Choices. Every day I make them. Every day I choose which direction to step. Forward. Back. It's my choice.
Yesterday I chose to set up a "Google Alert" on my book title, "Dandelion Spirit". I had no idea how many times the word 'dandelion' appears every day.
Dandelions. They're ubiquitous. Determined. Tenacious. Dandelions grow in spite of every attempt we make to eradicate them. Dandelions are fearless.
When I was in my teens I was chosen by my school in Germany to go to a week long training to become a 'student mentor'. I was chosen to go to this course because, everyone knew I didn't do drugs. Everyone knew I didn't drink to excess and party all night long. I was an honours student. Class president. School vice-president. Editor of the newspaper and the yearbook. I didn't have time for drugs, plus, I was terrified of losing control of my mind. Terrified that if I tried marijuana or LSD, I'd never be the same. I wasn't exactly sure who I was, but I knew I'd never find my true self from beneath the haze of a drug-induced state.
The course was run by the American schools in Europe. About 30 teachers and students from both the Canadian and American forces schools gathered to learn more about themselves and about how they interacted with others in order to find ways to help other students deal with their issues, particularly around drugs. The session was held at a monastery near Cologne. The large facility was situated along the Rhine, amidst acres of trees and grasses. It was hundreds of years old, its massive stone enclosure having withstood time and armies and man's incursions.
There's lots I've forgotten about that week, and some things I have never let go of. I remember walking from my dormitory to the main hall in the morning. Mist rose from the river, the quiet, still air was sweet with honeysuckle and roses. From the chapel the voices of monks chanting rose into the air, enveloping me in a gentle musical cloak of serenity and peace. It was my first encounter with Gregorian chant, and one I still cherish today.
In one of the sessions we were each asked to describe ourselves and then everyone in the group told you what they chose for you -- If you were a car, what car would you be? If you were an animal, what animal would you be? If you were a flower, what flower would you be?
I chose the daisy for my flower. I love their sunny little faces. Their free spirited wildflower dance beneath the sun.
Everyone in the group chose a red rose for me. I loved the idea of being elegant like a rose, velvety, mysterious, sensual. I didn't like the idea of the prickles. I wanted to be approachable. Huggable. Touchable. Irealized it was up to me to make choices that ensured I became who I am, not who others thought I should be.
Some of my choices have not appeared to be wise. In fact, some of them were downright ridiculous! But, they were my choices. Mine to live with. Mine to deal with. Mine to face the consequences. In dealing with my choices I have grown. Sometimes, I've fallen down. Sometimes, I've learned to fly. The choice has been mine.
In life, we are constantly presented choices that would lure us into different directions, entice us into changing course, seduce us into changing colours. The option is ours whether we make choices that support us on our journey, keep us focused on our path or draw us into someone else's course.
For me, I was often a passive observer in my own life, making choices that drew me from my course. Often, because I did not have a clear direction, the choices I didn't make had more impact than the one's I did make. As a passive observer, I let myself be swayed from standing true to me, myself and I. I let myself go and rather than hold onto my values, beliefs, principles, I let my hungry heart and aching arms lead me into the belief that someone else could ease the ache. Someone else could make me happy. As I leaned into someone else's story, I chose to let go of myself and lost my way.
In my life, I have often chosen a course not because it took me towards my goals and dreams, but rather because it took me towards a man. In my choices to find my happiness in someone else, I let go of my truth -- no one else can fill my hungry heart's yearnings for love. Only I can complete me.
When I was a teenager I chose never to do drugs. Fear motivated me. Courage drew me forward, kept me on my path of sobriety.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to be like the daisy. Sunny. Happy. Spirited.
As an adult, I choose the ubiquitous dandelion. Tenacious. Determined. Deep rooted. Enduring. The dandelion doesn't care what others think. It doesn't care what people do to root it out. It keeps on blooming. It keeps on growing and thriving in spite of all our efforts to kill it. The dandelion knows who it is. It knows its strengths. It knows its purpose. The dandelion stays true to its roots, bedded deep beneath the soil. The dandelion doesn't compromise on itself.
Today, I know who I am. I know what I want in my life. No longer a passive observer, I choose to actively engage in my life. To eagerly leap into each moment, looking for landmines to step on so that I can explode misconceived notions about who I am supposed to be as I become all that I am meant to be.
Determined. Tenacious. Vibrant and free.
May your day be filled with the dandelion spirit encouraging you to choose fearlessly what you need to do to create the best day of your life today.