Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Child of Crossing Places


"A Child of Crossing Places." I simply love this phrase! It touches me in such a beautiful and moving way.

I first heard this phrase when reading "The Seeing Stone," by Kevin Crossley-Holland. It's a young-adult book, and it's about a young boy named Arthur who is given a magical seeing stone. In the book, “crossing places” refers to places where one aspect of life meets another, such as the shorelines, sunsets or sunrises, butterfly cocoons, seasons, and others.

Crossing places are mysterious, full of potential, unpredictable and transformative.

Our inner conflicts are like these crossing places: two seemingly different and conflicting forces of interests. Unlike nature, however, we often feel uncomfortable with our “crossing places,” wishing that they were not there.

We can learn from nature’s ample examples to help us resolve our inner conflicts gracefully. Instead of having to choose sides or somehow force both sides of our inner battles to work together, we can be graceful with both sides of the conflicts. We can take the time to discover and understand what the needs and desires are connected to each side of the conflict. We can communicate what we want to create to these conflicting parts of us, like having an inner meeting. Lastly, we can trust that an inspiring wisdom, coming from a deeper need for inner peace and well-being, will come forth to guide us on how to transform the inner battlefield into a beautiful glade.

Inner conflicts are spiritual training grounds for us to learn to create new, beautiful and healthy ways of beings to meet our various needs and dreams. They are opportunities for us to bring into harmony what was separated and conflicted within ourselves, to expand spiritually, and to practice creating and experiencing more joy in our lives.

One lovely afternoon several weeks ago, I was walking through the gorgeous nature we have in abundance here in the East Bay. I was lost in reverie, watching the leaves glistening in the sun and listening to the wind's song. I was enjoying the feeling of being one with what I see, and being at peace. Then, out of the blue, a sense of uneasiness crept in. I was also aware of feeling really safe being in the area, I knew this fear was not warning me of an imminent physical threat. I was curious, and I asked the fear what it wanted for me. It said that it wanted to make sure I don’t lose myself in this nature world, and to remember I had another world to go back and attend to -- i.e. home, family, work, friends, etc. Hearing that anxious voice inside me, I was filled with compassion for this part of me. It was so afraid that if I were to enjoy one world, I would give up another. It didn't know (or perhaps, didn't believe) that I could have one foot in heavens and another one on earth. It was just doing its job to make sure I stayed in integrity with my commitments.

A wise teacher once told me that often our problems happen because we think in terms of "either/or" instead of "both/and." We have trained ourselves to make sacrifices that we do not really want to make for the sake of "peace" and "harmony.” In the process, we tend to lose ourselves.

So, wanting to allow space for all experiences, I comforted the part of me that felt afraid. I spoke to myself gently that I was not giving up this world while I visited another. I told myself that I could experience BOTH. “Really?" This part of me sounded unsure. I reaffirmed that I wanted very much to give myself permission to be at peace holding both worlds at the same time. To my surprise, I felt a sense of deep comfort. It was as if my decision to allow myself to feel at peace about my different worlds transformed the fear into peace itself.

I stood there, feeling both bewildered and relieved having this FULL permission to be in one world, without worrying about forgetting the other.

That's when the phrase "A child of crossing-places" came gently back into my consciousness. With a smile inside my heart, I understood while we make our life choices exploring the gamut of human experiences, we are also given the space to transform the seemingly conflicted interests and forces within ourselves.

Like molding sand on the shore into sandcastles, being a child of crossing places simply means that it is natural for us to have these inner conflicts to "play" with, because we have the innate capacity and wisdom within us to transform the powerful potential energy inherent in our inner conflicts into new, beautiful and healthy ways of being, seeing, thinking, feeling, having, and doing in our lives.

What would you like to transform your inner conflicts into?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Encouraging Thoughts

"Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings." ~ Rumi

"You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps. Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping. Even those who limp go not backward. But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness." ~ Kahlil Gibran

"Change is created by those whose imaginations are bigger than their circumstances." ~ Unknown source