Sounds of Life

I’m curious about the sounds of life. We live in such an active world with so much noise and I wonder how often we give ourselves a chance to stand still and listen.

Listen and really hear.

Try it for a minute. I promise it will be worth it.

Close your eyes and release the visible world and slow your breathing so you can deeply listen to the sounds that surround you. How many can you name?

Are you surprised by the variety? Are there sounds you can’t identify?

Certainly, it matters where you are when you try this. We exist in so many different places, big cities, small towns, deserts, rain forests, seashores, all teaming with sounds.

A time long ago hearing and identifying sounds meant life or death. If you were being stalked by a hungry animal, you’d better have good hearing, if you wanted to survive.

In some places, this is as important now as it was long ago, even though the reasons may have changed.

Every so often I will stop what I am doing and try to still my mind. I’ll close my eyes and take in all the sounds I can. Sometimes there are too many for me to separate and I have to open my eyes back up to be able to name them.

I wonder about the sound words make. Folks might say the exact same word, but their inflection, tone, volume, and pronunciation are so different, that it seems it is not the same word at all.

I wonder, is it possible to know every word from every language on earth? How many words are there and why do they all exist? Is there such a variety because they all sound different?

Is it possible to know every sound that we humans are capable of making? And what of our fellow travelers on this earth and the sounds they make? All the creatures on land, in the water and above us in the sky?

What a catalogue that would be to record every sound.

And what of other entities, the trees, rocks, plants, and flowers? Do they have their own sounds and their own language?

I wonder, has every sound already been made or are new sounds created all the time? Is there a sound that was once made, but hasn’t happened in a long time, because what created it is no longer here? I wonder too will there be new sounds in the future?

What is this fascination of mine with sound and what might it have to do with you?

Here’s an idea to try.

Sounds create meaning and they give life depth and dimension.

I love so many sounds. The voices of those that touch my life, the honking of geese as they travel south for winter, the rush of the wind through the green pines, the ding of the food timer because I know something tasty is only a moment away, the infinite variety of music, hearing the heartbeat of a yet unborn child, the roaring of water cascading over a fall, the plaintive sigh of a train whistle, the beauty of laughter.

There are so many more.

My personal favorite though is the sound of my wife’s voice saying, “I love you”. And I have to admit, I love the sound of hearing her adorable wolf howl, when we’re outdoors staring at the full moon.

I encourage you to stop for a moment sometime today and open yourself to the world of sound. It is such a precious gift.

I Accept Me as I Am

Would you like today to be wonderful? Here’s one way for that to happen.

Say this to yourself, “I accept me as I am.”

I admit, it’s hard to do and you may believe there are many reasons this statement doesn’t feel true to you. I also know that no matter what, it’s worth doing anyway, because it can change your whole life.

It starts with seeing clearly that you are more than the things you associate with your life. You may believe that you are your weight, your age, your orientation or your relationships. You may think that you are your religion, your career, or your ambitions.

But consider this, you existed before any of these labels, and you are independent from them all. You are an essence, free and clear, beautiful, and radiant.

Others are sure to tell you who they think you are and will offer you requirements they feel must be met before you can be found to be acceptable. It is up to you to decide whether to allow this to happen.

Culture in general has numerous categories and boxes for you to be placed in. And once there, it can be very difficult to get out. We often tend to believe what we are told. We accept the words and decisions of others. We allow them to shape our lives, even to the point of determining whether we are acceptable in their eyes. This is too much power to give away.

Think for a moment.

What boxes do you fit in? Are you the one who chose or did someone else place you there?

Did someone else decide what you should weigh and whether you were too old or too young or who you can love? Did they demand how you should behave in this life and what you should believe? Did they choose your career or lay down your life path?

Are you comfortable with the choices that have shaped your life, or do you want to escape? Do you need a bit of a rampage in your life, so that you can kick some unhelpful things to the curb?

Maybe it’s time to take another look at your life and make some new decisions. Ones that suit you, that fit right, that you find acceptable.

Imagine that you could start all over again, who do you want to be in this life? Perhaps you desire more freedom, the ability to travel, to choose a new career or to explore your dreams.

When you associate outside labels with who you are, this can seem impossible. Something has to change.

Could it be that an answer is available to you by shifting your energy away from what others say and redirecting your focus to what you tell yourself? Perhaps that is where your journey begins.

For a moment trust yourself. Close your eyes and breathe easily and go within. Leave all the labels behind and step into the brilliant light. Once you are here, rest for a while. Give yourself a chance to feel renewed.

