“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl ~
A couple of days ago, I was sent this quote from a life coach I've been working with and it really got me thinking! So while I was pondering this quote, I took a side trip to the photos in my photo album and came across this photo of a dandelion. Right away when seeing this photo, it hit me! That's kind of how my brain works. Two or more seemingly unrelated stimulus can all of a sudden converge and I can barely contain my ideas so they spill out in writing and the idea develops through that process. Here's what I came up with that connected the quote above to the photo of me holding a dandelion.
The dandelion I'm holding in this photo reminds me of space I created for myself by attending a women's retreat held in Northern Arizona last fall. This retreat was hosted by Diana Gogan who is a Spiritual Life Coach/Way Finder at Fire Horse Ranch. I've worked with Diana over the last couple of years and have known of her much longer than that. My work with Diana has helped bring me back to nature and reignited my passion and love of nature.
As I held this dandelion outside my cabin at the retreat, no one else was around because we were on a break to have some private time. My head was clear from having just done some quiet personal meditation. I was completely present in that moment. In that present state, I reached down and picked this dandelion. I had the stimulus of picking this dandelion and thought about how long it had been since I had seen one. They don't grow in my neck of woods down in South Eastern Arizona. I marveled at it's delicate nature and strong yet pliable stem. I imagined what it had looked like before it went all white and whispy. I remembered that as a kid growing up in Mammoth, Wyoming, dandelions were yellow. We used to rub them under our chins and if the yellow color stuck to your chin it meant you liked butter. With this image, the smell of a young dandelion came back to me so I sniffed my dandelion and that earthy smell was only tenderly there.
I used to have this space as a child where I could be curious about the world around me and I could investigate things. Really explore them. Somewhere along the way, this was lost in a deep void of chasing perfectionism. Yet, here in this special retreat space, so many years late, I was finding my way back to that searching inquisitiveness. Should I respond to my searching by blowing on the dandelion to force the release of all those seeds or should I hold onto it and share my find with the other women. We did have an assignment to collect things from nature to share. Maybe that would be best for now. So, a little reluctantly, I decided to hold onto it and show it to others. When it was my turn to share, I was glad I held onto my seeding flower. Just holding it up for all to see created a flood of memories not just for me, but the other women too as we recalled these special flowers from our childhoods.
With those memories I recalled loving to blow on these and how I would giggle as I chased those seeds as they danced on the wind. In that safe retreat circle, I felt that beautiful giddy feeling of joy I had so long repressed due to so much hurt in my heart. I had closed myself away from joy and had even become afraid to allow it in my life because..well...the other shoe was bound to drop. And when it did, I'd be caught off guard and sorry for some reason, because I was experiencing joy instead of being vigilant. I can remember how tight and tense my body always was when I had so little joy - how much I worked to make everything perfect and right.
This one little dandelion picked in the sunshine by me in a mindful moment, brought joy whirling back into my heart and I dared to let myself feel it as I blew the seeds into the sky and danced a little as I watched them float away. Just like those seeds would plant themselves into the earth to allow more dandelions to grow, I had a moment of growth and that one moment opened me up to more moments. I'm pleased to share that I am less afraid to be joyful now in my current moments. In this growth I am finding a new freedom and the word in my mind is, "Limitless..."