The longer we try to get attention instead of giving it, the deeper our unhappiness. It leads us to move through the world dreaming of greatness, needing to be verified at every turn, when feelings of oneness grace us only when verify the world around us. It makes us desperate to be loved when we sorely need the medicine of being loving.

One reason so many of us are lonely in our dream of success is that instead of looking for what is clear and true, we learn to covet what is great and powerful. One reason we live so far from peace is that instead of loving our way into the nameless joy of spirit, we think fame will soothe us. And while we are busy dreaming of being a celebrity, we stifle our need to see and give love, all of which opens us to the true health of celebration.

It leaves us with these choices: fame or peace, be a celebrity or celebrate being, work all our days to be seen or devote ourselves to seeing, build our identity on the attention we can get or find our place in the beauty of things by the attention we can give.

Mark Nepo – From “The Book of Awakening’

Photo by Bryan Hanson on Unsplash