A beautifully written and performed song - "1000 candles, 1000 cranes." As one reviewer put it, in a time of "political amnesia," this song is a lovely painful lesson. Please...if you have a few minutes, listen to this song...carefully. I can't remember how long ago I heard it played on a local radio station (never to be heard again, sadly), but it touched me deeply with the irony of it and how pain can be reconciled by chance meetings. A lovely song which I find I rarely listen to without tears coming to my eyes.
Well, I put the pictures of my parents and me here because #8 on the list I'm about to post has to do with parents. Besides, I like showing them off! I'm doing my best to spend as much time (and quality time that is) as I can these days. Life is short and I really feel it's important to spend this time with people you love. And...I love my parents!
Now, getting to my post. Years ago, while going through some difficult times in my life, I came upon a book by Geri Larkin called "Stumbling Toward Enlightenment." I was always drawn to the Buddhist way of life but had such a difficult time grasping the tenets of that way of life. So, one day in the bookstore while desperately seeking some book which would give me solace, I saw the title of this book and I just knew I had to buy it. I was stumbling...big time! Well, it got read, and re-read and marked up and dog-eared over that summer and, to this day, I still go back and read through sections of it.
This evening I opened the book to the chapter on Fear, Worry and Shame and it began with a list of Twelve Steps for Dealing with Misery (I had A LOT of underlinings and notes in that chapter!).
So, here are the Twelve Steps for Dealing with Misery according to Geri Larkin:
Now, these may seem a bit harsh to some of you but, I assure you, at the time I bought this book (and I was VERY miserable), I worked on...well at least 11 of those steps (Don't think I'd have the courage to do step 7 quite yet.)
Although Larkin wrote these steps for dealing with misery, they are really good steps to help you lead a more peaceful life. Really.
The Incredible Chinese Bamboo Plant
I saw a post on Facebook today shared by my friend, Kimmy, and I just needed to re-post this in case some of you haven't seen it. I've been thinking a lot about bamboo lately and wondered if I should write about it again and Kimmy's post was the catalyst for my post today.
Did you know that the Chinese Bamboo plant takes 5 years to grow vertically? Yes, it starts as a seed which you plant in the dirt; then you water and fertilize it for 5 years before you see more than 4-5 inches of growth. You see a sprout...that's it. So, despite all your efforts of growing a Chinese Bamboo, all you get is this tiny shoot coming out of the ground. But, what is truly amazing about this plant is that in the fifth year, all of a sudden and within 6 weeks, it'll grow up to 90 feet! Isn't that truly, wonderfully amazing?
So, what do you think this tiny plant was doing for all those years? Was it being lazy? Was it being selfish? Was it being stubborn? No, it has been growing a horizontal set of roots to help strengthen the base for those five years so that when the tiny sprout turns into an 80-90 foot plant, it could support it and keep it from falling over immediately.
Well, some humans are also a lot like the Chinese Bamboo plant. They may spend many hours or days or years trying to develop themselves personally, professionally, emotionally. They invest a lot of time trying to help family, friends and co-workers develop life skills and many times, nothing happens (or at least it may SEEM like nothing happens).
Many people will want to give up. Many people DO give up. They divorce or move out or or just plain give up. It's too much work; too much energy exerted (and I assure you, it's a lot of energy sometimes). We don't see the outcome we want quickly enough - we want fast results. But that's the problem - life doesn't work that way (at least the majority of the time it doesn't). Very rarely will no growth occur if someone loves, cares for and nourishes someone else. Like the Chinese Bamboo plant, what is happening when we are working so hard to make ourselves and those around us better is that the growth is occurring inside us...and them.
The trick is not to give up hope. Like the acorn, which becomes a mighty oak or the Chinese Bamboo plant which becomes a 90 foot plant, the lasting growth starts on the inside...it starts small. The growing they do on the inside creates strength of character and conviction. So, when things are difficult and you're feeling like you'll "never get it" or "never be able to make the change" or THEY (whoever THEY are) will never change, don’t give up hope! Many times, the efforts will be rewarded! Once that root system is established, your growth or the growth of those you are helping will spring up seemingly overnight! It may take 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. If you stick with it or them, if you have it in you to do that, it can be rewarding...I assure you.