I was reading a wonderful article in my “Country Garden” magazine by Margaret Roach called “Sparrows.”
It wasn’t the particular title that caught my eye although I do love sparrows. It was the quote she wrote below it: “A busy life with a long to-do-list means some of the smallest things go unnoticed–but those small things can teach us big lessons.”
Sometimes I can’t even get to the task at hand because I’m too busy putting things on my to-do-list. Then onto the business of figuring out how I’m going to get them all done.
She goes on in the article to say; “If I could only slow down and be still someday, I’d (—-fill in the blank).” And I’m thinking to myself, I’m retired. I don’t have to do this or that if I don’t really want to. As a matter of fact I’m the one who writes about being in the moment all the time.
Sometimes having a snowy day where we can’t do much of anything else gives us the opportunity to slow down and ask ourselves that very question, what could I do?
I picked my magazine up because I’d been wanting to read it for a while. I opened it to this article first thing, and in this small gesture I got a reminder lesson on the more important things in life. All we have exist within our untamed moments, and if we’re too busy cluttering our thoughts with things to do later, we miss out on what life has to show and offer us…in the now.
At the end of the mini series “Genius,” Einstein is dying, and as his long time secretary looks at him with sadness, he takes a flower from an arrangement and holding it in his hand says, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
I looked at Tom with a childlike excitement, and said, “I learned that all by myself!”
Just a few simple lines, and yet they hold within them a great awakening, opening up a whole new world for us. You don’t even have to be a genius to discover it yoursełf. It reminds me of when my father-in-law had his cataract surgery. He said he could see things with such clarity and crispness, and the colors were so vivid. When our own blinders are stripped away we can also say, ” I can see clearly now.”
Today my inspiration comes in the form of a frog. I mean this literally. I have always had a fascination with frogs since I was a kid. I remember watching them for weeks as the only existence they knew was being a tadpole living in the water. Then legs and arms begin to pop out of their body, they lose their tail and the transformation is complete. I just realized they’re the real deal when it comes to transformers like the ones my grandkids play with. Anyway the frog is born and emerges into an entirely new reality. It was the transformation that kept me captivated. How could one thing turn into something so different yet be the same thing? I never knew that frogs were known as the symbol for transformation until I read about it today. Every one of Gods creations has a significance in this world as well as something powerful to teach us. Some would call this transformation of rebirth the change that takes place when we accepting God into our lives. Some would say it takes place when we realize who we really are. Others would say it takes place when we realize our purpose. I would say they are all the same just as the tadpole and the frog are the same. What they are made of on the inside remains the same. While they may seem like a simple insignificant creature to us, they teach us about our own transformation and how we allow ourselves to adapt to whatever limitations we place upon ourselves. As a child looking in wonder at how a tadpole could turn into a frog. I realize now that they were never separate in the first place working as one unified creation fulfilling its purpose on earth controlling the bug population, and teaching us an important lesson about our own transformation simple by being what they were created to be.
Learning everything there is to know.
A therapy fable from an unknown author
Once upon a time, a woman moved to a cave in the mountains to study with a guru. She wanted, she said, to learn everything there was to know. The guru supplied her with stacks of books and left her alone so she could study. Every morning, the guru returned to the cave to monitor the woman’s progress. In his hand, he carried a heavy wooden cane. Each morning, he asked her the same question: “Have you learned everything there is to know yet?” Each morning, her answer was the same. “No,” she said, “I haven’t.” The guru would then strike her with his cane.
This scenario repeated itself for months. One day the guru entered the cave, asked the same question, heard the same answer, and raised his cane to hit her in the same way, but the women grabbed the cane from the guru, stopping his assault in midair.
Relieved to end the daily battering but fearing reprisal, the women looked up at the guru. To her surprise, the guru smiled. “Congratulations,” he said, “you have graduated. You now know everything you need to know.”
“How’s that? “The woman asked.
“You have learned that you will never learn everything there is to know,” he replied. “And you have learned how to stop the pain.
In Plato’s allegory of the Cave, he describes a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives. A big fire burns behind them as they face a blank wall. All they’ve ever seen are the shadows projected on the wall by the thing that passes in front of the fire behind them. They begin to ascribe forms to these shadows, using language to identify their world. The shadows are the only perspective they have. Therefore, it becomes the only thing in which they can base their own reality. That is until one of them finds his way to the outside world where he sees the actual objects that produced the shadows. He tries to tell the people in the cave of his discovery, but they don’t believe him. The one who escapes has discovered this great knowledge that goes beyond the cave. Unfortunately, from an unknown limited perspective…the others foolishly resist and ignore him believing they know all there is to know. (This is my own synopses of “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.”)
