Of varying form and purpose, we all arrive in a beautiful and powerful way – the key is to remain here not with force but with formidable grace.
Every day, I tenderly pluck and sort the unwanted guests between the treasured plants in the garden of this life of mine. I carefully reach between the stalks and flowers I choose to keep and arrange them all just so.
And, even with the most careful attention, I never leave my garden without scrapes, brush marks and bruises.
Yes, some of the most treasured plants in my garden have thorns. I move with particular sensitivity around them lest they snag my flesh. And somehow even as they cut me, I am still able to see their beauty and feel their special worth. They reach out and brush against me as if they just want to touch, to say “isn’t this all so grand that we are here?!”
It is at that moment when I am wounded but still capable of loving – even those plants with thorns – that I recognize that this coexistence is the essence of thriving.
These days have felt so heavy, so serious, and rather dark…so much sourness and bitterness. I get it – our experiences are supposed to be varied – not all sweet and easy to digest – and those moments that are toughest on the tastebuds could actually be what is needed in the end for optimal health.
I also know that as I strive to make forward progress, even as I check tasks off the list and move effectively towards growth and change, if I get caught up in what sour and bitter flavors are to come, I may miss out on the tastiest treats yet.
If I can find room to smile, to laugh, to accept all that stands before me just as it is, I may find that what I thought too sour to handle is sitting right there just smiling back at me, waiting till I am ready to dive in, knowing it will do me good.
Suppressed sorrow, inner anger, fear, hatred, and injustice boil inside of me.
My breath, my breath – it struggles to move. I feel all so intensely but for the capacity to breathe – to imbibe the life force of my being.
I judge with ignorance. I judge from a place of intolerance. I judge inaction and I judge action.
I accuse. I blame. I judge. I shame…it goes on and on.
I carry my own sufferings as well as yours, knowing the answer is to relieve from within, to activate a force of love so great that others and myself cannot help but be moved to peace.
I begin to see the mistakes and inadequacies and to release myself and subsequently you from the shackles of limited beliefs and misperceptions.
I begin to feel the shift. I begin to feel myself escaping…not as a victim but as a beacon in a rising space of forgiveness, freedom and love. The hate softens and I then hold so much more compassion, kindness and understanding for all the sufferings than ever before.
And, as this life would have it, the weight bears down once more on my throat, taking away my voice, closing off my airway, and so I begin again turning inward.
These times when the breath cannot be freed, I must turn to love and relieve the anger from within.
When I learn to let go of anger, you begin to feel ease.
When I stop shaming myself, you become less judgmental.
When I no longer let my past determine my future, you gain hope and excitement.
When I can forgive myself for every and any mistake, shortcoming, and perceived failure, you let go of regrets.
When I remain in a positive state, your fears begin to fade away.
When I unconditionally love myself through the darkness and fears that arise, I invite your inner light to shine.
When I love me, you love more.
When I free myself, I free you.
I send messages to myself in little ways to care more, nourish better, rest more fully, And then I blatantly ignore those messages.
I harden on the outside, contract on the inside, and push on at the most critical junctures because sometimes it’s easier to set myself up for the transition by considering myself broken and needing fixing.
So I let myself become weak, vulnerable, malnourished just so I can love and tend to myself.
It seems an innate component of the mechanics of being that sometimes we need to breakdown to build up.
Rain pounds down on the door of the earth.
The soil parts, making way for movement.
Creatures on the move rise to the surface.
Suddenly the water rushes in carrying us to unfamiliar spaces.
Momentarily stunned with uncertainty this new uncomfortable vantage point becomes home.
Gradually settling into a new way of being and heading in a new direction provided solely by the force of another.
Sensing the way, knowing now a different path.
Facing challenges and significant dangers, but moving forward just the same… determined to make good on this shift.
With the pouring rain comes fresh possibilities to establish new pattens, make new discoveries, test adaptability, and make good in the face of adversity.
It is not discrimination I fear as much as dejection.
Discrimination says because you are different you do not fit in.
Dejection says because I don’t value you, you don’t belong.
We all deserve to feel we belong…and fit in.
There once was a bright and shining little girl who truly knew her path and her gifts. Even at a very early age, contrary to her young counterparts, this little girl spoke her truth. “I won’t eat that animal…I just won’t,” she would cry even when it was the only opportunity she had to be fed. I will dance and run. I will play on my breath. I will have struggles and need experiences along the way to help me remember who I am, but I will make my own way. What she didn’t realize was how many others she would touch with her shining light, like a glowing ray of sunshine. And so she grew, in her own way, finding adventures far beyond the comfort of many others in her circle of family and friends. Yet, she never stopped listening to that voice of her truth – she stood up as she needed, she walked away with forgiveness and grace at times when others fell into compliance and complacency, and she shared and shared all of who she was and knew everywhere she went. She didn’t need a title or a label for what she spent her whole life naturally doing. In fact, others took her guidance and called it theirs. Others wanted to ride the wave of her knowing as if they could capture that spirit through study or association. And routinely many prodded and questioned her, demanding validation and justification around the path she chose. Nonetheless, she carefully sifted through all the disingenuous tethers, all the glitter and temptations, and stayed on her path, flanking herself with friends, colleagues, and ambassadors of truth, of inner knowing, of love…and she let the rest melt away (not always without sadness, anger, or feelings of loss, but carefully on the rhythm of each breath returning to wholeness). She is a daily reminder of the gifts of expressing, honoring, and living as authentic self….of living as love.
In the cold, still hours of dawn, the frost surrounds me. Like a fortress, ice cakes the windows.
Agitation builds as I feel blocked from the broader landscape that lies beyond that wall of ice.
Straining to look past what’s right in front of me, I fear I am unable to move forward, somehow missing out. Life out there is happening without me.
And then my gaze shifts. As easily as the breath transitions from exhale to inhale, I see it…the beauty that lies before me as these little crystals of life come into focus.
They dance before all else that lies beyond and will, as the sun warms them, part to change my view.
For now I rest in the marvel of how they gathered there to share their beauty and their story of the importance of not overlooking what’s right in front of me to hurry to the beyond.