Stepping into Possibility.

Stepping into Possibility.

Text from Meg Kelley

I sat at the edge of the dock and watched the lake’s waves gently crest and fall, undulating in sun-tinted hills and valleys that stretched as far as my eyes could see. The flow seemed in unison, geese flocking all in the same direction as the tide came in, storm clouds in the far distance drawing near.

As my legs dangled there, warmed by the still-present sun, clouds beginning to cover the sky in a cotton blanket, my toes just grazed the surface. I witnessed the reverberations of this tiny action, small ripples in all directions of where skin met water and water met skin. A smile crawls across my face.

I considered all the times that I focused on the splash. When faced with an approaching deadline or a problem to solve, I’d throw myself into one well-thought-out, perfected direction to make the thing I wanted most happen. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but every time I could guarantee I’d be exhausted.

When faced with a decision to try something new or let go of something old, I never bothered to witness what would happen if I just inched a toe in, allowing a tiny action to take it’s course over and over again. Dipping just a toe in could change everything. I might not be able to swim across the lake in one day. But the physics, the butterfly-effect mechanics of it move forward from just my willingness to show up, be present, and step in.

Being the type-A planner and over-thinker that I am, trying to start something without having fully charted a course usually stops me in my tracks. Shouldn’t I have this totally mapped out? Aren’t I just inviting a ton of mistakes and last-minute choices? Don’t I first need to research everything everyone else has done in a similar situation?

While some choices do require a lot of planning, maybe it doesn’t always have to be that complicated. Maybe the way to do a lot of things is that simple: You start trying to do the thing. You see what happens. Instead of using check-the-box, step-by-step processes, you focus on how you feel. You turn back when it no longer feels like you. You accept that perhaps there isn’t an end. It’s just a continual process of showing up more fully and finding the baseline joy in being yourself, even when it doesn’t feel easy.

It’s one thing to say, “Go on ahead, step your toe in,” but it’s another thing to actually get started in the face of second-guessing and resistance. How do you begin making even the tiniest of progress forward? What if you don’t even know what forward looks like? I don’t have the answers to any of this. But for me, it never hurts to get quiet and ask more questions.

Often, I reflect on these in my journal. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. What am I awake to now that I wasn’t before?

If I listen closely, there are voices I have failed to listen to, there are angles and curves and depths to this water where I can learn more, and places where my heart can break open wider to not just set my own self, but others around me free. I try to think about the one, tiny action-oriented thing I can do to acknowledge and uplift those voices and places. That’s forward motion.

2. How am I holding on too tightly?

Lately, I feel like I am just hanging on to my well-being by the tips of my fingers. But every few days, I hit on that joyous, spacious, floating feeling and wonder how that happens. Mostly, it only happens when I am okay with things not going how I want them to go. Even if I feel like things are out of control, I find comfort in knowing I can paddle my own boat, right here, in this body I have right now, no matter how many waves are crashing into me.

3. How am I focusing on the barriers?

If I pay attention, I can see that I’m actually not an incredibly unlucky person who has bad things happen to her, but a person who focuses on only the supposedly bad things that happen to her. This isn’t about self-blame, but rather, reframing the regret of past events or the anxiety about the future as the blocks I’ve created in my flow. These are barriers in the water that I am choosing to narrowly focus on, instead of noticing that water moves around and through things every day. I may wobble, shift, and change, but as I slowly come out from the other side, I’ll be more resilient, centered, and transformed.

Overall, these questions help me explore the fear of stepping into the unknown, and instead of looking solely at the risks of what could go wrong, to focus also on the opportunities that the unknown presents. Keep in mind: You can always pivot, turn back, or flat out quit. You aren’t trying to end up somewhere exactly, you’re taking one step into the water of possibility, with your curiosity as your compass.

If asking these questions makes this notion sound simple, perfect, or complete, as if it will feel effortless—it won’t. It is akin to a tidal force—we have to continually sink back into our own knowledge in order to reach forward. There’s no shortcut here around yourself, which is perhaps the most difficult challenge to confront of all.

But I know this: If you never step into the water, you’ll never know where the ripples take you. Maybe, even if darkness approaches, I can dip my toe into this water, and maybe, the effect of my ripples are somewhere out there, as you read this, navigating to you. It seems like a good possibility, and one worth smiling about.

. . .

The changing of the seasons.

The changing of the seasons.

Like the changing seasons, life is cyclical and looking back at our life we can see our own symbolic springs, summers, autumns, and winters.

In this modern world, it is easy for many of us to feel loosely bonded to the world’s cycles. As many of our duties tend to stay the same through both heat and cold, the equinoxes and solstices may carry little weight. Yet the seasons do shift, daylight waxes and wanes, and, sometimes extravagantly and often subtly, nature changes her face.

Many ancient cultures devised artful explanations for the never-ending transition from spring to summer to autumn to winter. The Navajo Indians believed the seasons were caused by Estsanatlehi, the wife of the Sun God. They believe that Estsanatlehi renews herself each spring, blossoms in the summer, ages through the autumn, and dies in the winter.

The four seasons are often associated with a joyous, eternal cycle of life.

We can look to the cycle of the changing seasons to create meaning within our own lives.

In each season, there is a prevalent mood that can inspire poignant reflection. Autumn ushers in crisp, chilly mornings and evenings. There is a shortening of days and a lengthening of shadows. Winter creates a bare landscape bathed in bright, pure light. Spring is a time of regrowth and new possibilities. While summer is a time of long days during which the rich fullness of those possibilities can fully blossom.

Like the changing seasons, life is cyclical. Look back over the years, and you can see your own symbolic springs, summers, autumns, and winters.

Each new season brings with it familiar joys that can be pleasurable to reacquaint yourself with. Embrace the feelings that each new season awakens within you. Above all, savor the changes, knowing that each season that passes will come again.

Always remember that each season can connect you closer to the earth’s cycles while bringing something special into your life.

Excerpts from text by Madisyn Taylor
Experiences we don't understand.

Experiences we don't understand.

All of the events in our lives lead to other events, they are all connected.

Sometimes we have an experience that we don’t understand, but if we look deeply, or wait long enough, a reason for that experience will usually reveal itself. All the events in our lives lead to other events, and all that we have manifested in this present moment is the result of past events and experiences. We cannot easily tease apart the many threads that have been woven together to create our current reality. Experiences that don’t make sense, as well as any that we regret, are just as responsible for the good things in our lives as the experiences we do understand or label as “good.”

This is especially important to remember at times when we feel directionless or unsure of what to do. It is often at times like these that we take a job or move to a place without really knowing if it’s the right thing to do. We may ultimately end up leaving the job or the place, but often during that time we will have met someone who becomes an important friend, or we may have an experience that changes us in a profound way. When all the pieces of our life don’t quite make sense, we can remember that there may be some hidden gem of a reason that we are where we are having the experiences we are having.

It’s fun to look back on past experiences with an eye to uncovering those gems–the dreadful temporary job in a bland office building that introduced you to the love of your life; the roommate you couldn’t tolerate who gave you a book that changed your life; the time spent living in a city you didn’t like that led you into a deeper relationship with yourself. Remembering these past experiences can restore our faith in the present.

Life is full of buried treasures.
Chances are, you’re sitting on some right now.

by Madisyn Taylor.