My grandfather used to have a magical way of re-inventing the world.
When I was younger, the loving embrace of him was the glowing example of all that was safe.
Before the days of endless board games, and catching flight through trees, we would sit for hours in the downstairs rec room, coursing out trips on a map, or piecing together voyages from thousands of old photos, mostly with my grandmother in them, while I typed feverishly, and whimsically on his typewriter.
“Tear it all down and see the light,” he would say. “Tear it all down, and never stop trying; never stop believing in what you feel.”
Because of this, feeling and light became synonymous with true abundance and finding ways to love deeper in my life.
As I sat there afternoon after afternoon, having traversed territories and years on his typewriter, I came to realize that my grandfather had silently taught me the significance of attention.
“It is through our willingness to share our stories, SL, that we form our connections in life and call to attention the things hardest to see but easiest to feel…like value, partnership and love. This is how we learn, this is how we remember love is something we are. It’s something we hold space for and allow to transform and grow —it’s not something we give away on a certain day.”
As I got older, our time together became the most profound and sacred space I knew.
He would say:
“The moment I met your grandmother, light appeared through me, around me, and emanated from her. The true blessing in life, SL, is baring your soul naked and knowing it will always be held—the happiness my attention brought to your grandmother made me realize how significant attention to our connection with others truly is. It has a magical quality of transforming the profane into the sacred, fear into comfort, and expectation/obligation into nourishing spaces of discovery.”
When we are fully attentive within each moment we seek to witness the entire universe within the heart of another; their chest of hopes, fears, and vulnerabilities. We acknowledge everything that has ever been within each syllable that drops from their lips and this is how one day becomes every single day.
“You must learn to cultivate a wellspring of hope and faith inside yourself. Wherever this life takes you, whichever desert you walk through, or tree you climb, you must always seek to feel and witness life as it presents itself and allow that energy to grow across differences.”
In life, as with everything, we tend to place a certain sense of obligation or significance on irrelevant social norms. One day to celebrate a life, the other day to show. To show in the most contrived sense, that you love someone, one day to remember the beautiful promise you made to be a partner, a lover through this messy, hazy life. In a series of obligations we lose our wellspring of hope—the beautiful way we transform and are nudged into deeper levels of soul-care. Every. Single. Day.
Culture, in its loosest sense, reaffirms these motionless rituals without calling to question the very nature of what is being celebrated; connection. In doing so, this creates obligated habits without placing the focus on what is actually of value.
It is through touching the alchemic gold—the process of cultivating a wellspring of internal hope. We learn the eternal equation: one part attention, infinite parts duality of cosmic space, two parts light, and one entire heart of honest feeling. Every. Single. Day.
This simple addition transforms and grows a seed of love held within each of us, into an enduring force that touches all. It teaches us about generosity, being unafraid to stand alone but stand with all, holding space, and being someone who relishes not in the obligation, but in the love that bestows freedom and attention as its greatest gifts. The virtue of how one guides their life, my grandfather would say, is reflective in ones ability to not only build bridges across difference but to trust in loving-kindness.
In truth, all our afternoons together were mini lessons in how he hoped I would guide my life. Everything was an analogy or reference point—a story was never just a story, a photo was never just a photo, they were symbols, clues about how to value others, myself, and give love. Every. Single. Day.
See, the thing about my gramps was, nothing was transient to him, as he said nothing should be transient to me. Connection, intimacy and attention should never be flippant—our presence should always seek to transform ourselves and those around us into greater reflections of Love.
Ultimately, this was the radiance he found in my grandmother:
“Her light was so loving and unconditional that she transformed the air around her and all those she touched.”
What we have is a lifetime of choices, I was told. We must choose each universe in every moment and fill it with so much love and hope, that we convert the soft spots of nonexistent separateness that exist between us, into roots of togetherness and watch as we do for others without self.
It is how we honor love. Every. Single. Day.
It was and is the most beautiful gift anyone has ever given me…So to all:
Every. Single. Day.
Author: Shauna Lee Sexsmith
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Photo: Becker G / Flickr