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.

befriending

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befriending

inside my head
the little voice
whispers worldly words
that I want to push away

resistance raises
her arms to fight
then I remember
to take a deep breath
to slowly walk up beside the voice
acknowledging her wisdom
grateful for her good intentions
and to stand calmly in her presence

from this accepting space
the world opens
and I feel free
to write a different story
that moves me
in the direction
that I truly want to go

 

Today’s post is a tribute to Teresa, who led restorative yoga classes at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for breast cancer survivors back in 2012. One day in our practice she invited us to befriend, rather than resist, our natural unpleasant thoughts…to try standing beside them versus pushing them away. I remember the sense of calm that came with her invitation and this fresh relationship.

This post is also dedicated to ‘Coach Christina’ who guided me for 6 months in early 2012 at a time when unwelcome thoughts were abundant following my mastectomy. With her guidance and incredible loving support, I was able to befriend and shift my thoughts in ways that brought welcome catharsis.

I am so grateful for the wise leaders who guide and inspire me.

 

* I took this photo in San Agustinillo, Mexico. These two little guys capture so nicely how I would like to be friends with those sometimes unhelpful voices in my mind. 🙂