Regarding a rock and a hard place and blooming where you are planted

I once bought a bag of wildflower seed from the garden department of a big box store. Taking them home to my mountain cabin, I paused to read the directions while ripping open the bag:  Prepare seeds by soaking overnight.  Prepare soil by loosening with a rake.  Make a small trench about 1/4 inch deep.  Distribute seeds evenly the length of the trench.  Gently press down soil over the seeds.

You’re kidding me, right?  These are wildflower seeds. That is an acre of land.

Pinyon pine growing out of the rock, February 2012

I have always been a little suspicious of theories that say you absolutely cannot move on to the next level until you have fulfilled all the criteria of the place you find yourself. Take Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, for example.  I have observed that some people get stuck in one level, they say things like, “I can’t possibly move forward  until all my needs are met.”  Yet, there have been leaders and achievers throughout history who, finding themselves deprived of some basic needs were still able to move forward and succeed. I admit, water and air are non negotiable, but there seems to have been some flexibility concerning the need for food, sleep, and security. These were savvy souls who knew, not just how to bloom where they were planted, but how to thrive no matter the circumstances.

Once again, I find myself between a rock and a hard place.  Moving forward is required.  Yet, the expectation of fulfillment of my needs must be pared down.  Earlier this year, before the advance of spring, as I went out walking to contemplate my options, I came upon  a wonderful visual affirmation. It struck me so forcefully that I went back home for my camera and made an extra trip just to snap the picture. Sure this is a native desert tree-a pinyon pine.  But please notice, it is growing out of a rock!  There was little to no soil in which to sprout in the first place and rainwater is very infrequent. Yet, the seed took root and continues to thrive.

Cherry Odelberg enjoying an inspirational walk

I have some questions about how I got here in the first place.  I don’t know how I have survived this long on increasingly less.  Money and love and security may be in short supply, but, hey, there is plenty of sunshine.  I intend to thrive between the rock and the hard place. Not being a pinyon pine, I might even bloom where I am planted.

Change happens on the trails of life

What a shock when a familiar path is obliterated; when you arrive at a well known trailhead and someone has covered the tracks – intentionally.  Covered the tracks so well with brush strewn here, rocks stacked there, water thrown like rain on loose soil, that you do not recognize the landmarks for the hike you took less than a week ago.

Consider that this is a well trod route, the walk you have taken at least once a week for several months.  Further, it is the most direct walking route to something you prize.  It is the cutoff to where your family lives.  In a pinch, you could walk the way in the moonlight, so well do you know it.

Now, everything has changed. It’s not that you didn’t know change was coming. Your curiosity and adventurous spirit led you to explore bits and pieces of the new trail as you saw the preliminary flags.  You walked the line, never sure you were really entitled to be there, always looking over your shoulder for some angry landowner that had staked claim. But those first indicators were months ago.  The flags went away. Besides, you were never able to see the way clear to where the new trail and the old were to intersect; how to get from here to there.

Not so today.  Today you were jolted from reverie by the realization that you were walking on newly blazed trail. So mind jarring was the realization as you plodded in the freshly disturbed soil, you retraced your steps just to see where you left the old familiar path.  It was hard to find.  That was when you accepted that you were meant to walk the new path.  The old way had been intentionally covered over; covered over by someone in charge.  You were not to go the old way any longer.

It’s time now, to take a little different path to your family, perhaps even to your destiny.

Forgiving the meddlers

I know that to forgive does not always mean to forget.  It is not wise to forget the lesson learned through pain or crisis. 

I also know that forgiveness is essential to my personal health; mentally, emotionally, spiritually – even physically. 

I have traveled the lonely miles of grief over relationships lost; pursued the stages; learned to be angry – very angry- and not sin; learned to accept, admit, own – in short, stop blaming and forgive the most significant other involved in the pain and failure. I have tried to understand the other person and in understanding, I have even begun to be grateful for the lessons learned and grateful even to the person who hurt me most; simply through not being the person I needed him to be.

I think it impossible that a man or woman could spend decades in close relationship with another and not have residual affection, memories and understanding that aids in final forgiveness or reconciliation.

But there are others now, whom I must forgive. They are those who put their oar in, interfered, meddled, took sides and spread falsehood in their ignorance. There are those who thought God had given them the insight that what was best for them was best for me.  They scolded me as to what I ought to do.  Having a word from God, they thought it incumbent to force it on me.

Paid professional counselors, when they make recommendations; or on the rare occasion where they give advice; make it clear that there are no guarantees.  The recommendation when acted upon may or may not have the desired outcome. They do not shame or heap blame; they simply make clear the choices.

Novice busybodies on the other hand, advise from their limited information and bias with little regard for the spirit of the one they are accusing and great regard for their own opinions.  In their determination to fix you and make things line up to their sense of right; they may tell you what you need to do and say. In a pinch, if you are not responding according to their rules; they may even say or do it for you.

It is these overly helpful, zealously opinionated folks I must begin to forgive today.