The real you is a heavenly essence. A beautiful ray of energy and a being of hope for all things. A channel to share love with the world.

This is the true you. You acknowledge this truth each time you make the statement, “I accept me as I am.”

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Did Jesus Apologize to the Moneychangers

Is there such a thing as righteous indignation? Are any of us allowed to express anger and take strong actions because we feel that it is justified? Do we get a pass for misbehaving?

I wonder about a lot of things, especially the ones that don’t make immediate sense to me.

Many people in this world know about Jesus, whether they are Christians who believe he is the son of God or others who feel he was a spiritual prophet who lived a very human existence.

There is a story in the Bible about when Jesus reacted with anger and overturned the moneychangers’ tables and cast them out of the temple. Each of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) tell this story. They all seem to agree that the actions Jesus took were justified. That he was cleansing the temple, the house of God.

But here’s what troubles me.

It is so out of character for him. He ate with people that others considered to be sinners, he healed folks who were thought to be unclean, and he spoke with many who were outcasts of society. He feed the poor and preached about love, not just for the lovable, but for all.

I have to ask myself, is this story in keeping with the heart of Jesus’s teachings?

Wouldn’t his love have extended even to the moneychangers? Wouldn’t he have sat with them and brought wisdom to them, teaching them, and leading them into the light? Certainly, he had the insight to see within them and know what words to say, so that they could understand how what they were doing was harmful.

I offer you a disclaimer.

I do not believe that the Bible records every event exactly as it happened. There are numerous discrepancies when comparing the accounts of the four gospels and beyond that, when comparing different Bible versions and the languages and translations.

It seems to me we are prompted to go within to find our own truth.

I believe in following the essence of Jesus. In my heart I believe he would have turned up the love. He would have led the animals out into the courtyard, then returned to sit with the moneychangers. He would have shown love and drawn love out of them, changing their hearts in the process.

There would have been no need to apologize for turning over their tables and scattering their coins on the floor because he would have taken a more loving approach.

Of course, it is up to you to decide what you feel happened and you may be wondering what does this have to do with you?

In my mind, quite a lot.

For me, I wonder if I am ever justified in my anger. Can I behave in any manner, without concern for my actions, because I feel I have been wronged? Is there any such thing as righteous indignation?

It seems like a sort of carte blanche, where we allow ourselves to do whatever we want, with no consideration for the effect on anyone else.

The thing is, there is always an effect from the actions we take.

And it matters.

So, what is the takeaway when considering this story?

As always, it is up to each of us to decide.

What feels most right to me is that leading from love, not anger, is the way to live in this world. Sacrificing my anger and embracing a loving approach offers me the chance to connect with others. It builds up instead of tears down. It closes the distance between us. It opens our hearts and fills us. Choosing love always feels like the right decision.

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The Anatomy of Success

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you read this post title? Did you actively wonder whether you are a success in the world? Perhaps you began at once to measure and compare yourself to others who you believe are successful.

It can be quite a losing game, if you are not careful.

Maybe it would be good to back-up a bit. After all, what really is success? Do we get to choose our own definition, or do we feel obligated to use those others have created?

I’ve struggled with this concept during my life.

In my early years the expectations which defined success seemed to be easy to grasp. During my school years, it was primarily my test scores and grades and where I stacked up to the others in my classes. Sure, there were other measures, like how skilled you were in sports or music or extracurricular activities.

As time went on there was more friction involved and success became more difficult to achieve. Folks wanted to know what college you got into, what your major was, what your job prospects were, did you have a girlfriend, was it serious?

The focus seemed to be on bigger and better regardless of whether you could classify your actual anticipated outcomes.

That’s part of the problem with success. It slips away as soon as you start to accomplish it. It moves a little further from your grasp and keeps you reaching.

You think to yourself, I’m almost there and then another step appears, another task to check off.

If you are fortunate enough, you move into the business world and search for a job you hope will offer you a decent income, growth potential and a good retirement. You might get married and have children, a house, a car and go on nice vacations.

For some, these are the measures of success that matter most, and by and large, they are the ones society treats with respect.

I wanted all of these, and I am fortunate because they all came into my life. I am deeply grateful for this, for each one of these.

But do they define my success in the world? Can they? Am I not more than these?

What about our other dreams? The ones that live deep inside of us? The ones no one else can see? What about the success of these?

I care about these too.

Do you have some dreams that you want to live outside of yourself? Dreams that you want to shine?

If you do, I encourage you to breathe life into them. I also encourage you to relax all of your ideas about success.

Maybe, if you need to, write down what success would look like if you accomplished them, but then purposely set the list aside. Put it in a safe place and forget about it.

You see, dreams are different. They came with you when you arrived here on earth. They live in you but want to live outside of you. That is their great measure of success. They blossom and bear fruit and share themselves with others, perhaps far beyond your wildest imagination.

This post comes from inside of me in some previously hidden place that I wasn’t aware of until right now. It’s the same place my first book came from when it was born.

I’ve come to realize that I am a channel, a way for my inner dreams to reach the outside world. And I’ve come to realize that I profit by shifting my definition and measures of success. I try to release what the world believes and embrace what feels true to me.

When my dreams take flight, I soar with them, and they are my best version of success.

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What Other People See

Do you ever wonder what the view is like through someone else’s eyes? It’s likely to be very different, but in what ways? What might we learn about them if we asked, and for that matter, based on the questions we ask, what might we learn about ourselves?

When I was in Junior High School, I discovered that I couldn’t see the blackboard at the front of the room well enough to read it. Clearly this was a problem since the homework assignments for the next day were written there.

Perhaps I need to pause here for a moment. Yes, I am dating myself. Now of course, it’s called Middle School and probably all the assignments are on a Chromebook or other laptop. Although there are always changes, not being able to see well enough remains the same.

At first, I tried to sit closer, but that wasn’t good enough. Even squinting didn’t help. So, I broke down and told my parents and they took me to get my first pair of glasses. I hated wearing them. Still do actually. And yet I need them for seeing anything in the distance.

I am often asked why I don’t wear them all the time. And some folks in my life want to know how I manage to get along not being able to make things out.

I guess that over time I’ve learned ways to adjust. I can usually determine who is in the distance by their gait or mannerisms, but not always. Sometimes I am at a complete loss to identify something or someone.

When this happens, it occurs to me that perhaps everyone has their own version of this.

It seems to me that it’s pretty easy to take things for granted. We only see certain things and miss others. We have blind spots and could use more acute vision. Maybe it would be handy to have an optometrist for our life, who could help us see what others see.

If a friend stopped you the next time they saw you and asked what your life is like, would you be able to help them see it through your eyes? Could you explain why you feel the way you do?

If you asked them to tell you how they see you, what do you suppose they would share? Is it likely that it would match what you see yourself?

Earlier in my life I wrote out a list of adjectives and asked several of my friends to circle the ones they thoughts best described me. It was a bit of a risk because the list included some unfavorable adjectives, ones I hoped they didn’t choose. When I got the completed lists back, I eagerly poured over them. This was a chance to see through someone else’s eyes and to satisfy my own curiosity.

I was surprised by many of their choices. In some cases, it tipped me off balance. I had to stop and think about how I related to each person in order to make sense of their answers.

For me, it was a grand opportunity. I had a choice to make. I could discount their answers and go on thinking that I knew best, or I could yield and accept that their perspectives had merit. That they knew things and saw things about me that I didn’t. I could shift beliefs about myself. And I could change whatever didn’t fit with who I wanted to be in the world.

I think we all have this same chance, if we pay attention. If we listen with an open heart. If we acknowledge that we have vested interests in maintaining our personal story, and yet if we listen carefully when others speak, we might be able to grow wiser.

If we loosen our grip on the image we project into the world, we can evolve and expand. If our eyes are fully open, we can flourish and see with clear vision this beautiful world of ours.

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Open Doors

Have you ever had a door closed in your face? Whether intentional or not, some emotional pain might be involved.

It might hurt.

Maybe the person didn’t mean to and maybe they did. Either way you have to decide what to do with it. Of course, you could immediately let it go. That would certainly be wise.

You could rationalize it, noting that the person was probably in a hurry at the time or didn’t see you approaching the door. You could give them a pass.

You could tell yourself that it was just a mistake on their part, and everyone makes mistakes, realizing this includes you.

There are other options.

You could get angry and think the person was thoughtless or mean. That they did it on purpose, intending to hurt or annoy you. I’m not sure where the profit in this is though, especially if you carry it with you throughout the rest of your day.

You could use it as an opportunity to exercise patience, compassion, and love. Not only for the person who didn’t hold the door open for you but for yourself. If the door closing sparked an emotional reaction in you, you can choose to immediately forgive the person. And the forgiveness you extend can be all inclusive, so their reason doesn’t matter, whether it was intentional or not.

