Not to feel exasperated, or defeated, or despondent because your days aren't packed with wise and moral actions. But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human -- however imperfectly -- and fully embrace the pursuit that you've embarked on."
-- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
We don't always see the good in ourselves. Too often, we focus on the negative. Granted, we're not always our best selves and that's where Marcus Aurelius' quote comes in. My favorite part, "to celebrate behaving like a human -- however imperfectly", is a call to both pride and humility. We are who we are, and we will make mistakes -- large and small -- but that doesn't mean we give up or give in.
I noticed the egret on a short walk this morning. I did not see the reflection, so I was surprised when I looked at it a little later. The bird didn't seem to notice her reflection, either, and it crossed my mind that sometimes we don't see ourselves at all, even when we're looking. And that's when we need to embrace a little calm, take a breath -- recall our unique humanity -- then pick ourselves up and continue. No one can walk our journey but ourselves.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!
Someone recently asked me what sparks my creativity. Two major sources of inspiration for me are being with people I love and nature.
Last week, I enjoyed a hike through some woods and a day at the coast. I loved it.
The hike was fun mostly because I was with our son Bashir, who also writes. We decided that a day in nature would be good for our writing. We headed to a state park.
Ridiculously, I hadn’t taken hiking into consideration, although I love it and we were going to a park. Interesting, right? Bashir, of course, hadn't considered not hiking. Of course, he wouldn't.
Neither one of us are exactly famous for our sense of direction. We struck off down a path with notebooks, pens, and our phones. No water -- I, genius, didn't think we would spend much time along that particular path. Again, what?
I was a little bit of a wreck, to be honest. I was wearing crop pants and no-show socks. Everywhere I looked, I saw poison ivy and poison oak. What had I been thinking? Probably not so much about hiking as sitting beside the river, under the old, live oaks, writing and nibbling on snacks.
I have an unreasonable fear of poisonous plants.
Bashir wasn’t bothered in the least. He marched confidently down paths lined with poison ivy while I held my breath. He made his way to scenic overlooks while I hung back doubtfully. He surprised me, too. He knew exactly how to return to the parking lot. He was paying attention to the trails and not focusing solely on groundcover!
We finally did get to my lovely setting by the river. A cool breeze blew over the water, leaves drifted from the trees, and we soaked it all in. We talked. We snacked.
It was beautiful.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence or anything worthy of praise, think of these things.” Phillippians 4:8
Not a lecture. Not a suggestion to bury our heads in the sand. It's permission to take a mental break, an invitation to opt for peace, choose the high road. Sometimes, especially if we're under siege -- of any sort -- it might not seem possible to find anything positive or hopeful to think about. But there is something, and we should try to find it and ponder it as a gift to ourselves because that's when we need it the most.
Wishing you moments of peace.
Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun. – Gibran Khalil Gibran