When the kids were little, we played a mash-up of “red light, green light” and “freeze dance” with them. My husband or I would sing, “You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go, go. Annnnnnnnddddddd STOP!” As much as the kids loved the craziness of all the going – wild dance moves, running in circles, spinning like tops – they loved stopping the most. They would freeze in hilarious poses that would inevitably fall apart in peals of laughter. As they played, they would quiver with anticipation for both the “STOP” and the resumption of the “Go go going.” The game needed both to be fun. So, I suspect, does each of our lives.
It's taken me years to learn that when creating a garden, what the space needs is way more important than any ideas or opinions I may have of what I want to plant there. In gardens, as in life, you have to work with the hand you’re dealt. You can't always get what you want, but you find that what you need can be even better.
When cajoled by my son to hurry up, I discovered that not only am I no longer the family fast-walker, but I am no longer racing through life. My choice to slow down has led to a sense of spaciousness that feels very, very good.
Moments of true happiness don’t have to be planned or require reservations. They don’t have to be anything fancy. They don’t need to be part of an adventure or vacation. They can happen quite literally in your own backyard when your dog drops a soggy tennis ball at your feet and grins at you. All you have to do is seize the moment and say, "YES! I'll play!" Then enjoy every moment.
I'm here today to tell you that the K.I.S.S. rule (Keep It Simple, St*pid) works. Read on to see how something so (forgive me) simple can help in simple, less simple, not-at-all simple and downright impossible moments. By the way, if it works better for you to soften the second “S” to silly or sweetheart, go for it!
I love the saying, "No mud? No lotus!" It's helpful when we catch ourselves slipping back into a bad habit we thought we’d broken long ago; or are filled with remorse for saying something we never should have said; or when we let an opportunity to help a friend slip by because we were overwhelmed with our own issues. In "muddy" moments like this, the lotus reminds us that it's only by being aware of our own "muck" that we can rise again to bloom brightly in the world.
What are you currently in the middle of? A semester, a process, a disagreement, a marriage, a volunteer commitment, an art project, or something else? Remember, though the middle can feel uncertain, it is heart of every story. The most important thing you can do is show up and participate. And pause every once in awhile to appreciate that the best part of every story lies in between the beginning and the end.
Life is made up of as many bumps in the road and flies at the picnic as it is sweet, easy, sunny days. While it doesn't make the hard times any more fun, it is possible – with tears, sarcasm, humor, profanity, or whatever else you need - to shift your focus from the current mess to the preciousness and wildness of this one life of yours.
I may be a little more hard-wired than most to cling or grip. After all, one of my most visceral lessons in letting go involved crashing into a cliff wall while rappelling. Letting go can be scary and often less than graceful, but is absolutely necessary to a life well lived. Being stuck – on a cliff or otherwise – is not the way we are meant to live. We can’t grow and change and become the people we yearn to be if we’re clinging to where, and what, and who we already are. While I hope your experience with letting go goes better than mine did on that cliff, I hope you can trust that even the clumsiest attempt to do so is a step away from stuck-ness and a step closer to freedom and fulfillment.