Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Flowering Anyway

As I do my morning prayers and meditation I am brought- once again!- into awareness of the vastness of what I do not control and how much energy I waste in denial of this. Oh, I get that I don't control other people or the weather or many other changing conditions (although, of course, I participate in co-creating the world we share.) But the place where I keep hurtling myself against a brick wall (and then wondering why I wake up covered in bruises) is around my desire to control how things impact me.

Don't get me wrong- my attitude, my inner work to be conscious, my willingness to do what I know helps me maintain awareness (like my morning practise) - all of these deeply effect my ability to stay awake, to choose how I will respond. But emotions, sensations and thoughts arise spontaneously, often affecting me internally even when I am able to choose my external response. The place where I truly go into denial (and after thirty years with a chronic illness that has, at times, put me in bed for months, I am embarrassed to admit my reoccurring blindness around this reality) is in facing how things impact me physically, that this body-self has particular limits, limits that of course are not static and unchanging but never-the-less real.

My mother was always a big advocate of "mind over matter," (which was code for "over-ride your body-wisdom.") Of course, we know how profoundly the mind effects the matter of our bodies. But I have also come to see mind and matter as two possible ways of seeing one wholeness. Insisting that my physical body can do what it can't lands me in bed or the medical clinic with some frustrated and bewildered doctor asking, (voice volume just slightly shy of shouting) "What are you not getting about this? What can I say that will communicate to you that if you insist on doing what your body cannot you will end or housebound or bedbound or worse?"

What am I not getting? That although we have choices we are- I am- not in charge of a great deal.

So, once again I surrender to what is, accepting - albeit not as gracefully as I would have liked- my limitations in this moment. I accepted long ago that hang gliding and seventeen hour work days are not in the cards for me. With more difficulty, I recognize that there are very real limits to the assistance I can offer others right now, that they may be disappointed and angry or may not believe that these limits  are real. I surrender to the possibility of being misunderstood or judged. Because I can’t control that either.

My favourite card in the Xultan Tarot deck is “Strength.” It’s an image of a cactus flowering in a pot. It reminds me that at any given moment we find ourselves in a particular “pot,” a set of of conditions that may be personal and specific to us or embedded in the reality we share, things that shape and limit available choices. 

But there is nothing within the present moment limitations that stops us from flowering, from being all of who we are and offering what we are to the world. The form may not be as we had hoped or imagined, but unfolding and living from our essential beingness is always possible.

I want to use all that I am and all that I have for flowering. I don’t want to waste one bit of time or energy on denial of or fighting with present-moment limitations that are beyond my control. Because flowering, unfolding into the life we are given regardless of present-moment limitations, is what brings us joy. . . . is what heals the world. . . . is why we are here.

Oriah (c) 2013


  1. Bless you for this Oriah! I had to stay at home for 2 days from work -of course I should stay home longer- because my body simply shut me down. It's not as this is news to me. I keep overworking myself, tiring myself out with wanting to do too much even though the day has only 24 hours. I feel terribly guilty for staying at home and leaving my colleague alone to do all the work in our secretary's Office. But my body simply doesn't care. It's tired and that's that. Your doctor's could be my angels shouting at the top of their lungs which part of rest more and don't overdo it I'm not getting exactly. Why on earth are we so stubborn? I'm slightly annoyed with myself for doing it again and again and again, although I SHOULD know better. I even right now catch myself not breathing right. Of course I know all Meditation techniques on this planet and tell everyone about it, but why is it so bloody hard to walk my own talk and take better care of me? Do we think we are not worthy of rest? Do we really think without us the world will come to a stand-still? Maybe all those questions don't really matter. I guess you are right, I simply shut up and do the best I can in the present moment :-) Thank you.

    1. Sabine, I hear your frustration with yourself. It's really about self-knowledge, self-acceptance and self-love. Maybe that's what we're here to learn. (And by the way- however the body is breathing right now, is okay :-) )

    2. Sabine, feeling your desperation, I would like to give you a little hint. I'm afraid I know your condition quite well. I found a big relief in working with a support group of "co-dependent" people, because my behaviour of thinking much more of others than of myself had become compulsive and destructive. It is there that I learned how to set boundaries and how to really appreciate myself, my needs and my world. There is also some good literature about it out there, and of course Oriahs work is a big support as well :-) . We all have our very own paths to follow, and I wish you all the best.

  2. Oriah, "Strength" is the tarot card I drew for 2013! It is a very appreciated support for me.

    I have to admit that I have a lot of difficulties with flowering in very limited or harmful circumstances. It seems to take all my strength then to simply endure the situation and nothing is left for healing or thriving further. If possible, I try to leave those circumstances, not squandering my energies on trying to change them in vain. But there are also some situations I cannot leave (at least for now), and recently I took out some pressure with accepting them and with also accepting my inability to flower there. I admire sincerely every cactus (real or metaphorical) that can bloom in an arid area!

    1. Nora, I would differentiate between harmful and difficult conditions- removing myself from the former if there is any chance to do so. However, with both, we may not have too many choices or little/any control. Sending prayers that a way to remove yourself from harm come easily and swiftly. Blessings, Oriah

    2. Thanks and a big virtual hug! :-)