“Don’t push the river…it flows by itself..” ~Chinese proverb

Stepping out of the rushing river of life for a moment is not only difficult to do, it’s difficult to remember to do. It almost belongs on a To-Do list: laundry, shopping, sitting still. How do we fit that into our day? Granted, it’s not really a chore. If it is, we’re not being present. But, for many, it’s also probably not up there on the list of “Fun Things To Do in my Spare Time.”

Yet, regular practice of sitting still and being present can soften hardship and exhilarate joy. It allows the daily dust to settle and clears the fog of frenzy so that clarity of thought and pureness of heart can take their rightful places at the table.

Slow down. Invite the best parts of yourself. Welcome each to their place setting. Then quietly sit among them: patience, compassion, endurance, forgiveness. Offer them nourishment as you feast on silence. Refill their plates when they ask for seconds. Some have arrived malnourished. Dine on dignity, then toss the scraps of doubt.

When you and your guests are full, bid each one farewell. Invite them again, often. They will show their appreciation in ways that will surprise you.

Bon appetit!

I Love what I Love, but Not what I Do

“Let the beauty that we love be what we do.”
~Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273)

Why are we here? Is there meaning to this life? These questions we have asked for eons. Maybe there is more than one answer.

More importantly, perhaps, what are we here to do? Each of us has been given a “lean.” What do you lean toward? What propels you? What gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing?

Maybe you’re doing that already. Maybe you’ve found a way to make a living at it. Or maybe there’s a chasm of fear in the way disguised as an “obstacle,” a boulder. Is the other side attainable? Is the chasm traversable? Is there a way around the boulder? A path of least resistance?

What’s stopping you? What’s stopping you from reaching the upper limits of your greatest inspiration, your intention and desire for your work–or play–on this planet while you’re here? Perhaps you’re at a loss for what that greatest desire may be. If that’s the case, how do you go forward?

Try these three steps:

Step 1: Remain open to not-knowing. Let the unknown be OK. It will be revealed to you when you are ready. Don’t force an answer. Try to get comfortable with not-knowing.

Step 2: Get in touch with your passion, with what inspires you. How? Try this:

Make a list of what you love. Try not to think in terms of revealing what to do next in your life. Just enjoy the exercise with no judgment. Think about and write down anything you love. Here’s mine in random order:

Exploring spiritual and physical health and wellness
Writing (fiction, non-fiction, comedy)
Making people laugh
Arts and crafts
Helping others
Babies and children
Warm weather
Water and waves

Now, play with the list however you like. For example, what would it look like to merge everything I love into one career?

I could offer workshops in holistic well-being (with childcare provided) on a tropical island or by a lake in summer using comedy, writing, music, art/crafts, dance, and song.

Step 3: Take baby steps toward your dream. Ask your Spirit Guides (or Whomever for you) for your best next steps. Start with today.

Dream, then do laundry. Dream, then plan. Dream, then send an email. Do whatever it takes. Feel the fear, and do it anyway. Go around, through, over, under. Don’t give up.

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.”
~Bruce Barton (1886-1967)

This post was adapted from my older blog, Words of Wisdom.

The Joy of Conflict?

“Conflict is the beginning of consciousness.” ~M. Esther Harding

Conflict. It’s something most of us shy away from. After all, we paid our dues as teenagers, didn’t we? Oh. Maybe that was just me. But, now as independent adults, we can choose to avoid it, like choosing whether or not to make the bed or do our chores.

What’s the point of conflict anyway? Shouldn’t we avoid it…even when it’s unavoidable? Make cookies, not war…and that sort of thing? Don’t we want world peace starting with the person in the mirror? I’m conflicted about conflict. When given the choice between fight or flight, the latter seems more enjoyable, especially if I’m headed to a tropical island! 

Conflict, though, can be a positive thing, an opportunity. An opportunity for growth and change. Most of us resist change too, happily strolling along until life threatens to create so much conflict or major crises that we are forced to change. Why not nip it in the bud and embrace it?

Hey, Change! I see you comin.’ You’re cleverly disguised as Conflict. Ha! You’re not foolin’ me! And I’m not afraid of you…mostly. Yeah. Watch me bend and let you roll off my back. And if you come back with more, I’ll do the same. So there!

Conflict shouldn’t be about “fight or flight.” It should be about resist or grow, and asking ourselves: What am I seeing about myself in this conflict? What is trying to emerge in me? How am I participating? Where am I needing to grow? Where am I falling short? 

Today I will search for the gap within myself and do my best to close it. I will see Conflict for what it is: an opportunity for me to discover my best self.

Oh, Conflict! Who knew a silver lining was part of your clever disguise, you rascal!

This was adapted from my older blog, Words of Wisdom.