“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone—we find it with another.” ~Thomas Merton
Seth: When Aria and I decided to devote a year to encouraging one another in our mindfulness practice, we couldn’t have known what those twelve months had in store.
I had always enjoyed good health—“taken for granted good health” is more accurate—and suddenly I was faced with major health challenges of unknown origin. Countless trips to doctors and other professionals provided no explanation for my chronically low energy, nightly insomnia, digestive issues, vocal problems, and eventually a deep depression.
In happier times two years earlier, I had attended Aria’s wedding in Northumberland, England. It was an incredible weekend—misty morning walks in a labyrinth, pounding rain on the roof of the old stone church during the exchange of vows, shared meals at a long wooden table in the long afternoon light. We both felt that our hearts were so open, and it was easy to focus our attention on what we truly cared about.
The day after the ceremony we marveled together at the deep sense of connection we experienced throughout the weekend. It wasn’t entirely surprising, of course, given the circumstances and the explicit focus on love. But if it was possible then, why couldn’t we nurture that quality of presence and open-heartedness in our day-to-day lives?
That shared question led us to our year-long collaboration in finding the sacred in everyday life. For a full calendar year we wrote to each other every day, urging one another to connect with what we held most dear. We took turns—Aria would send me a mindfulness practice one day, and I would send him one the next.
Aria: During the year I had a surreal realization with profound clarity. Everything that mattered—everything that was truly important—was relational: my wife, our families, our dog, and our friends. These were the foundation stones of my happiness. Everything else—work, money, reputation— seemed like a game. They were fun, but they weren’t issues of life or death.
Seth’s messages reminded me that sometimes we lose ourselves in the game. We become so immersed in the narrative we’re spinning that we forget it’s just a story. It’s like living in the Matrix. The game seems like it’s more important than everything else, as though it’s the center of our universe.
Then, now and again we gain that beautiful, tender, precious thing…