The ocean waves roll
Gently pressing towards shore
Small wisps of seaweed
Gently tugged by the sea
Bobbing and floating
« Continue »
The ocean waves roll
Gently pressing towards shore
Small wisps of seaweed
Gently tugged by the sea
Bobbing and floating
« Continue »
I was reading a book today when I came across a neat little story. It’s a story with a powerful message and I want to share it with you.
Suppose you’d known for a long time that you were a weed.
When you were just a little sprout, before anyone had told you you were a weed, you’d known something of what flowers feel like; and as you grew, you felt you’d like it better if you were a flower.
But you learned to be satisfied living as a weed nonetheless—most of the time. You learned to bend a little so as not to take too much sun, and to eat and drink and breathe, not quite so much nourishment from the flowers around you.
It’s only in spring when the flowers start to bloom, that it’s hard to be weedlike; then, when the warm breeze comes, you feel a stirring of hope, a wish for just a taste of blooming. But you can’t of course, you’re a weed.
Now suppose that one day a lovely creature walks into your field looking for flowers, and suppose she walks straight up to you and says: “What a strange and lovely flower this is hidden from the light!”
For a moment you would not believe her. But oh, you would want to. So you might begin softly, to look and feel around yourself. And what if you discovered that this had all been a silly mistake—that you were not a weed, but a flower after all.
Well, that’s what it feels like. A little sad that I spent so much time as a weed when I didn’t have to. A little in shock. A little exposed. Excited, in a quiet way, to discover what I’m all about. I don’t know much about being a flower, yet. But it’s me, and I love it, and I’m giving it all I’ve got.”
I thought this was a beautiful story. It’s a story that speaks to each of us to believe in who we are. Don’t waste your time wishing you were someone else. You ARE a lovely flower, so stand tall, soak up that sunshine, and be proud of who you are!
We’ve had a great month for stories in the blog world. I read a great one by Raul Ajeda of Alien Ghost. It’s called Master of Your Own Universe. It’s a powerful story about our place in nature and in this physical world. I know some of you have read it already, and I’ve enjoyed reading your comments. If you haven’t read it yet, head over there now, and enjoy this great story!
I love good stories. I’ve written a few myself, and had a great time doing so. I also like to read good stories, and today I want to share a great little story over at Abundance Tapestry. Head over there and read this great inspirational story “Song of the Little Bird.”
A family of squirrels live in a tree,
Along with some birds and bubbly bee.
A Mother squirrel looks over this crew.
Caring for her tree is all that she knew.
Each squirrel and bird has a nest of their own.
They live there as children until they are grown.
In the beginning they took great care of their nest.
In a tree full of life that’s really quite best.
But as time went on, they began to grow careless.
And in all honesty they really did care less.
They left half eaten acorns scattered about.
Some for so long they started to sprout.
They left trash in their nests, they didn’t recycle or reuse.
“Why should we” they thought, “There’s nothing to lose.”
They consume all they want full of great greed.
“We have an endless supply of all that we need.”
They thought this to be true but mother squirrel new better.
She tried to convince them in a speech and a letter.
She talked and she preached, she led by example.
But try as she might they continued to trample.
The good tree that provided life for each one
was slowly dying, but what could be done?
The mother squirrel was concerned about the health of her dear tree.
But none cared, not the birds or the squirrels or even the bee.
They continued to live their lavish lifestyles,
Consume and dispose of trash in big piles.
One day they came home and what did they see?
A turd in each nest, how could that be?
Who would do such a thing? It made them quite mad.
To poop in the nest of another was really quite bad.
Would they understand the lesson their mother was teaching,
You have to respect your surroundings, it’s what she’d been preaching.
They had but one tree to live and to play.
I think they learned their lesson that day.
You must respect the world you live in.
Or one day the Mother Earth may happen to shit in
the home you inhabit, the only you live in.
We have only one planet to live and to love.
Now is the time to rise up above
and to take care of all that you are not innocent of.
Love and Respect your planet, your neighbors, and yourself.
Photo by Per Ola Wiberg
I feel no pain. I feel no pleasure. I have no physical sensation at all. I feel no sadness. I feel no happiness. I have no feelings. I have no limitation of sight. I have no limitation of hearing. I am unable to taste. I am tapped into the great plane of knowledge. I exist, I know all, yet something is missing. There is no contrast. All is good, but what is good without contrast. Good simply is. Existence simply is. I am a soul looking for an experience, a change. An experience to gain what I don’t have. I’ll do this by placing limits on my being. Limits of a physical body. Limits of an animal body. Not just any animal body, one of a human. I’d like to experience a piece of that emotion filled realm. The realm of misery and sorrow, happiness and joy. The realm of primitive creatures, violent and loving. The realm of Earth.
You may have this, but there are conditions to be imposed. You will not remember this place of pure bliss. You will not remember your prior journeys. You will not have knowledge of all that is. You will enter this realm with nothing, no remnant of your current being.
