Monday, December 1, 2008

Grasshoppers or Sweet Nectar

Decades ago, I read that grasshoppers are considered a gastronomical delight by members of certain societies.

I understood in that moment that what attracts or repels us is largely subjective. And I knew, too, that the ripples from this idea extend far beyond which foods we consider tasty.

Our basic stance toward life itself is likewise influenced by the family who raised us and by the culture within which we grew.

But what is truly compelling is that if such attitudes are simply a result of the particulars of our experience, perhaps we needn't enact them unthinkingly for the rest of our days. Isn't it possible that our basic approach to life is malleable still?

I think so. How we view the world and our place within it is largely up to us. We can choose.

This concept is vitally important, since the perspective we bring to daily life largely informs our reactions to it. And spiritual maturity begins when we assume full responsibility for that outlook and seek to bring it into better alignment with our overall principles.

An important first step is to look inward and ascertain our general tendencies, which often function outside our awareness. The following questions can begin this process:
  • What is our customary response when things don't go as we want? Do we reflexively modify our position while trusting that we can meet the challenge, or do we become waylaid by emotions of anger, discouragement, panic, and efforts to avoid the entire situation or force one more to our liking? 
  • Do we feel deeply connected to something larger than ourselves, or fear we're dangling alone within a vast and disinterested universe? 
  • Do we search for the lesson in everything, or imagine ourselves subjected to random events in a life without meaning or purpose? 
Once our usual posture is clarified through questions such as these, we can pursue steps to alter it to one more in keeping with the life we'd like to live, the being we'd like to become.

Attitudes, like other living things, can be cultivated. In our gardens, we plant a seed and provide a nourishing environment. The new plant grows and, ultimately, bears fruit.

The same process occurs with the tender sprouts in the garden of our soul. We begin with the seed of our intention. 

If, for example, you'd like to increase your trust that guidance is available in every moment, you've found your seed. Plant it.

Now consciously tend this growth in receptive awareness through specific periods of meditation, prayer, or journaling. Pause for small moments throughout your day to actively listen, particularly when difficulties arise. Converse with others who strive to embody this quality, or read from their written works.

And when intuition speaks, when you get even the slightest nudge in a viable direction, heed it. Nurture that still small voice by honoring it.

When you forget or find yourself doubting this new approach~~which you will, since gardening is not always easy~~simply shore up your resolve. Reaffirm your intention and carry on.

The roots of well~tended spiritual growth will grow deeper. Our seedlings will strengthen and branch out in unexpected ways as they rise toward the sun. Blossoms will appear. And from those flowers will flow a nectar that will sustain us through times good and ill.

Insects are an essential element in every garden. But we don't need to eat them.

Grasshoppers or sweet nectar. The choice is ours. After all, it's our garden.

Blessings, this week and always,

Loanne Marie

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Leia Marie