The Bud or the Blossom?

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

-Anais Nin

We tell ourselves that playing it safe involves very little risk.

The known, however frustrating, is at least familiar. We are well acquainted with the challenges of our jobs, marriages and friendships, and continue along, rarely asking ourselves if we are actually fulfilled.  

 But, at some point, the pretense becomes unbearable. The lack of authenticity may manifest as an illness, irritability, or even self-sabotage. Oftentimes, if we do not consciously choose to end the pain, our subconscious will mercifully do the work for us. And then, we have a choice: do we remain tight in a bud or do we take the risk to blossom?

 For many of us, we might not even know what blossoming would look like. We have become so conditioned to listening to others that we have forgotten to speak to and listen to ourselves. So, that is the first step. Begin the dialogue.

 Take your time. Ask any question. Experiment with answers, and try things out. Observe yourself, and don’t judge what arises. It is a process. And as you begin to blossom and open to your true self, you will feel a freedom, a lightening of the load you have been carrying, and you will find that within you there is more courage than you ever imagined.

Removing Obstacles

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

-Rumi

 

We live in a culture of perfectionism. We want to shed unwanted pounds, find the perfect mate, complete all the tasks on our to do list, and maybe even fit in time for a marathon! We have somehow equated these external accomplishments with happiness. But, do we even ask what is driving us toward completion of these goals? And, how do we feel about ourselves along the way? Will “happiness” only begin the minute we have achieved everything we want to achieve?

 

But what if deep joy and contentment were available to us now? What if, right now, we already accepted ourselves as beautiful, successful, and intelligent? What if all of those lofty goals, just out of our grasp, were not connected in any way to our sense of well being?

 

As Rumi writes, our focus is not to seek for love (or joy, peace, well being) in things, but rather to remove anything that keeps us from experiencing the fact that we ALREADY have everything we need, that we already are loved and accepted. What, then, are these obstacles? Guilt, fear, shame, anger, to name a few. It is anything that keeps us from accepting that joy is possible right now, today, without doing anything on your to do list.

 

There is no one key that unlocks every door. It’s up to each person to begin their own inner-dialogue to discover what are their own particular obstacles. Then, through mindfulness, meditation and other forms of reflection, we can begin to see these obstacles, understand them, accept them, go into them, and eventually they will lose their power over us.

 

So today, as you are making your to-do list, which I do every day, remember that completion of this list has no bearing whatsoever on your worth as a person, on your joy, peace and contentment. And, maybe while you are making your to-do list, you can also make a “self-gratitude list”, a list of things about you that already are, things that you admire and like about yourself. Put this list in your pocket and carry it with you, and if you start to have a moment of self-doubt, pull out the list remind yourself that you already are loved.

 

You are not alone.

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Your great mistake is to act the drama

as if you were alone. As if life

were a progressive and cunning crime

with no witness to the tiny hidden

transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny

the intimacy of your surroundings…

-excerpt from David Whyte’s “Everything is Waiting for You”

 David Whyte’s insightful poem reminds us that we are not alone, that everything out there is communicating to us, from the simple inanimate objects that bring ease to our lives, to people and animals and other expressions of creation. The question is, are we listening, observing, participating in this divine conversation?

Very often, what prevents us from participating in this divine conversation is a belief that there is something wrong with our lives or with ourselves. We resist our current circumstances and desperately seek a way out of our pain. And, it is this resistance that is actually the greatest source of our pain and the source of our sense of abandonment.

We have not been abandoned. In fact, everything is working together in this glorious miracle of life. And, you are part of this miracle!

The transformation occurs when we begin to let go, and look for all that is already there rather than focusing on what we believe is missing. And our resentment, blame, and sense of victimization transforms into gratitude.

It’s a process. But today, start by finding one thing in your life that speaks to you, and say thank you. You will be surprised at how greatly this affects your outlook and your connection to your experience.

Blessings and Love,

Tara

Ill-matched Threads

She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
of her life, and weaves them gratefully
into a single cloth—
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the
hall
and clears it for a different celebration

where the one guest is you.
In the softness of the evening
it’s you she receives.

You are the partner of her loneliness,
the unspeaking center of her monologues
With each disclosure you encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold you.
-Ranier Maria Rilke

About fifteen years ago, a friend told me that, like a cat, I’d had nine lives. She was right; I’ve had an eclectic journey. I grew up Christian and converted to Judaism. I got a Ph.D in Russian women’s literature and now I’m a Life Coach and stay at home wife and mother. I studied literature and now I write poetry. But on the other hand, woven together, these “ill-matched threads” of my life combine to tell the story of my search for authenticity and deeper meaning.

I sought far and wide–in various religious traditions, academic institutions, and philosophies.  I was looking for that one thing that would make sense and take away all the questions. But no one voice or tradition spoke to me! Instead, I discovered myself in bits and pieces here and there…in that piece of art, in this poem, in that city, in this prayer.

And then I realized that it was up to me to write my own story! I realized that the truth of my constantly unfolding story was there–inside–and it always had been. I didn’t need to seek outside myself for myself, and I began giving myself permission to be true to myself.

This is a beautiful journey, with surprises and ups and downs, with moments of tears and moments of laughter.  This is a journey without end, where life presents us every day with endless opportunities for growth, gratitude, and love. And when we live authentically, we in turn encourage others to live full and passionate lives.

 

Featured image for post CC by mindfulness.