This allegory blew my mind as I read it thinking about what a great example it is of how we let fear keep us from going beyond the boundaries of our own limited knowing. Our very own intuitive voice tries to get our attention by saying, “really!” Is that all you want to know about the things you’ve come to believe? Just like the man in the allegory who escaped his chained existence there is a freedom that comes when we allow ourselves to step beyond the unknown. It is there that we find the endless things yet to be discovered. I hope I don’t ever get to the point where I think I’ve learned all there is to know. What a great way to end our day, if we could add to our nightly prayers, and gratitude list, one new thing we learned that day. I think I’ll step outside my cave, and take the challenge. How about you?
My thought for today is on “taking the next step” after “letting go.” This morning I stepped off the roller-coaster to test the ground. I was ready to go about my regular day, but my daily reading got me thinking about doing something that makes me feel good. It said, rather than thinking about what you don’t want, put your focus and attention on what you wish to experience. I think I need to do some real soul searching to remind myself of what those things are, but no time for that right now. At this point whatever I do is going to be spontaneous. The thought of that gets me excited, and I hear the song in my head, “Girls just want to have fun.” That’s what I need a Thelma & Louise kind of day.
So I called my two friends from my youthful years, and asked them if that’d like to share a crazy spontaneous day with me. It was perfect timing. They were both excited to join me. We went for a long lunch then shopping. We got to catch up, we laughed, and most of all we were reminded that we’re not alone in life’s struggles.
No matter how hard life seems at times the only one who can make the changes we need to happen is us. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I wanted to experience some fun today so I put the that desire in motion. Not only did it make me feel good, but the goodness was passed onto my friends as well, and now I feel doubly good.
“I Can Choose This or That”
Today I’m reminded how one negative thing can overshadow all the many good things in my life…if I let it.
How can one thing overshadow all the good, I wonder. Then I have to go deeper and ask myself what this one negative thing is really trying to tell me about myself. I realize it isn’t even about me, but how I react to it. I can be a victim or the survivor. What I choose can only be decided by what I understand about both. I know what it feels like to be a victim, and I know what it feels like to be a survivor. I base the choose on how I want to feel. That’s the beauty of freedom, I can choose this or that, and whichever I choose will determine how I live my life today.
Sometimes to get to a place of clarity, we have to do something good for ourselves. So I decided to go out and play in my garden, it always clears my head. I’d forgotten how good the warmth of the sun felt as it filled me with energy as only the sun can do. The fresh air was rejuvenating, and as if that wasn’t enough a bouquet of crocuses in all their glory caught my attention. The hidden beauties of life that can only be seen if we make the effort to move out of the darkness and into the light. I am once again filled with the abundance of gratitude, and I wonder why anyone would choose to be anywhere else.
What do see when you hear the word stillness?
The first thing that comes to my mind is the motion of cold streams flowing through the California mountains. The echo of birds, crackling branches, the smell of earth, and the taste of fresh air. A happy childhood memory that impressed me so that it became embedded in my mind.
I guess it’s kind of an oxymoron to see motion in stillness. But the stillness I see can only come in the stopping of my own motion. It’s seeing what lies beyond the veil of our busy lives. It reminds me of who I am, where I come from, what’s important, and where I long to be.
Oh, I’d like to go back to those California mountains someday, but where I truly long to be is in the stillness of His presence, where all motion comes into view.
I probable could have writing a few episode for “The Twilight Zone. I have these ideas in my head about the unknown…that which can be seen and unseen.
Imagine a world inside another world. Like the Russian nesting dolls. Each made in the same image and likeness with the same DNA yet unique in their own special way. None knowing that they live within the other, believing they are an entity onto themselves. Their purpose being as unique as they are, yet serves the Whole unknown to each doll. As they open up and separate they feel a sense of division, and realize they are nothing but an empty shell. In the state of separation they long for their missing connection, that something that gives them life, purpose and meaning. They long to be Whole once again.
And so it is through the state of separation that we realize we are nothing without the Whole.
If I was able to create an image of negativism, it would look like the snot character you see for the Mucinex cough commercials. It always has its bags packed and ready to follow the next victim it can infect.
Being around someone who carries a high degree of negativism is putting yourself in an infectious zone. The longer you expose yourself to it the better chance you have of catching the germs and spreading it around to others. Like a bad cold you wipe your miserable runny nose with your hands touching everything within your line of path. Your annoying cough and sneezing spreads spores of negativism in the air where they are ready to jump onto the next person who walks within its negative trap. It feeds on itself the more negativism it can collect the bigger it grows, and like wildfire It becomes hard to control.
Your best remedy is to get as far away from it as you can, let it take its course as it slowly works its way out of you. Feed you thoughts with optimistic value, and watch as its antibiotic affect wipes the negativity right out of your system.