“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” – William S. Burroughs
The quote above is so completely true that it shouldn’t even be called a quote – it should be called poetic truth or a pretty fact. Every answer we seek is right there within reach. Well within reach, in fact! The answers to our questions are inside us, waiting to be uncovered.
The problem is, we get so busy Googling, asking other people for their opinion, and running around like drunk squirrels that we fail to hear the quiet voice inside. If only our inner voice had a megaphone, maybe we’d hear it FIRST instead of LAST sometimes.
The next time you find yourself wondering about “this” or in a bind over “that,” here are three steps that can help you find your way:
- Take a deep breath.
- Listen to you gut.
If you still have trouble hearing or uncovering the answer, here’s a trick I’ve relied on nearly as long as I’ve relied on coffee: Imagine that someone you love has the problem you have. Imagine that they’ve come to you…. and that they’re as confused or perplexed as you are now. What would your advice to THEM be?
From where I sit, this advice would be your absolute best because that’s what we always give to those we love. You’ll be amazed at how obvious (and golden) the advice often is.
“If you think that I’m nuts, you may be right. But I’m a nut with a positive attitude, baby!” – Jeffrey Gitomer, Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude: How to Find, Build and Keep a YES! Attitude for a Lifetime of SUCCESS (Great, great book!)
“Man’s highest merit always is, as much as possible, to rule external circumstances, and as little as possible to let himself be ruled by them.” – Goethe
Inspiration can come from peculiar places, can’t it? This morning, when I was supposed to be working valiantly on my websites, I found myself staring out the window (for better or worse, one is right beside my computer desk). There are about 3 inches of snow on the ground and the winter trees are outlined in white. One of our bird feeding stations is in direct view from my window (brilliantly planned so by my husband). The doves, blue jays, sparrows, and cardinals are especially beautiful against the white background.
I can’t seem to take my eyes off of them!
One of our feeders is a three story wooden feeder that looks like a mini townhouse. Generally it’s for smaller songbirds, but winter makes gluttons out of larger birds – so the fight is on as they jockey for position. Beneath this wooden feeder – nearly on the ground – there’s a little platform feeder. Today it’s empty (thanks, again, to the gluttony) but it’s usually filled with seed, corn, fruit, etc.
Earlier, doves and cardinals practically covered the yard. I’d thrown out large chunks of dried bread and cracked corn earlier. My husband says doing so gives the smaller songbirds a chance to hog the feeders while the larger birds are preoccupied with the buffet. It was very effective – until they devoured everything in sight. Then the doves, blackbirds, and cardinals eyed the wooden feeder.
One sparrow caught my attention as he watched the colorful gluttons from a nearby perch. I was about a minute away from throwing on my boots and taking more bread and corn out when he swooped down to the feeding platform beneath the overly-crowded feeder. He began eating the seeds that were being dropped (inadvertently, of course) by the larger breakfast crowd!
They were doing the hard work – jockeying for position on the perches, pecking out seed, shooting one another sideways glances… The little opportunist simply benefited from their labor.
So, when the brilliant Goethe said, “Man’s highest merit always is, as much as possible, to rule external circumstances, and as little as possible to let himself be ruled by them,” he no doubt meant the same for sparrows. It would have been pretty easy for the sparrow to fly off in a snit. He certainly had every right to feel sorry for himself and to no one would have blamed him if he shook a bitter wing in the face of justice and fairness.
I guess he figured it just made more sense to take control of the situation rather than let it take control of him.
So there you have it. An inspirational lesson served up on a snow-covered platform, by a bird no larger than your fist.