Little Steps, Part 1 – Begin the Journey
Part 1 of 7 Part Series
~When April whispers to us, “Move on!”~
Discover the Past
Recover the Present
Revise the Future
Bright spring flowers flourish all around us by mid April. I bought a little pot of yellow tulips recently when I was shopping. They brightened up our dining room table and made me feel happy every time I glanced at them. I am not a gardener so I enjoy buying potted plants and floral bouquets throughout the year with the changing seasons. Each season brings a new array of colors. April’s flowers sparkle with brilliance in dazzling yellow daffodils, tulips in a range from vivid red and coral, to soft pink and white. By the end of April, Pennsylvania’s grassy meadows will be covered with blankets of brilliant purple-blue violets.
Our walk home from grade school took a bit longer when I was a little girl. Our rural home was nearly a mile from the school and unless the snow was too deep, or a storm was brewing, we walked along a meandering path morning and afternoon. By mid-April we found the delightful blooming violets in the fields. The small, fragrant blooms beckoned my sister and me to come closer!
We forgot that we were supposed to walk directly home after school on those long-ago spring days as we stooped down low, extended our eager hands, and began picking violets to take back home with us. The hot afternoon sun beat down on us as we gathered a fist full of the fragile delights. Once home with our treasured flowers, we put them in our mother’s little jelly jars. Our bouquets remained in a special space on our kitchen windowsill. To this day, many decades later, I still remember the joy of small wildflowers in the house. From now through the fall season, my home will have wildflowers and weeds from the woods in little vases and jars as the months move towards winter.
April signals that it is now the beginnings of new life surging in Nature. On mornings like this one, I take leisurely walks with the dogs. I became conscious of the subtle changes today, wanted to focus on them. After a long lasting winter this year, each new spring day seems especially precious as it brings warmth, sunshine, budding bushes and trees, and colorful flowers to my little part of the world.
I considered my different senses and how I experienced them as I walked my usual path around the neighborhood today.
“Sometimes, we get too caught up with the visuals all around us,” I reflected.
We forget we have other important senses giving us information if we dwell primarily on the visual stimulation and distractions. I am legally blind and the entire world is a diffusion of shadowy forms and distorted, foggy impressions. The positive aspect of sight loss is that I am more aware now about the things I missed out on when I was fully sighted. I was too focused on looking and learning only through my eyes. Really, my excellent vision in my earlier, sighted, years, prevented me from discovering many aspects of the world that I appreciate now.
I listened carefully, became aware of the low sounds of an owl singing its final notes this morning as the sunshine brought strong light to this new day. I thought about the owl and imagined it must be celebrating the end of a fruitful night of hunting for food to eat, and flights in the comfort of the darkness where it can be free. For the owl, I thought about how the rising morning sun marked the end of its cycle of hunting and searching for food as it flies over the treetops and settles onto high, dense pine branches.
While the owl can settle down and relax in the dense tree branches to have a nice sleep for the day, I am just beginning my day. I breathe deeply and feel the coldness on my face and hands. My nose is moist and I take out a tissue to wipe the droplets of moisture that come from breathing in the wetness of the early morning atmosphere. My face tingles with the cold breeze and my hands remind me they are exposed and I have not brought along a pair of gloves to warm them up on this hour-long walk.
But, I am not so concerned with the coolness of the morning today. Instead, my thoughts move on to the meaning of spring and how each day is bringing changes to the world around me. It feels good, the cold air, and my lighter jacket is just right for this new day. I reach down occasionally to tell my dog, “Good Girl! Heel. Good Heel. Good Girl! She glances up at me, and quickly looks back at the path before her and sniffs the air. When we come to a wooded place, near an abandoned mill, I relax her leash and allow her to enjoy tramping in the winter packed leaves that lay all around the trees. She digs down into them in places, and pushes the leaves aside, seeking a direct passage to the scent that caught her attention. Eventually, I pull her back to heel position and we continue on for the second half of our morning travels, and we had back towards home together.
