The Strong and the Fragile

image.jpg

 

     I travel a lot on back country roads.  And while I drive on them, I am often reminded of the contradiction in life between soft and hard, resilient and fragile.

     A large part of my driving takes me on a stretch of road that has no houses, just miles and miles of rolling rangeland. No trees. The birds that live out there, well, I marvel at their resilience. I marvel at how they survive the heat, the wind and the fact they have no shade and no water.

     On this same stretch of road there was an accident last year. A young man, 26, misjudged a turn one foggy morning and drove off the road into a gully. He died. He was not drinking as many are in these kinds of accidents. He just misjudged the turn. And then... Gone. I drive by his memorial cross several times a week. I drive that turn just as much. And I wonder at the strength and resilience of the human body, how tough it usually is, and how fragile the small body of those birds seem. And yet... And yet the man died and the birds thrive.

     On the flip side, many people drive this road over the course of a week and many birds get hit by these same cars so it's not just about the numbers. For me, it is more about the inherent fragile nature of life and at the same time it's miraculous resilience. This all brings me back to the idea that often two seemingly opposite things can be true. We can be both strong and fragile. Which may sound impossible but allows for more honesty in this life.

Where is that Door?

image.jpg

     There is an old adage: when one door closes, another opens. (There are lots of jokes about this saying now too, like "when a door closes, open it.  That is what doors do.)  I always thought it sounded good.  Opportunity! Not Failure!  But experiencing the door shutting and not seeing another open right away, feels a lot more frustrating in real life. 

     When we decided to make big changes in our family and business, I definitely felt that door shut, kind of hard.  And it took some time for the new door to open and allow in fresh air, sunshine and optimism.  But now that it has, I can report back that the adage is true!  Things have happened with our kids' education that would not have been possible had we continued in the way we had planned out.  And it feels so right.  Are you banging your head against a closed door?  Is it time to stop trying so hard and take a step back?  This pause could be just the thing to invite in a whole new world of exciting possibility.  Where is your next open door?

Lost Sight

image.jpg

       Something funny happened this morning.  While watering my plants outside, I noticed a large hover fly buzzing around my head.  I tried to ignore it but it started to move closer and closer to my head even after I tried to bat it away.  The hose I was using has no nozzle sprayer on it, I just use my thumb.  So I started to move the stream of water close to the fly to encourage it to move on.  This seemed to only antagonize it and it veered closer to my head.  Finally in exasperation I raised the stream up over the whole area where the fly was hovering.  Can you guess what happened? I must say I was surprised.  Ultimately, I sprayed a huge amount of water all over my own head.  What goes up must come down and I totally lost sight of this while concentrating on the fly.  It did move on but only after teaching me a cold lesson in losing sight of the larger picture while focusing on the annoyance of small things.  Have you ever lost sight of the larger picture?

The Nay-Sayers

A field of dreams.... 

A field of dreams.... 

     Have you ever shared a dream with someone and had them give you a tepid reply of support?  And you can feel they don't believe in your dream at all but they don't want to say it? While they may be trying to be "good", it feels like a punch in the gut.  Not only do they believe your dream is questionable, but they also believe you are too weak to hear their truth.  So it's like a double hit. 

     Relationships can be tricky, I know.  Sometimes you don't want to come out and say, "Um, no. That is a bad idea."  I know I detest ever saying that to someone and I would say it differently.  But I also know when someone wants to say that but instead they say "Oh.... Yeah?... Hmmm, that could work, I guess.  Really?  You want to do that? That sounds cool and everything but.... Uh-huh...ok, you should do it...."  I feel overwhelmed with not only their doubt but also their dishonesty.          

     They don't think it will work.  Their mind is not open, it's closed.  And in the tentative new stages of dreams, this type of interaction can be poisonous.   Unless of course you don't care what other people think; then this type of reaction doesn't matter.  And that gets to the heart of it.  Who matters more in regards to your dream?  You or others? If you are really centered and clear, you matter more.  If you are fearful and uncertain, they will.  This doesn't mean you don't take advice.  This means you nurture your dream until you are ready to share it.  It means your opinions and goals must weigh more than other people's.   Are you ready to take the lead and deal with doubt?  Because all new things must survive the nay-sayers. 

Harder than It Sounds

image.jpg

      It is one thing to talk about waiting for the right time and getting in flow.  It is another thing to wait for it.  And wait.  And wait.  To wait while you feel like you are missing out.  To wait while you watch others having great success with their projects.  I have never been a very patient person.  I rip the band-aid off too soon, pull the scab off, push the conversation that should wait.  Wait.  Waiting.  I find it very tough.