I can’t wait, it will be such an adventure. To be able to feel, to love, to cry, to experience physical closeness to others. I will feel emotion and revel in it. I will feel pleasure and pain and celebrate it. I will feel hatred and love and bask in it. It will be amazing to experience contrast in every way conceivable.
You say this now, but understand this. You will not remember these thoughts. You will need to rediscover them. You will need to learn it from nothingness with no frame of reference to compare.
I’ll do it. Even if I don’t remember why I’m going, I’ll gain experience. I’ll feel. I’ll learn. Imagine entering a world with no memory of the past, no knowledge of existence beyond the confines of the human animal. It’s an exciting prospect. Like a vacation where I leave everything behind and just dive into the raw emotion and physical sensation.
Very well. You must now choose the specific experiences you would like to have in this life. Do you wish to experience great pleasure or great pain. Perhaps some of each? Would you like financial wealth? Would you like extreme poverty? Would you like anger and hate? Or maybe love and desire? Will you be physically strong and fit, or maybe enter with a disability of some sort? I have an idea of what you should experience, I’ll help you choose. Ah, I have the perfect fit. How about a man named Mack. It’s a tough life, and you’ll have to learn to find the positive. You will not be wealthy, and you’ll have to work hard, but you’ll get to experience a great life if you can learn to open your eyes to it.
That sounds perfect. I look forward to struggles and hardships, happiness and love. Then, when my time there is up, if I like it, I may return. I have much to enjoy while I’m there. Much to experience.
Yes you do. While you are there, time will slow. You will not only be limited by the animal body, you will also be encompassed by time. The life will feel long, but time will speed day by day, year by year as you grow nearer the end. Eventually you will return here and realize it was only a small blip. If time existed here, you would say, “I’ve only been gone an instant.” Are you ready?
I am. Darkness… Light… Waaaah.
After awakening to the fact that I needed more clarity, I spent a bit of time thinking about what clarity meant to me, and how to create this clarity. On the job front, I knew what it meant. I think I had known subconsciously for a while, but hadn’t allowed myself to bring it to the surface. Now it was time to bring it to the surface. I had to identify exactly what I liked about working in my last job. Once I had that in mind, I had to find and/or recognize opportunities where I could perform the fun parts of the job. I’m sparing the details because they get pretty technical and hard to explain, but suffice it to say it’s a specific niche in the realm of computers and information technology.
Soon after I got clarity on this, I interviewed for a job with Lockheed Martin. During the interview, I could see this job is exactly what I wanted. Having had the clarity ahead of time helped me to recognize the things about this job that I would really like. A couple weeks later I received a phone call and an offer letter. The story doesn’t end there however. I had to make a decision of whether or not to seek a matching offer from my current employer. I’m fairly sure they would have worked with me. I had to again gain clarity on what I wanted. I put aside issues of money, drive time, vacation, and benefits. I focused on the job itself. Once I did this, it became clear that the new job is exactly what I wanted, and I was able to put in my notice without needing to consider any counter offers. So, I accepted the offer, and will be starting in January.
Clarity on the job front was one thing, but I knew that I also needed clarity on the personal side of my life also. For a long time, I have believed in setting personal goals. Every once in a while, I will sit down and jot some goals down on a piece of paper. Many of my goals have revolved around “stuff.” Things I wanted to have. While some goals were things I wanted to accomplish, but most were just about accumulating stuff. Things like new TVs, new cars or trucks, accessories for my Jeep. For a time, these goals were helpful as they were motivators to greater income or better financial management. Funny thing is, it’s only now, as I write this, that I look back and wonder if my goals could have been better.
As I was thinking about clarity and my goals, I recalled a great blog post by John at HiLife2B.com about setting goals. He wrote an article titled “When Stating Intentions, Be Specific.” Sure, that sounds like common sense, but he threw in a unique twist that I had never heard before. Take each of your goals and write a short story around that goal.
By writing a short story, you encase your goal in an environment, you give it life. You surround your goal with details and with dreams. It let’s you see how passionate you are about the goals, and if you share it with others, they can also share in the passion. This would work especially well when setting goals that may affect the entire family. The goal stories became a great way for me to gain clarity on specific goals.
Let me give a couple of examples of the goal stories as they relate to a couple of my own personal goals.
I would like to have a Nintendo Wii
The goal story
I will save up some of my hard earned money to purchase a Wii, Wii Sports (with extra controller,) an extra nun chuck. I’ll bring it home and get it all hooked up right away. I will play some of those fun games with my wife and my daughter. We’ll wear ourselves out playing for the first couple of days. We’ll laugh and have a grand time.
To make a living by writing.
The goal story
After six months of blogging, I learn the secrets of the trade, and the tips to succeed. I launch my second blog about a topic I am passionate about (sorry, the topic is top secret for now.) This blog is more financially rewarding, and I begin to make an income from blogging. A few months into that, I start my third blog (also top secret for now,) and begin to see more financial rewards. Along the way, I piece together parts of Eden Journal into a best selling book. The book puts me over the edge of being able to support myself by writing. I am able to quit my day job and focus full time on writing.