I know that we often think of January as a time of new beginnings. After all, it marks the New Year. Perhaps we might rethink this idea when we find ourselves walking in the early morning in April, with the warming of spring sunshine on our bodies. April truly is the time of new beginnings.
While it is true, January urged us to begin anew, set our intentions for the New Year. Like most of you, I did carefully think about my intentions and weighed them out while considering my own talents, skills, and passions. Now, April urges us to move on. I recognize I need to look back to DISCOVER anything that will keep me from reaching the heights I’d like to find this year.
My definition of a successful person is an individual who knows the will of God for her life, recognizes it, and chooses to do God’s will as she walks her unique God-given path in life.~ Lynda McKinney Lambert
I don’t want “just enough” or “good enough.” I want a life of personal integrity and excellence. That does not mean I want perfection – no, just the opposite of that! Perfection is unrealistic; we could chase after perfection forever and we would never reach it for it is an illusion. But, integrity and excellence are attainable because we have the promise of new life, renewal, and rejuvenation each spring. Life is bursting out all around us in every direction. We can fully participate in it. We are creatures who have the gift of choice. We can CHOOSE to have integrity and to be excellent in everything we do. I have witnessed so many people running after the myth of perfectionism. I see it in just about every magazine I pick up – perfect homes, perfect neighborhoods, perfect careers, perfect lawns, perfect cars, and perfect lies.
April asks this question:
Is there anything that will hold us back and take away our joy of life?
April affirms life and growth, just like all of nature, we can DISCOVER, RECOVER, and REVISE our life.
Here in Pennsylvania, we have “stink bugs” that slip unseen into our homes in the late fall, just before winter sets in. They are hiding in drawers, closets, attics, and basements where they will sleep, hidden away, through the winter months. When the April sunshine comes into our homes, it wakes up the stink bugs who begin to come alive. We will find them to be annoying as they zip through the house, wake us up in the morning light, or buzz around light sources at night and disturb our sleep.
One important FIRST STEP is to DISCOVER hidden, sleeping, secret forces inside of us that may be holding us back. Just sit quietly for awhile and think about your past and the hurts that may still be haunting you. We all have them. We have all experienced rejection, suffering, failures, disappointments, and personal disasters.
In April, begin to DISCOVER the past hurts that will prevent us from living a life of peace, joy, creativity, excellence and purpose. We cannot hold on to those feelings for unforgiveness will always hold us back. We will actually find that we are stuck in the past – our minds will go back again and again and relive the hurt. From this day forward, vow to never again speak of this hurt but to give it over to God today. Refuse to relive it or speak of the hurt or demean the person who has hurt you. This will set you free from the hurtful past so you can come alive again and experience the eternal forces of spring inside your own spirit. Be assured, the words we speak are living forces. If we continually drag up the ugliness of a situation or personal hurt, we are creating our present and our future unhappiness. Our words are LIFE. Speak what is good, nourishing, and excellent.
You can move on, and April is the perfect time to do it. Join me on this FIRST LITTLE STEP of our life’s purpose and journey to wholeness.
Yes, forgiveness is a choice, and it has nothing to do with the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is the choice to hand your hurts over to God and let Him make up the difference. When we choose to extend forgiveness, that’s when we choose to receive His forgiveness! ~Joel Osteen
I am DISCOVERING the prickly thorns in my own past that have prevented my growth to excellence. One by one, I am giving them up, allowing God to take them away, as I RECOVER from the hurts. I won’t be talking about them any longer. I won’t be going back to feel the pain again.
The good news today, in mid-April, is that after we DISCOVER and RECOVER from past hurts, we can REVISE our own future. As I take the higher path of forgiveness, I find the days are growing brighter and brighter still, with each new day!
Listen to Lynda McKinney Lambert, interview on April 17, 2015_ Purpose Talk Radio.
Discover your CALLING in LIFE by examining your own Life’s Timeline.