“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”—Maximus, The Gladiator

Recently, I committed to bringing my new creations into the world—my website and novel. Since then, I have become a gladiator.

The critics have arrived to show me my foolishness, to tell me I shouldn’t publish, that instead I should start again, try harder, think more. With my Beloved, I have met them face-to-face in dust and blinding sun of the coliseum.

They appear as allies, with my best interest at heart. One suggested that I may want to start a new novel, a more spiritual one. That cut right to my core—only because that is the very criticism a voice within me has been saying for years.

Always, that criticism—if I do not recognize it inside—appears spoken aloud on the outer, by a family member, friend, colleague or stranger.

I am grateful that it does.

I have tried to believe it. Maybe my novel should be about a woman who wants God, rather than a woman who wants a baby. Yes, I think, my critic is right. That would be a better book.

But this morning I see that they are the same. Whatever we seek is the most precious and Godly thing, whether it be a trip to the Bahamas, a baby or God himself. It is all love. It all teaches us how to love, how to quest for the highest.

Every time I reach, every time I risk, I am grasping for God.

When I reach for something in the material world, I may get it, but with wine comes the headache, with the rose, the thorn.

And when I seek the highest, I manifest no hangover or skin prick.

Only love.

The beauty of facing that fearful voice within is that I see how its judgment casts not only on my novel but also on my whole life.

Always it is there to tell me I am not spiritual enough. If I were, why would I manifest loneliness or anger? Why would I be involved in a lawsuit or struggle to sleep at night?

But these challenges are completely spiritual. They are the petals that make up the great lotus of my being. All of them, the whole of my journey, is God. To paraphrase a saying by my spiritual teacher, life is love and love is life.

I practice compassion for that part of me—and the person reflecting it—who doesn’t know that all is spiritual, and we are completely loved.

Whether I publish the novel or not doesn’t really matter. What is important is that I keep hold my Beloved’s hand. That simple act spiritualizes everything.

I have contacted the publisher, ready to move forward with The Baby Pact, a novel about a 40-year-old woman who is willing to go to any length to have a child. It is a pursuit as valid as that of Odysseus, Siddhartha or Arjuna.

As are all adventures.

I am a gladiator, wielding my sword at the forces that conspire to stop my quest for truth. I stand tall in the center of the vast coliseum of life. While the crowds boo and cheer, while my adversary wields a spiked wrecking ball, I call on my Beloved inner self, and watch as the illusion disappears, leaving me in a sweet wildflower meadow, where sunny love rays warm my smiling cheeks.

P.S. This is posted on my new website. I invite you to explore! Click here: www.lesleysking.com

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