Journey Wisely

"My Raspberries"A piece of artwork in progress.

 “My Raspberries”A piece of artwork in progress.

” The sun will rise and set regardless.

What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us.

Journey wisely.”

~ Alexandra Elle

My raspberries are still producing. Every time I see new fruit on the vine I smile because I notice that I’m surprised – I don’t expect that to be so. But my raspberries don’t need my approval, my logic, my understanding, or my love to live their life according to the timetable that is deeply and eternally connected to their divinity.

They just keep popping out juicy little berries that I pick and eat on my way to my car as I say to myself, “but it has been so cold! Aren’t you supposed to be asleep by now?” etc. On the one hand I love them, am grateful for them, and in awe of their tenacity to be what they  were born to be regardless of my opinions and judgments, conscious or unconscious. On the other hand their presence stirs my soul to contemplate how my limiting beliefs about them are a reflection of my limiting beliefs about myself – beliefs that have NOT come from a dialogue with God, but whose seeds are planted by others opinions and judgments that were never  meant to take root in my mind.

I am the gardener of my life. I have seeds of divinity planted in me. I feel them. Every morning when I wake I know what to do to nourish them. I’m amazed that they still produce fruit. I’m in awe that I’m more fruitful than I ever thought I could be.

When I stop and listen to the thoughts that don’t resonate with that growth, I am like the gardener who stops expecting the fruit to be hidden beneath the vines. It’s true that there are seasons and physical realities and circumstances in our lives that feed the thoughts that we are past producing. But all I have to do is look at my own experiences to know how harmful it is to let them take root.

I look back on my very productive year and all of the destructive thoughts that would have hindered my progress had I not been aware enough of feeling guided by a light, a spark of something better inside me. My reluctance to start things  – unlike my raspberries who are perfectly obedient to their divine nature – is always present. It never gets easier no matter how excited I am to get going on a project or an adventure.

Every day I have to consciously choose to sit down and put pen or chalk to paper if I’m going to have a new piece of artwork to eventually frame and display.

Every time I decide that it’s a day for a Polar Plunge I still have to take that first step into the frigid ocean no matter how rainy or windy it is outside, or miserable I feel.

Every day I have to choose to do the small and monotonous things like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and reading and praying with my children, hoping that those things are making a difference in the overall atmosphere of my home, feeling that those fruits are the hardest to look for.

Every day I have to choose to be aware that today is a gift not a guarantee. Who I’ll “be” from sun up to sundown is up to me. Responding to the slivers of light that I let into my heart is really the only step that matters until…. “Until” takes care of itself.

My raspberries have taught me to get out of my head and to pay attention to the light that tells me to feed my gifts – to do things that make me feel alive and me in the world – every day, and to pay attention to those people who are fellow gardeners and can collaborate to ensure optimum growth. I will always listen to lessons from nature before opinions of others because nature really does do a perfect job of being magnificent.

You are magnificent. Journey wisely.

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Sun People

“There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn’t sure which one I was. Fog’ll do that to you, he said.” ~ Brian Andreas, Story People

“Wait.”

That was the only answer she’d been given for months and she really had no idea what she was waiting for. But waiting was a useless thing for her. Why wait when she could do something with the ideas in her mind?  All she knew for sure was changing big things wasn’t working for some reason, and apparently The Man Upstairs saw something significant unfolding which only he could see from his perspective.

As the months slipped away she grew more grateful that she’d waited. She’d walked straight into what she’d hoped was an oasis only to learn that it was another of her fantasies with no nourishment or life-giving water for her parched and hungry soul.

However, “things” weren’t getting done and she was starting to feel lazy and altogether useless to the world.

Then, much to her surprise, she got an additional piece of direction:

“Prepare.”

Prepare for what?

She sat and sat and sat some more, getting an itchy feeling. Having been left to fill in the blanks, she asked for just a tad bit more direction. Seems the heavens were toying with her, but she’d found them in a generous mood and was given one more piece to the ever-growing puzzle:

“Empty out.”

That was something she knew how to do. By the end of the day her plan was in full swing; plans had been made for all the stuff she’d been sharing her home with for years. She went the extra mile and said goodbye to all of her wishes, dreams, fantasies, and projects waiting for her to show up and play.

“Okay,” she said. “I’ve emptied out. And I’m tired. One more thing: I don’t care any more about the things I thought I cared about. This “waiting and preparing” thing is exhausting. But, thank you for the permission to “empty out.” If you don’t mind, I think I’ll go for a swim.”

“Exactly,” he whispered.

“Twit!” she laughed back.

And then the joy and the unexpected came to sit next to her in her new found empty places.

What If Today…You Felt Useful?”

This is an excerpt from “Manuscript Found in Accra”, by Paulo Coelhopages 40-41. I read it last night and finished it this morning. Thank you, Mom, for sharing this gem.

Ask the flower in the field: “Do you feel useful? After all, you do nothing but produce the same flowers over and over.”

And the flower will answer: “I am beautiful, and beauty is my reason for living.”

Ask the river:”Do you feel useful, given that all you do is keep flowing in the same direction?”

And the river will answer: “I’m not trying to be useful; I’m trying to be a river.”

Nothing in this world is useless in the eyes of God. Not a leaf from a tree falls,not a hair from your head, not even an insect dies because it was of no use. Everything has a reason to exist.

Even you, the person asking the question: ” I’m useless” is the answer you give yourself.

Soon that answer will poison you and you will die while still alive, even though you still walk, eat, sleep, and try to have a little fun whenever possible.

Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself; that is enough, and that makes all the difference.

Walk neither faster nor slower than your own soul, because it is your soul that will teach you the usefulness of each step that you take. Sometimes taking part in a great battle will be the thing that will help change the course of history. But sometimes you can do that simply by smiling, for no reason, at someone you happen to pass on the street.

Without intending to, you might have saved the life of a complete stranger, who also thought he was useless and might have been ready to kill himself until a smile gave him hope and confidence.

 

May we all understand the wisdom in his words and find and feel our usefulness. And until we do, may we courageously walk forward so that our soul can teach it to us. Enjoy your day!