The beauty of this kind of forgiveness is that it includes YOU. There is no requirement to hold on to any anger or slight you may feel. You simply open your heart and release, moving on with the rest of your day.

Perhaps you’re wondering why the title of this post is, Open Doors, when all I’ve talked about is a Closed Door.

Well, instead of having a door closed on you, have you had doors opened for you? Often kind-hearted people hold a door open for me and I return the gesture. It was part of my cultural training. It was considered a nice thing to do.

In the early part of my life, when I opened a door for someone, I had an expectation that they would say, thank you. That probably only happened about half of the time. I wondered, was this civility not a part of others training?

I had several decisions to make.

The first was whether I would allow the response to dictate my future actions. Would I stop opening doors because I didn’t receive a thank you? The second was a question I had to ask myself. Why was I opening the door for someone?

It seems like such a simple thing. Why should this create a thought-provoking question for me?

Over the course of time, I came to a conclusion. I open the door because I want to, not because I was told it was the right thing to do or so that I will be thanked. I do it because to me it feels like a nice thing to do. Period.

Removing the emotional baggage and releasing the conventional expectations I’d been taught, freed me. In the freedom, I am able to decide what I want. That’s an important place to spend some time.

Here’s another question. When a door opens in your life, let’s call it an opportunity, do you back away, afraid of what might happen?

Or do you take a tentative step forward, hesitant, but curious?

Or maybe you take several bold steps forward, excited by a new prospect.

Open doors are wonderful things. They invite us to take chances and explore. They offer us excitement and challenges. They create pathways for new adventures.

I’m trying to pass by all the closed doors now and walk through all the open doors, knowing they are the way forward. I hope you’ll join me in walking through yours.

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Starving Your Inner Demons

Do any inner demons haunt you? Are they offering to rule your whole world for you?

If they are, what are you feeding them? Is their diet giving them their strength?

These may seem like unusual questions to ask, but there is a serious side to them.

Have you ever wondered how much of your behavior is prompted by your inner demons? Are you courageous enough to ask?

I don’t think I know anyone who is completely free. No one that doesn’t hear inner voices calling to them, asking them to come closer.

Perhaps, you are afraid to shorten the distance between you and these voices. That’s one way to approach things, but it has never worked for me, nor for others I’ve spoken with. Maybe you’d like to try another way.

I’ve talked before about the necessity of first feeling your feelings, because without doing so, you are running blind. You can’t see what is right in front of you. And you can’t follow any path forward.

Realizing that the feelings you are experiencing are there to serve you is one way to start. They are not in front of or behind you to threaten you. They merely want to walk along side of you and be acknowledged. They have a message for you.

If you gather your strength and release your attachment to your fear, your feelings will open you to a new perspective. And they will have a chance to deliver their golden message to you.

It is the same with inner demons.

We may think it wise to try to defeat them in battle. We may choose to pick up a weapon to hit them, but they become ferocious with us and will not back down.

If we tell ourselves, they are not there and try to ignore them, they bound around us and stare at us face to face. They taunt us and will not go away.

But perhaps we wish to alter our course and refuse to feed them. Maybe our choice is to without any food from them.

You may be wondering, how is this done?

I have my very own inner demons. It pains me to say so, but it is the truth. Maybe it’s the same for you.

My inner demons have various names. One of them is called abandonment, while another is rejection. They are sort of twins and often work together.

They say they are with me to protect me. I wonder who they believe they are protecting me from.

They cause a great deal of pain, for as long as I allow.

I need to repeat that last sentence, so you don’t miss it.

They cause a great deal of pain, for as long as I allow.

When they arise, sometimes out of nowhere, I now choose to stand still, open my eyes wide, slow my breathing and ask them to speak to me. They don’t want to. They would rather that I become angry, so that they can feed from me. Or withdraw, so they can have my energy. But I make them talk to me and tell me how my feelings of abandonment or rejection can serve me, rather than sap me.

No matter what they desire, I am still the one in charge, so they must share their wisdom with me. The harsh voices they use no longer scare me, because despite themselves they are here to help me. Abandonment tells me that I don’t have to feel or be alone. Rejection says that, although not everyone will hear what I have to say, there are those who want my words and my heart.

They have no choice but to serve me. Everything does, even them. Given no food or energy, they are starved for my attention and willingly lay down and go to sleep at my feet.

