Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Bamboo, Bonsai and Lotus Flowers

January 10, 2017

There are so many lessons to be learned from nature yet some of us zoom through life and take many things for granted. I am in awe of things that grow up from the ground. Sadly, I do not have a green thumb. I love plants and would be thrilled if they didn’t cower in fear when I pass by. I am doing better, though…at least the local nursery has taken down the “warning!” posters with my face on them.

I have discovered something about myself and that is that apparently I lack the patience necessary to be a successful gardener. I have been working on that because the growth and flourishment of flowers, trees and plants is a metaphor for life. I’m learning that many of my frustrations and questions about my own life can be better understood by taking note of how things grow in nature. They don’t care about other plants’ time schedules; they don’t take shortcuts nor do they worry about what other plants think of them. Their goal seems to be to put forth the beauty and wonder for which they were created.

Most of us have heard these things, yet in our “busyness” we need to be reminded. So as a refresher course in finding peace and calmness, consider these three natural “teachers.”

Bamboo: Talk about patience! After being planted, bamboo may not grow or even show itself for years and then one day, it will shoot up at an astronomical rate of speed. I have been told that certain species of bamboo can grow three feet in twenty-four hours! I have a silly mental picture of a bamboo farmer peering down at the ground wondering where the plant is and having it shoot up and hit him on the nose. Of course that wouldn’t really happen. Bamboo is incredibly flexible because it has a strong root system which allows it to sway and bend without breaking. I can draw a parallel to my life when I have worked hard to build something…perhaps a relationship or a business, and I’ve become frustrated when things didn’t move as quickly as I wanted. I have had to depend on the groundwork…the support system I have nurtured and remain flexible and confident as I wait for the results.

Bonsai: If you ever watched the movie The Karate Kid, you’ll remember how the Bonsai master told his student to see, in his mind’s eye, how the tree should look. If he couldn’t visualize it, there needed to be some clutter removed from his thoughts. In a sense, he needed to prune the tree in his mind before he ever started touching it. He certainly didn’t want to start chopping and trimming without a vision. That is how we need to move forward in our plans for life. We often cannot see where we need to go or what we ought to do through all of the doubts, fears, regrets and other negative thoughts that take up residence in our heads. Sometimes we need to prune away the useless branches in order to shape and define our goals and clear the path to reach them.

Lotus Flowers: It is strange to think that such beautiful blossoms could thrive and grow in dirt and mud. They are beautiful reminders that at times, we all find ourselves feeling as if we are sinking into murky mire. During those times, it helps to remember that we will eventually rise from the muck and once again grow and thrive in the sunlight. Sometimes, the mud is necessary for us to center our thoughts, put things into proper perspective and find balance.

This year, I am promising myself to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak. I don’t want to go through life and leave it never having paid attention and embraced the lessons that nature offers us. I hope you will take a walk in a garden, forest or meadow as well and see what you learn!


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Walking Through Fear Storms

November 16, 2015

It has been said that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”

In today’s world, fearsome things are swirling all around us; things that we never could have imagined. Terror is in every headline and fear is at epidemic proportions. Some of the anchors on which we relied have disappeared and we are living in a polluted “atmosfear.”

People can be afraid of any number of things…the dark, being alone, snakes, spiders, heights, water, flying, politicians, giant meatballs, etc. Personally, I am afraid of trying on bathing suits. Some are afraid of dying, but worse…many are afraid of living, because of the risks. Some of our fears are unfounded and we need to separate those from the real threats. Sadly, the events of the past few days are looming large over our sense of security and peace.

Fear is a paralyzing vampire that chokes and sucks the joy right out of our souls! We are mostly afraid of things that we cannot control. So when the world seems to be topsy turvy, how do we move through the fear storms?   Referring to the above quote, courage is the judgement that something else is more important than fear. So how do we connect with this courage?

Here are some steps I have found to be helpful when I feel that I am succumbing to “interfearance.”

  1. We do not have to be a reflection of the negativity that is occurring. What is happening on the outside doesn’t have to be what is happening on the inside. When we see the horror unfolding and we can’t change it, what we CAN change is the way we are letting it affect us. Easier said than done, of course…but it is possible. When we allow fear to consume us and live as if we are doomed, of course we will find little peace.
  2. We should let our hope be greater than our fear. When we lose hope, we lose ground in our battle against fear. I like to think of hope as Holding Onto Positive Expectations. Hope is much more powerful than we give it credit for being. If we want to live in a world that is richer in love and joy, we must not feed our fear but we should nourish our hope!
  3. Don’t desert laughter and joy! Some may think that it is disrespectful, frivolous or useless to practice laughter in times of great challenge. Ding Dong…that is wrong! Appropriate laughter is always healthy and participating in it certainly doesn’t disrespect a terrible situation; indeed, it is just the opposite. Allowing ourselves to be robbed of joy is much more disrespectful than taking a stand against fear. Nothing is gained by falling into a pit of despair, and evil thrives on hopelessness. We should surround ourselves with positive people and support one another in our search for hope and joy. We should not let terror shut down our dreams, but rather live the words of Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”


“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” —Edmund Burke

Linda Henley-Smith is an author, speaker and trainer. Check out her website at