Finally able to make a living by writing, which can be done anywhere in the world, I am no longer tied down (by my job) to any one place. I am free to travel. I purchase a nice, used RV, load the Jeep on a trailer, pack the family in the RV, and head off on a trip around the United States. My new freedom allows me to stay in any one place for as long or as little as I’d like. If I find an interesting town, I may stay for a while. I write from the road, free to explore. I, my wife, or my daughter is free to pick the next destination. We travel around in this manner, taking in all the sites and wonders that the US has to offer.
It’s easy to see how much better the goal is when surrounded by a story. As I wrote it, it makes me want it even more.
It’s also easy to see how much more useful and beneficial the life enriching goals are when compared to a materialistic goal. I am finding it a good way to evaluate my goals, and to see the big picture. I find it’s often easy to get caught up in the little picture, and the “story method” makes it easier to see the big picture surrounding your goals.
My challenge to you is to gain some clarity, identify some goals, and write a story around some goals. Let me know what you think of this approach.
Picture from rvfreak2.wordpress.com
Hey Mack, grab your shovel and dig this ditch.
Mack’s smile gleams brightly in the damp morning air. He reaches for the shovel and grabs the handle with pride, much as a pro baseball player grabs his bat during game one of the World Series. Mack has a job to do, and he’ll do it well.
He slowly and craftfully slides the head of the shovel deep into the rich soil of the roadside. He feels much like a surgeon making his first delicate incision. The head of the shovel reaches the ideal depth; the depth at which the maximum amount of soil will be removed. Mack has a keen sense for this, maximizing each dig, each bit of effort so he works most efficiently. As he gently lifts the shovel, a wonderful new hole begins to appear, in what was once a flat boring surface. He lifts swiftly and carefully. Bits of dirt and sand slowly roll from the edges of the shovel as he skillfully swings to the side; the side of what will soon be a magnificent trench. The blackish dirt slides easily off the face of the shovel. He inhales deeply, taking in the rich aroma of the dampened soil. He gives a slight chuckle as he imagines that many people will never experience that glorious scent.
Mack relishes the first dig of each new ditch, trench, or hole. Very quickly, however, he picks up speed. Moving faster and faster. Still precise, yet amazingly efficient. Scoop after scoop, shovel full after shovel full, a ditch begins to take shape.
The foreman looks over, and sees Mack working. He recognizes Mack as the best worker he’s ever known, and is very pleased to have him working this job site. Mack’s face shows little strain and has a rather pleasant look to it. He wonders briefly what goes on in Mack’s head as he works.
Thoughts slowly roll through Mack’s head. He thinks of his family and how much he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He thinks of the wonderful weekend he has planned, relishing the time he’ll spend with his family. He thinks of the job at hand. He thinks of “The Shoveler;” his very own superhero name that came to him while flipping through an old comic late one evening. He thinks of a golden shovel, what a spectacular ode to his work that would make. He thinks of how lucky he is to work outdoors and soak in the warm rays of the sun.
In what is actually hours, but seems like minutes, his task is complete. Mack takes a moment to admire his masterpiece. Straight as an arrow, the depth is perfect, the sides are smooth. Even the extracted earth is piled neatly to the side. He has done his job and done it well.
A broad smile crosses his face as he heads back to the foreman for the next assignment. You see, Mack is a dreamer, but he’s also a doer. He loves the feeling of excellence, the feeling of doing his best. He doesn’t want to be “The Shoveler” for the rest of his life, but while here, working to support his family and working to enjoy his time away from work, he’s going to work hard. And one day, maybe, just maybe, he’ll earn that most wonderful imaginary prize; the golden shovel. A prize not about work, as you might think, but rather a symbol of his commitment to his family, to his life, and to himself. Mack, my hat goes off to you; I think you have already earned this prize.
Thank you to my friend Jeff, whom I worked with in my early days of Information Technology. We had a discussion from which the ideas for this short story first took place. I’d also like to thank Lisis for her recent post on Net Worth vs. Self Worth, this got me thinking about this story which formed so many years ago.
Photo Credit: Man with Shovel, 1870s Robert Onderdonk
The day is sunny and warm. I feel the heat of the sun warming my skin as I sit and ponder. Buzz.
What was that? I heard something. Buzz. Buzz.
I look around the lush grassy field speckled with the deep reds and bright yellows of beautiful wildflowers.
I see a bee… no two. Two bees. Buzz Buzz. I lean in close to get a better look.
Why, they’re talking.
“Jack, why are we here?”
A bee named Jack, how absurd.
“We make honey, it’s what we do.”
“Isn’t there more to life than honey?”
Good question I think to myself.
“Of course there is. Making honey is just our job. Honey keeps the family fed, but there is more to life than honey. Life is about the journey. It’s about immersing ourselves in the beauty of each and every flower, it’s about buzzing from flower to flower while feeling the warmth of the sun on our backs. It’s about relishing our time on this planet while enjoying the wonderful little details that surround us. It’s about treasuring our journey as we move through life. “
Wise little bees.
Are you treasuring your journey?
Photo by revlax