For many years I disliked peonies; they are always covered with ants. As a child any insect was a bite waiting to happen, just looking at the unopened blossoms made my skin crawl. Why did these gross bugs have to ruin such beautiful flowers?! I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy them.
Some years later I learned that the ants and the flowers have a symbiotic relationship. The peony blossoms grow in a protective waxy shell, which they can’t break free of on their own, but this waxy nectar is exactly what the ants want to eat, at exactly the time the flowers are ready to open. Without the flowers, the ants would lack nourishment; without the ants the peonies would never flower.
They help each other, they need each other; this was a new story.
Now, I’m not opening an ant farm in my living room, but I am appreciating each open blossom and the relationship behind it. The story you tell yourself in any situation matters. These thoughts drive the way you interact with the world and have the power to shape your life for better or worse. Every interaction is an opportunity to practice the kind of thinking you want to cultivate in your life. Do you nurture love or fear?
If you pause to look for deeper understanding and find love everywhere you can, these things will continue to blossom for you, even in unexpected places.
Sometimes change, no matter how much you want it, can feel too big, too difficult, too overwhelming. Our lives are full of work, relationships and obligations that make it seem like there is never a good time to begin all the goals you’ve set (meditate more, eat healthier, make time for self care…). Setting aside an hour to exercise and meditate every evening just may not be practical in this moment of your life, but there are many opportunities to integrate mindfulness into your existing routine. You don't have to do everything to do something. Give yourself permission to start with just one thing, and watch the momentum start to build.
This blog by Rick Hanson has tons of bite sized pieces to begin the habit of deepening your awareness and practice of intentional living.
Take a breath, just begin, just one thing.
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