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Intuitive Nudges

When you don’t know the right direction in life to take, what do you do? Do you seek someone else’s advice or try to brainstorm all the ideas you can think of and then choose what you believe is the best answer? Or because of some uncertainty, do you just choose whatever comes to your mind first and hope things turn out okay?

It can often feel challenging and somewhat overwhelming, especially if you haven’t resolved the first question or situation before the next one pops up.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if we’d come here with our very own owner’s manual? A guidebook that laid out the best answers to all our questions or some neat flow chart we could follow to get where we want to go.

Here’s an idea to consider.

I believe we do have something we can always rely on to provide direction and insight. You may have already guessed it. It’s our intuition.

One of the difficult things about the intuitive process is our general lack of awareness about its existence and how to use it. Of course, there are numerous references to it culturally. One of these is ESP, or Extra Sensory Perception, which is our ability to know things without having any idea how or why we know them.

This disconnection creates a sense of disbelief. We don’t recognize the thread; therefore, we tend to downplay or ignore its importance. And, without a direct relevant connection, we are unlikely to trust our intuition, especially if the situation we’re faced with is very important to us.

I wonder, would it be possible for us to stop and take a closer look? What would happen if we paid very close attention to all the inner messages we receive? What might change in our lives?

I’d like to suggest an opportunity.

How about the next time you don’t have an immediate, well thought out answer for something that comes up in your life, you pause and sit back for a minute. You close your eyes and slow your breathing and allow your mind to calm down. And you ask for an answer to form in your mind. You allow yourself to be nudged into seeing and feeling what your inner guidance has to say.

There is enormous wisdom inside of you just waiting to come to the surface. It has always been present and will always be available to you.

One of the prerequisites though, is a level of trust. Will that be possible for you?

You might be asking, trust in who, or trust in what?

My answer, after many years of making my way through this amazing process is, trust in YOU. Some folks decide to place their trust in the universe or the divine or substitute other names. In essence, I believe it’s all the same, because you are part of the universe and part of the divine.

So, let’s say you are willing to give this a chance and have allowed yourself to be in a quiet space and opened yourself up to listen carefully to whatever comes your way in the silence. For this one time at least, say to yourself that you are going to trust what comes to you and take action according to what you hear and feel. Give in and accept it as your inner wisdom passing along a divine message to you.

You may want to write some of this down and note what happens, to give yourself some convincing evidence, so that next time it’s easier. Or you may just want to go with the flow and let things unfold whatever direction they do.

Either way, I hope that you begin to see that you are a deep well of knowing and that your inner wisdom is always present in your life.

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When Things Break

I suppose it is inevitable that all things will break, but when many of them happen at once, I begin to wonder, is there a message for me?

Recently, I’ve experienced a sequence of events that has both surprised and upset me. First, it was my car. It needed over a thousand dollars’ worth of repairs. I guess I ought to be prepared for this, since it’s almost ten years old, but once I got it home, it made a new noise and had to go back for more repairs.

Then it was our new storm door. The mechanism that allows it to stay closed malfunctioned. It took several weeks before it was fixed. And, then our new computer lost its mind requiring all sorts of adjustments before it would work again.

I thought we were done. You know the common thought about things coming in threes. But not so. Yesterday morning I woke up to a very cold house. I hadn’t switched over from summer to winter, so I moved the thermostat button to the ‘heat’ cycle. Nothing happened. No beautiful furnace sound delivering warmth to our house. I investigated, only to find a blank digital computer screen on the unit. It had power, but wouldn’t and didn’t do anything.

After numerous calls, we finally managed to get a technician to come. He diagnosed the problem and relayed the remedy to us. We needed parts. He told us they would be ordered on Monday, three days from now. Then they would have to schedule an appointment to complete the repairs. Translation- no heat for several days.

Many thoughts ran through my head. And many feelings ran through my body. On one level, I find this string of events to be very frustrating, and certainly inconvenient and expensive. But I’m curious too.

Do they mean something more than what they are, a collection of occurrences that could be random? Is there some inherent value in them for me? Is it worth my digging into their depths to see?

I wonder first about what feelings they bring up in me. So, I allow myself to open and accept whatever comes to me. I’ve discovered that when I do this, I am able to release whatever I no longer want to keep inside. But, I have to see it first though. And I have to realize that even though it is difficult to be honest with myself, it is always worth it.

