It was a cold and blustery evening at the beginning of April when I was returning home from the library along the street to my apartment. Suddenly I noticed a single tiny blue daisy amidst a grassy patch strewn with white and yellow ones. Pondering how it got there, my mind went on a meandering journey, linking to younger days when my sister, cousins and I would make and wear daisy chains, feeling very 'grand'. Later, when into teenage years and early adulthood, my horror of horrors was to be different, to stand out, or be noticed and not 'fit in'. Thankfully, that was then and this is now, many years later, and today I am comfortable being who I am - such as being the only person in a group wearing a hat, and with no secret longing to turn back the chronological clock. How about you - what meandering thoughts come to your mind?
Do visible reminders or daily lists work for you? They are essential for me, and on my office notice-board are words on Creativity, attributed to Alan Ashley-Pitt, the pen name of Phillip Wernig. Paraphrasing his words: when we follow the crowd we will usually get no further than the crowd ... we have two choices in life, to dissolve into the mainstream or to be distinct, to be different ... to be what no one else but we can be. I discovered this verse following a decision to relent and be the last one to 'go along with the crowd' despite misgivings. It remains a reminder of an invaluable and never forgotten lesson.
Would you agree that being content with ourselves is a way of loving ourselves as we are? This is not to suggest that we remain static, for life is a journey of continuous learning, overcoming hurdles and often involving new beginnings. A wise friend and minister with whom I did counselling over forty years ago after some challenging business partnership experiences, said I had gone to the bottom and decided not to stay there. She had also asked if I would be willing to shut down all my projects for a time, which I did; later saying that she didn't think I would as she knew I was 'slippery' and might tend to 'slide in' and handle some projects. But, there are times that starting over with a clean slate is the best remedy. Phoenix - or "rising again with flare" would become an annual theme more than once in subsequent years, along with wearing a gold pendant given to me by my late husband, Peter, with symbolic letters (written as Keepsake Medallion, chapter 9 of By the Fireside).
As with many of you, people, books and experiences (or, 'oops roads - seemed a good idea at the time'), continue to be my constant teachers. Many gems are flagged in a book by the late Fred Rogers - Life's Journeys according to Mister Rogers ... Things to Remember Along the Way. On Page 53 he suggests that one of our chief jobs in life is to realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is ... something which no one else has, or ever will have ... something inside us which is unique. More recently, a man who inspired me when he gave a talk at a Hospice function last year on travelling with a walker, is currently in care due to terminal health issues. He made numerous trips despite his health, and recently wrote an article saying he was content, was experiencing acceptance and continued to believe in the importance of fully living within the limits one has. What an invaluable message! Will I travel - perhaps visit Ireland again to sit beside a crackling fire while listening to jaunty music? Maybe, maybe not ... but I did recently update my walker to a more convenient model - purple in colour, a difference that has drawn smiling comments. Let's say, a seed has been planted!
Have you planted seeds that remain dormant? Perhaps a buried dream, something or some place that remains in your heart? Like my blue daisy that dared to be different, wouldn't bringing it to life be a way of loving yourself as you are? I leave you with a reference to a beautiful song by Jai Josefs, I Love Myself the Way I Am. The first verse tells us to love ourselves the way we are; the second is to love another as they are; the third, to love the world the way it is, with the last verse reminding us that outer change can only come from within. How true! Please consider listening to it on Google or YouTube.
Until next time, as always, I thank you for joining me and for your comments when something was meaningful to you. I wish you many blessings and a happy springtime. Namasté.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada