Last weekend in my village, we hosted a Holiday Market. It was wonderful to see all of the local craftspeople selling their wares and sharing their talents with the world.
As I paused at a display of photographs, I heard a voice behind me say “what do you think that is?” I turned to look at who spoke and connected with a set of smiling eyes, that of the photographer. I turned back to look at the beautiful images and said, “I really don’t know.” He said, “they’re snake bones.”
Imagine that! Snake bones! The last thing I think about when I see a snake is the fact that it actually has bones! It slithers so smoothly, it’s as if it has no bones at all.
The photographer, Lawrence Petersen, had assembled the snake bones into a mandala and photographed it: Click here to check out his beautiful photography and mandala work.
Lawrence shared a story with me about how he had gotten a new lens for his camera and headed out into nature to practice with it. Though his specialty is trees and rocks, he caught a glimpse of some eagles flying nearby and decided to practice with his new lens.
It wasn’t a smooth practice. He tweaked and tried and finally got one shot that he thought was passable. He felt very frustrated that he couldn’t get it to work like he wanted.
Once he changed back to his old lens, he sat back and looked at the forest. Once he really SAW where he was, his whole body relaxed and the trees started shining. Lawrence said it was if they were saying, “See! Here we were, the whole time!” He had simply gotten caught up in forcing the right picture with the eagles that he missed seeing what was right there all along.
The way he works, now, is to simply head out into nature and allow it to show him what to photograph.
What might you be forcing so much in your life or business that you’re missing what’s right there in front of you?
I also saw this post by Parker J. Palmer last week on Facebook that had a similar theme:
“A few years ago, I got lost while hiking alone on a mountain trail in New Mexico. It was getting dark and I needed to make it back to my cabin ASAP. So I did the dumbest thing possible—I panicked and began to run, becoming more panicked with every step!
In mid-run, the message in this poem somehow came back to me. I stopped, stood still, and listened—listened to something with no name that was both in me and around me.
After five minutes or so, my fear subsided and that “something” told me what I needed to do. I turned around and walked slowly back up the mountain, eyes open as I climbed. That’s how I found the trail that took me home—the trail I’d missed in my frantic downhill run.
I thought of that experience when I woke up this morning feeling a bit lost in the wilds of my own life—lost because, for the moment, I’m without a strong sense of purpose. My temptation is to run madly toward something, anything, that feels like it might fill that void.
But that’s the way to become even more lost! So I need remember what happened on that mountain trail. I didn’t keep running trying to find what I’d lost. I stopped until it found me.
Right now, my job is to wait out this feeling of being lost, to open myself to life and trust that it will find me—if I keep my eyes and ears open and am willing to follow the clues.
As David Wagoner says in this marvelous poem, “Stand still. The forest knows / Where you are. You must let it find you.”
Be still… and allow…
It’s the “not knowing” that ignites our creative mind.
See if you can simply be with it.
Your prior inspired action is already drawing aligned opportunities to you.
See if you can allow them to arrive.
PS – It would be my honor to accompany you as you step into 2019. My December Specials are available until December 31st, click here to get my support.
Christine Clifton is the author of “You don’t have to shout to Stand Out” and teaches soul-powered entrepreneurs how to keep their inner fire burning so they don’t burn out. By building a fun, co-creative relationship with their business, they better align their practical DOING with their natural BEING and gain focus and energy. They have fun with their work again, feel better than they have in a long time, and see more of the right leads and opportunities come their way….. and they Thrive!