blossom into more

Photo by Vicki Flaherty | nasturtium blossoms

“You are built not to shrink to less,

but to blossom into more.

To be more splendid.

To be more extraordinary.

To use every moment to fill yourself up.”

~Opray Winfrey

I find these words inspiring, a beautiful reminder that we are here to feel alive, an invitation to embrace the little joys that arise in a day and allow them to feed our spirit.

wonderland

Photo by Vicki Flaherty | Orta, Italy

Wonderland.

Something about this word makes me smile. Maybe because wonder takes me back to childhood, when so much was new and life was filled with a sense of wonder, when we explore and live into experience without expectation or judgement. Maybe it’s the invitation in it: to shape the world from a place of curiosity, to embrace to the opportunity before us, to lean into ‘what is’ with our full selves, and to let what arises in life carry us.

what is truly calling

Photo by Vicki Flaherty | Brother-in-Law’s White Peonies, Chapel Hill North Carolina

Mark Nepo, in I Awake chapter of The One Life We’re Given

“The point is not to deify the events that break us down or open. But to lift up the mysterious fact that what we think we want, what we think we strive for, is often not the goal at all – just what we hold on to in order to discover what is truly calling us. Often, when we think we’re building one thing, we’re building another, or we’re the ones being built. When we think we’re giving one thing, we’re often giving another, or we’re the ones being given to. When we think we’re enduring one thing, we’re often being undone by life into the birth of a gift we’ve been carrying for just this opening. The point is, we’re challenged to follow our heart beyond our intentions in order to find our quiet destiny, the way a tulip or peony follows its urge to break ground, hardly imagining its life in blossom.”

This really spoke to me, as do so many of Mark Nepo’s words. I remember, when I was working at IBM supporting leaders in being their best, how I would have these moments when I could see and sense that what I thought I was up to was not really the point at all, that there was something deeper happening, something richer being created. Once I was leading a resilience initiative, facilitating learning circles with small groups of executives and exploring ways to support ourselves and others in self-care. On the surface the work looked like education, however, at a deeper level it was about our being relationship and our connection and what was possible because of it.

The future waiting to be born

You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth,
for the hour of new clarity.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

…the future waiting to be born…hmmm…something about that…

Rilke invites me to see that the future is here with us, right now, that we actually are carrying it through our days, giving it shape with each breath, each opening, each little invitation for a better world.

Some other inspiring Rilke quotes to invite perspective and possibility:

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”


“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

Awe Gazing

Madonie Mountains, Sicily, Italy

Awe Gazing
By Vicki L Flaherty

The majesty of the mountains…
The endlessness of the sea…
The meandering of great rivers
The distant light of the stars…
The power and pull of the moon in the sky…

We gaze in awe:
at the miracle of nature
touching us with her grace
she opens our hearts
pours beauty into our being,
awakening us from our dream,
inviting us into a world
vibrant and alive with possibility.

And here we are:
human beings
with beating hearts
incredible minds
and intricately complex bodies
filled with spirit.

May we gaze in awe:
at the magnificence of our humanity –
our majesty
our endlessness
our meandering
our light.

It is so easy it is to forget that we, as human beings, are amazing and worthy of inspiring awe.

Life Breathes

Geranium blossoms

Life Breathes
By Vicki L. Flaherty

Without effort, we breathe.
Our breath expands and contracts,
comes and goes,
fills our lungs and releases from our body.
Our breath cycles with a rhythm,
no two inhales or exhales the same.
We move unconsciously with its ins and outs.
Invited to notice the power of it,
to pay attention to the miracle of it.
We gently allow it to carry us
into and through each moment
in this precious space we call life.

I find something very powerful in sitting with my body breathing. I can’t seem to capture it in words, though I keep trying. ;]

not knowing

Ireland, Ring of Kerry, near Killorgin

Not Knowing
By John O’Donohue

how would it be to allow for knowing
and not knowing:
allowing room
for the mystery
of creating
to be able to wonder
softly
without needing to understand everything
to trust in the process
to trust in love
to trust in the mystery and wonder
of the universe
that beats softly wildly
true
all round about us,
that is hidden
in the mists
in the clouds and the rain
in the wind blowing and the rain lashing down on your window,
reminding you
poetically
prosaically
that this is where you are,
on the island,
at the edge,
in a place of finding
and refinding,
and remembering
to remember
the feel of the mist, wind and rain.

I first discovered this wonderful poem on Radiating Blossom and found it to be an invitation to open to not knowing, to allow space for mystery, and to feel what’s present in the moment.

home to the present

Coralville, Iowa
Cessation
by Vicki L. Flaherty

my turbulent mind is tiresome.
my thoughts tedious,
tempting like a train
moving out of the station
into the countryside
and cities and towns of every size.

then, I remember to breathe.
I bring myself home to the present.
without effort the train disappears
and the luring journey ceases.
my suffering gently, rhythmically
comes to an end.

This was my experience mid-way through a meditation program – noticing my mind carrying me to all sorts of places I had no intention of going, and then finding my way to calm spaciousness by bringing myself back into the ground of my body and the movement of my breath.

gratitude, grace and celebration

Lilac Blossom

I first received the gift of these beautiful words below over on Val Boyko’s Find Your Middle Ground blog. I’m sharing because it seems so fitting and is a beautiful invitation for how to give birth to the next moment, to live into whatever’s next.

~ From “What’s True Here” New Poems and Other Writings

by Danna Faulds

“This is what I have to say to you. Savor the fruits of a lifetime of growth and evolution. I’m not suggesting that you rest on your laurels and declare yourself done. But its time to bask in the sunlight of your soul and let that warmth reach deep inside your bones.

The next stage of your life will rest upon a foundation of gratitude, grace and celebration. Grace simply comes when it comes and isn’t in your control. Gratitude can be nurtured and fertilized by paying attention to the gifts that come your way, saying thank you, internally and externally appreciating your life as often as you remember. Celebration means taking stock of how far you’ve come and letting delight and wonder lead the way.

What you are giving birth to today is bigger than your usual perception of yourself. Its okay that you have no idea what’s coming next. How could you? Just stay open and the universe will do the rest. Gratitude, grace and celebration are the keys.”

the days are nouns

Rovinj, Croatia
Daily by Naomi Shihab Nye

These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
 
These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares
 
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
 
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
 
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky
 
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
 
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world
 

I first came across this poem over at Karl Duffy’s Mindfulbalance blog. I found it to be a lovely reminder of the peace that’s possible amidst my day-to-day activities, and how, in a way, we are all connected through the act of taking care, of living.