     But these past months I have practiced what I teach (preach? I hope not).  I have been waiting.  For flow, for inspiration and for insight.  And I am happy (and relieved) to say, it paid off!  I have finally been given a peek into where I am supposed to go and what my next steps are.  Wow.  I am excited about my new projects and offerings but I am also very grateful for this lesson in waiting for the right time.  It was worth it.  And it was hard.  Both those things are true. 

Which Time is It?

image.jpg

      Recently, I was reminded of two ancient Greek words for time: chronos and kairos.  I think they can give some insight into our own relationship with time. 

     Chronos is sequential time, always moving forward and measured in our world by the ever-present clock.  Kairos, on the other hand, is the kind of time that only happens when it's ready.  We can really feel kairos when we have been waiting and waiting to make a decision and then suddenly, we just know.  Most of us are bound by chronos.  We have to meet people, arrive and leave at very specific times.  Chronos makes life run more smoothly and efficiently.  Ever wonder how people would plan to meet before clocks?  I imagine there was a lot hanging around then...hours, days, weeks spent waiting for someone to show up.

     But kairos is the more powerful of the two.  With kairos you have a sense that nature is behind you, life is behind you, things beyond your awareness are aligning.  Often when people are in kairos time things line up easily and without over-planning or pushing.  But kairos takes patience and awareness.  It takes some finesse.   And that is something most of us lack.  But to come into relationship to Life, to come into flow with Life instead of plowing through and surviving Life, that is the great benefit of kairos.  What time is it for you?

     

Deep Listening

image.jpg

      I was speaking with a dear friend about all the turmoil of late in our country.  We spoke about how beliefs and stories get locked in as children and then we grow up and act them out.  We grow up and look for them.  And we find them in all their pain and heart ache.  And we spoke about where do we go from here?  From this place of discord and hurt and rage?

     The first step as I see it is awareness.  To open our eyes to the problem, the pain and suffering of others.  Then to really listen.  Listen to others when they share their story.  Listen to others when they call for accountability and justice.  Listen to others when they cry and release.  This calls for Deep Listening.  Have you ever been listened to deeply, fully and completely?  Listened to in a way that let you release and share all you needed to and knew that the other person was not judging or preparing, but simply and profoundly hearing you?  Well, it is rare.  But this is what is needed in times of such intensity.  Huge pain requires deep listening.  Only then can we heal together.  How good are you at listening?

Decisions

image.jpg

       When my partner and I decided to close our health clinic is was a very difficult decision.  We had invested so much time, money and heart into the project.  At one time we thought it would take us into old age with vigor and commitment.  And then?  And then we started to notice we were not enjoying our life anymore.  We started to notice we weren't able to enjoy our land, our gardens, or even our family.  We spent so much time going and driving and had neglected to add this into the cost of running the clinic.  In the end the way our home life changed was too high a price to pay for having a clinic.  It wasn't about the money.  It was about how we wanted to FEEL in our life.  And we weren't feeling it. 

     I have told friends that the experience of closing the clinic was unlike anything I had felt before.  On the one hand, I felt so disappointed and sad about the closing but on the other, I knew it was the right choice.   And through it all the questions that gave us the most clarity were:  How do we want to feel in our life?  And what brings us closer to that?  So how about it?  What brings you closer to the life you want to live in?

Meeting

image.jpg

      The Universe is talking to us all the time.  Little messages and big ones.  We have opportunities to learn and grow all around us.  From the smallest lady bug offering redirection and hope, to the fleeting rainbow we catch on our way somewhere else.  The trick is to really SEE these teachings and to stop rushing long enough to notice.  And in noticing these communications, we may sink deeper into our own knowing.  It is a meeting of Us and Them.  And the more we notice and the more we meet, the more we may feel at ease in this world.  The more we realize we belong here.  And so the Them starts to disappear into a whole world of only Us.  What can you notice today?

The Trap

Black and white. 

Black and white. 

     You know you have fallen into the trap of black and white thinking when you find yourself believing:

 

I can either work harder or stop working.

I can either be loving or be cold.

I can either do what they want or be selfish.

I can either be true to myself or be a good person.

I can either have time with my family or be productive.

I can either follow my dreams or be responsible.

 

    These false dichotomies only serve to keep you stuck.  They pretend to offer you a clear choice but in reality they only limit you.  When confronted with them I find the best thing to do is slow down and step back.  And then I ask: Is this true? Is this my only real choice? Are their actually more options here than I have allowed?

Be curious.  Be Kind.  There are often so many ways to look at things and so many ways to see things that are neither black nor white.