Life force

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action,

and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.

And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.

The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is or how valuable

nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep the channel open.”

Martha Graham.


Serendipity finding this quote – and it resonated with a clear note. I am a great believer, when I can do it, in approaching life as a conversation: a dialogue between each one of us and a greater truth. God, to my mind, is the natural intelligence or life force from which we spring. When I get out of my way and stop forcing life to fit my ideas, then serendipity happens. People, books, coincidences happen – I seem to be in the right place at the right time, unlike when I try to boss my life. Then I fall flat on my face.

Then I stumbled on this quote at a time of despair. My back was particularly bad and our daughter with her family was in the air, flying in for Christmas. My head felt defeated at the logistics of meals and pain; my heart asked what a grandmother, who can't sit through a movie or go out for a meal, can offer energetic teenage grandsons.

Martha Graham's quote supported my growing understanding that my small “I am” is an offshoot of the great “I AM”. That each of us reflects some small, but unique fraction of a greater whole.

Martha's unique contribution flowed through dance and I am reading, serendipity again, The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander, Conductor of the Boston Philarmonic Orchestra. He and his wife, Rosamund, write and teach what we can achieve if we look at the possible, not the limits. As a conductor, he thinks in terms of the orchestra “us” rather than a soloist “me.” They work with life situations, but showed me a wider application.

Each of us has a unique note in the cosmic orchestra; without our individual contribution, the song of the spheres would be incomplete. No one else can give your distinct interpretation of being alive. We probably don't know what that is, probably don't value it, but we can see it in others – if we look beyond the state of daily living. Courage, generosity, a simple word of comfort that no one could give quite like you.

The least we can give in return for life itself is our purest reflection back. I may not know what I pass to my grandsons, but I trust that some essence of my interpretation will stay with them after I'm gone. I still quote my grandmother's wisdom sixty years after her death. If I can do as well, that will be enough.



About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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