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Friday, January 7, 2011

Seeds of Wisdom
Choices, Toil and Care
~ Written by Carrie Hart

Sometimes the rains fall from heaven and gently nourish your fields, even though you do little.  And sometimes the sky dries up, the plants begin to wither, and you wonder where the love and bounty have gone.  Look, look over here.  See this well going deep into the river of love, the endless river that never goes dry.  Pull up a bucket of this love and drink it.  Let the love flow through your body, nourishing you, filling you with peace and joy.

Look at your hands.  See that they are tools that you can use to clear away the weeds of old ways of thinking and being, the weeds of regret and blame, so that the new shoots can reach the sun.  See how strong your hands are, strong enough to remove the chains of fear and doubt that are shackled to your ankles, making your life a burden and keeping you from freely walking your fields in joy.

When the drought comes, it is necessary to roll up your sleeves, lower your bucket, pull up the water and walk your fields, pulling the weeds and pouring on the water.  You must toil hard in the field, deciding which plants are the most important to you and spending your time there.  For when you water by hand, you see that it is not always possible to nourish everything. And you must choose, choose to spend your time building an irrigation system or watering the soil with a bucket.  Choose how much to allocate to the tree that will bear fruit in the spring and how much to the vegetables that will flourish soon.  Choose whether to pour your love on a beautiful flower so that your heart may be filled with beauty as you work. 

Choose how much time you should spend working in someone else's field to provide for your household while waiting for your fields to mature. There are no right or wrong answers, simply choices, toil and care. But know this:  the fields are full of seeds that are awaiting your care.  And where you put your attention, is where life will spring up.  Where you pour the waters of your love and attention is where the sprouts will push up through the fertile soil of your life and reach the sun. 

Where you take the time to plant stakes and tie up the saplings to support them against the winds that blow, this is where you will find the strongest trees in years to come.  Where you take the time to prune the roses is where you will have the biggest blooms when the spring inevitably comes. Remove those chains of fear and doubt and begin to walk.  Dip into your well of love and attention and begin to pour.  Work on your irrigation system a little every day, even as you walk the fields to save what can be saved.  Plant new seeds of deep-rooted trees for the future and nourish these as well, even as you focus most of your efforts on the crop that will sustain you right now.

And while you do this, while you begin to transform your fields, toiling under the burning sun, feel the sweat pouring down your body and be glad.  This is what it feels like to be alive, fully alive.  This is a part of the path, a part of the vast and wondrous experience of being who you are.  This, rising to the challenge, using your wits and your sweat, feeling your muscles strain against the hoe and the plow, then lying in the open field at night, the freshly plowed earth warm under your back, the moon shining in beauty above you, this is life.

Yes, this is life.  This is the glory of and wonder of life, to spend the day removing stones from the field so that tomorrow's crop may flourish, to rise up to the challenges of life with courage and commitment, enjoying the strength of your soul and body as you overcome.  Yes, this is life, a great journey through all the seasons, through the droughts of summer and the storms of winter, as well as the fertile, gentle days of spring, when all that you have done begins to bear fruit.

For no matter what happens, the well of love is always full, if you will only lower your bucket down into it and use your strength to pull it up.  And the seeds are always there in the soil, if only you will water them with love and attention.  And if you have only the strength to bring forth one flower, then bring it forth and let it grace your life.  For this single flower is enough to light up your life and see you through until spring comes and the gentle showers from the heavens once more grace your life with bounty and beauty.

And know that when this spring arrives, you will look back on this time of toil, sweat and courage with pride.  You will remember how you let your power surge through you, how you filled your heart with courage and your mind with new ideas, how you used your wits and your faith to do what needed to be done, how you dug deep into your well of peace and patience, love and joy, to create bounty, how you poured your sweat and blood into the fertile earth.

Someday, you will look down at your callused hands and feel the joy surging through you.  Ah, yes, you will say, I knew then what it was to be fully alive.