Sometimes (well ok- most of the time) I wish I could just go around life’s hard patches.  Alas, I find again and again these phases are not only inevitable, but vital if I am to come out the other side any wiser.

Many times I go through adversity only to vow that the next time I will avoid the obstacle when it presents itself.  “That was way too hard,” I think.

“I never want to do it again.”

“I shouldn’t have to- that was enough.”

“Isn’t there some reward for all that effort?!”

Like a raging headache that takes up residence in the back of the scull, I hope the time passed in discomfort will never come again.

Difficult times like these become high water marks in my lives.  The measure with which I assess all things to come.

Life’s adversities can be our greatest teachers.  It’s a class of one; there is no professor and no final exam, only continued existence (if we are lucky.)

When I can be aware of myself through my pain I gain a perspective I can’t feel any other way.

Our society makes it hard not to compare myself to other people, blogs, Facebook status and the “achievements of the noteworthy.”

I often wonder how authentic any of it is.  The plagiaristic culture of Pinterest, the edited nature of almost every popular image and selective reporting of events online.  In this ever-changing always “sharing” world where can I find an innate source of direction?

My whole life there are three symbols that have recurred.  Either organically from my surroundings or manifested by my own hand- the eye,

My tarot deck.
My tarot deck.

the mountain,

EPIC!
EPIC Shasta.

and the tree;

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have always been with me.

Their meanings have changed many times.  Even as I type; they are weaving new shapes I have never seen before.

Born in the mountains- where everything is uphill at least one way; I learned the view from the top is worth the climb but the feel at the top is something else all together.  The hours I have spent alone at the summit have been the foundation that has allowed me a place to grow the tree.

The tree reminds me that great things take time.  There is no short cut to growth.   You must be as tall as a fern for a time if you aspire to reach the majesty of the redwoods.  Forcing growth twists the results and makes them weak and hollow.  There is nothing for it but time.

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The open eye allows me to witness the universe as it is, as long as I don’t contrive to ignore the harsh bits.  Or turn blindly away from the inherent consequences of my actions and the weight of my responsibilities.

The effort, so often painful and unpleasant is necessary to see clearly.  I cannot assume I am right.  I MUST question everything around me staring with myself and my perceptions.

What did I bring to the exchange?  Was I acting or reacting?  Can I do better?

Above all- I think the feeling of these symbols symotainiously lifts me, grounds me and reviles me.  It is important that the eye not be my own but the lens of objectivity I lack when acting out of arrogance or selfishness.

With the constant awareness that I can always do better and in the absence of self judgement for falling short; I can be free.

To grow, to see and to be the work in progress that I am.  That we all are.

I must remember that I am on my own way up the mountain.  Even though others choose to walk with me; our foot falls are individual.  There is always a way around the summit is singular, one truth and one love that encompasses all things.

Even from the tippy top I will not see the view if I insist on looking at my shoes.

Head up, eyes open, ready for the next climb.  The future is a promise made to no one and the quality of the progress you make is up to you.

A simple life is all I desire.  My little family the only priority I have.

I will not waste one more moment of time feeling like it is not enough.  I have been accomplished in so many ways.  I know if I wanted I could concur anything but I will not compromise the balance of a honest simple life, with the over-complications of the ego.

I have no desire for fame and excitement.  Even though I have had the opportunity.

All I want is the peace of the the eye, the mountain and the tree.  Their straightforward rewards are more than enough to me.  My only hope- more time with my loved ones to walk and see.

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