The traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial rolled into town for the weekend and set up in our city park. Walking toward the wall, you encounter a sign that reads, “This is Hallowed Ground.” And it truly is. It’s no longer the manicured grounds of the city park. Wherever this memorial stands, it transforms. There’s a reverence and a respect that’s palpable, and an aura of sadness that lingers for lives lost, for the horrors of war, for sacrifice. I am grateful for the service and sacrifice of those who served, not only in Vietnam but in every God-forsaken war.
August 31. Eve of a new month. I have this marvelous planner created by Points of You™, which is an Israeli-based company whose wonderful coaching tools — in this case a set of cards with images and words — are designed to make you think, challenge your perspective, and help you move forward with purpose. As each month stands at the cusp of a new one, there’s a thoughtful activity. Pick three cards, it says. The first to help you consider what worked well this month; the second to offer perspectives on what did not work so well; and a third to help you more clearly envision what you wish for the next month.
So I randomly drew three cards and flipped them over, one by one. I am most grateful for how they expanded my understanding.
First: What worked well for me: Point of View. Oh, boy. When I allowed myself to dampen my driving purpose, consider alternate points of view, and detach from outcomes, my path filled with curiosity and felt, well, easy — maybe even enlightened.
Second: What didn’t work well for me: Creativity. Huh. Getting so bogged down in details and trying to control outcomes certainly stifled me in August. That meant there were times when I suffered through a scarcity of solutions and options.
Third: What do I wish for the next month: Together. Wow, what a perspective buster! Why did my creativity and purpose lag in August? The insight I gleaned from this single card is that I get too focused and my vision can narrow to become more exclusive. Not much wonder I felt stalled: I KNOW I need the idea generation that arises from connections with others. It fuels me. Getting lost in the details and trying to control outcomes narrowed my focus enough to put me in a bubble, almost.
It’s amazing how a simple picture, word, or concept can flip you 180 degrees. Here’s hoping September reaps a bumper crop of togetherness.
Sometimes making your way from one place to another is a long, arduous journey. Other times, it’s a snap. Sometimes you’re thrust onto the bridge; other times you choose that route purposefully. Whatever your impetus for moving onto a bridge to … somewhere … embrace the journey and don’t forget to soak up the experiences. It’s your life, after all, every day, every moment, every step. Grateful for approaching journeys — most of them at least — with curiosity.
Oh, so very, very grateful for (1) glancing at the house before turning in the driveway, (2) catching nature in the midst of the city, (3) NOT hitting the garage door opener as I usually do, and (4) having a camera with me in the car. I decided the better part of wisdom was to wait patiently until Mama and her four babies were safely in the next yard … or two. I particularly liked the confused caboose who wasn’t sure if he was coming or going.
I stood in the parking lot at Kroger watching the clouds, then noticed the people scurrying from store to car and car to store. None of them glanced at the sky. No one’s step slowed for a moment. I’m not sure any of them even noticed the roiling, glowing, gorgeous sky. But I did, and I’m grateful for that, because what I took away was a powerful message of inner strength and purpose and passion. And that’s beautiful … maybe almost as beautiful as last night’s sky.
While wandering, I look up to enjoy the warmth of the August sun and the beauty of a cloud-studded blue sky. The tree under which I find myself is loaded with black fruit — it’s a black cherry, or a wild cherry, I think. I hear the chirps of at least three species of bird, the rustle of what must be a squirrel. It’s good, I think, that this smorgasbord is free for these creatures. There’s something perfectly right about nature nurturing nature. I’m grateful for the sight of blue sky through limbs loaded with sustenance for the ones who are sitting patiently, or not so patiently, for me to continue my journey so they may feast. It’s a good day.