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 world that awaits you

flowerbud cropped

Last week I shared a poem I wrote about a new beginning. Here is another poem about new beginnings written by John O’Donohue, which I treasure – not only for the beautiful message that resonates deeply within me, but also for the lovely way that it came to me. After finishing an 8-week Mindfulness by Design virtual series with my colleagues Katiuscia Berretta and Annahita Varahrami, and as we were embarking on the new year of 2018, Kat sent this gift to me.

I believe in beginning again, over and over. I see fresh starts in moments throughout the day, each new day awakening, the perspective that a trip can bring, a new  opportunity to make a difference, meeting a new found friend, in flower buds opening to the sun…

I am inspired by the invitation of courage and energy and openness that comes to me through this poem.

For a New Beginning
By John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

 

* I took this photo of a peony growing in my backyard. You can see this same flower in full beautiful bloom. 

Open to the Light

peony-amazing

Open to the Light

Open to the light
so hungry
to wash over you
and fill the dark spaces.

Listen to the inner voice.
Let its wisdom
penetrate your being.

See the truth
buried under the rubble
of hollow stories
built on the foundation
of fear.

Blossom in gentle acceptance
of who you are
so worthy
of the warmth and love
that waits for you.

Awaken and move
toward the vibrantly alive
life that is yours.

As I read this poem today, it is like a motherly hug, reminding me that I matter and that life expects me to by joyful.

* I took this photo of a peony in my backyard in Iowa.