So here goes. I wonder why this is happening TO me. It doesn’t seem fair at all. I wonder, did I do something to deserve these things? It occurs to me there may be more events to come. Because there are four, will I have to experience two more to end the second string of three things.

I note my level of anger and frustration and it becomes obvious to me that I am looking at this from only one direction. I could just as easily ask myself a series of other questions.

I have beautiful, wonderful things in my life. I have a car, a door, a computer, a house and so much more. So many in this world have none of these things and may never have them. They don’t have enough food, clean water, fresh air, shelter of any kind, people who will help them, a place to call home, a family.

My questions and concerns shift abruptly. I begin to express my gratitude for what I have and release those feelings and thoughts about what I don’t. My heart opens wide and breaks for all those in the world who have so little. For them abundance means a bite of food, a sip of water, a tarp to sleep under, a kind word from someone, from anyone.

I live in such privilege. I have so much and yet am concerned and afraid when some of it fails to work. I see that much more clearly now. Beyond shifting my attitude about this, I wonder what else can I do?

I know I can’t fix the whole world, but I don’t want that to stop me from trying to fix what I can. So now, each time my focus is drawn to something that doesn’t work in my life, I’m going to shift my attention and decide what I can do to help others. I know there are an infinite number of things that can be done. So I’m going to let my gratitude lead the way.

New Growth

There comes a point when I realize I need to let go of something in order experience new growth. Although this can be very difficult, I know it’s what I want and need. The hard part is deciding what to surrender in order to find a way forward.

In our upstairs bathroom I have an ivy plant. It’s really the first plant I’ve ever personally taken care of. It’s a job I take seriously. My ivy and I have a routine, a little ritual ceremony. Every Sunday, I pour a small cup of water on the dirt that surrounds the plants stems. After this I place my hands under the flowing water from the tap and then allow the excess water to drip from my fingers onto each ivy leaf. As I do this, I offer it wishes for good health. Then I close my eyes and let my hands hover just above the ivy’s outstretched leaves and send it loving energy.

Once in a while, when I open my eyes, I notice the leaves quivering a bit. I like to see this. It feels like a response. A connection between us. It’s beautiful and I feel closer to my ivy.

It seemed to thrive, sending up new shoots at the base and new leaves on the older stems. When the new leaves sprout, they are such a gorgeous shade of green, far different than the mature leaves. They are tiny at first, but then spread out and grow, unfurling and swelling in size.

We’ve been together now for many years and recently it needed a new container. It had outgrown the original smaller one and wanted more room to spread out. So, my wife repotted it, she being better at plant things than I am.

Everything went well and my ivy continued to flourish. That is, until we went on an eight-day vacation. I thought to myself, it should be okay, after all it’s only one more day than usual.

I watered it before we left and gave it a tiny bit extra.

We returned home and I went upstairs to check on it.

Disaster.

It looked so unhappy. Many of the leaves had dried out and no matter how much extra care I gave it, the leaves didn’t come back to life. Of the five stems, three looked really bad. I wondered what I should do. I felt as though the soil could no longer support all five stems and that if I didn’t do something soon, all of them would die.

Whether it was the right or wrong thing, I decided to cut the three stems that were withering. I felt I needed their surrender so that the remaining two could thrive.

So far, it’s worked. The two stems now have some healthy new beautiful green leaves forming. I am so happy to see them and welcome them into our world with love.

I wonder what would have happened if I couldn’t allow myself to surrender the dying stems. I think the whole plant would have died.

After some reflection, it became clear to me that this same process exists inside of me. What am I holding onto that is withering my spirit? What do I need to let go of or release?

It’s kind of hard to know the answer to this. I can’t just look at my outside world and see, like I can with the plant leaves.

It’s trickier than that and I wonder what gauge I can use to measure with.

So, instead of looking outside, I glance inward. I move beyond appearances and my thinking mind, to a place where my feelings reign. When I arrive, I ask one simple question, ‘how do I feel?’

I realize this sounds pretty general, but it’s not. If I am quiet, answers float to the surface. All of the things that concern me bob up and down waiting to be noticed. I come to understand that this is a process that is aided by my patience. I am helped by the inner knowing that all will be revealed, if I slow down and wait.

And there they are, lined up together, waving at me. My feelings of desire for control, the weighty sense of having to please other people and the chains that cling to my internal measures of success.

I see them as clearly as a dying leaf on my beautiful ivy plant. And I know my best answer is to surrender them. Releasing them gives me my best chance to thrive. I want that. I want that for me, and I want that for you, if that’s what you decide.

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