A cuisine of herbs…..

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Herbal Broth

“Men of genius are admired. Men of wealth envied. Men of power feared, but only men of character are trusted.” – Arthur Friedman

Character is not a gift, far from it. It is the end result of a process, and more often the process is back-ended with loads of trying and very frustrating times. However it is in the process that character is formed and from an engineering or building perspective, forming or forging is tasking on both the smithy or technician as well as the object being worked on.

Children are truly precious and even though I have heard many rueful comments concealing wishes that babies would stay babies, there is no negation of their pricelessness. But alas even at that, those wishes are an aberration in life because change is inevitable. Several years ago, I recall trying to explain to my 4yr old daughter why she needed to eat her veggies. It was both amusing and just a tad annoying seeing her with brows puckered in a frown, assiduously separating the veggies from her meal. A couple of months later, with a hard fought win tucked in my belt, I remember her complaining bitterly that she was outgrowing her fancy shoes because she was eating tomatoes. Today, that’s a memory that she vociferously claims never happened.

I have come across some very fascinating people (pretty sure I am listed under that category in someone else’s journals); a chap who believed water was solely to be used in CPAP machines, humidifiers et al, another who believed bread was created specifically for culling the human race. However one thing that acts as a common factor across all types is that regardless of our perspectives, in order for there to be growth, sometimes we have to make some concessions. Growth in itself is not always that process that we so eagerly await because with growth, there’s always some form of discomfort however yin yang is one of the many attempts at explaining the process. Life consists of many exercises encompassing the need to understand and appropriately apply balancing.

Most often, the largest obstacle to our growth is the image staring back at you when you stand alone in front of a mirror. Ignorance has never been the best of reasons for the mistakes we often make because we are humans however embracing knowledge is setting ourselves free. No matter how hard we battle with the process, we just have to delve deep into that herbal broth because therein lies the very nutrients we need to grow. The more of a struggle we put up, the more exhausted we become and the more of a delay we unknowingly throw in our own journey. Understanding all things is impossible but in order for us to move on, we must embrace hope, trust and faith in The One who we owe everything to.

Right now, it’s quite a struggle for me, because having a sprained shoulder definitely gives me no edge over dystonia. However it has forced me to search out untried ways of reaching my milestones and attaining objectives. In this season, I have had to remind myself that although herbs might be bitter, I had rather look beyond the bitterness and dwell rather on the intrinsic positives that come with ingesting them. Trying to make head of everything at this moment would simply be an exercise in abject futility and so I am yet again reminding myself that waiting might seem pointless but there’s so much more going on that remains unseen. Someday, like the phenomenon of the Chinese bamboo, there would be a visible and significant change in who and what I am today.

Engaging in battles with myself when I so obviously do not have all the answers is not moving on. For there to be a move in the right direction, sometimes we just have to admit that although we have the vision, there’s also the undeniable truth that time and chance happens to everyone. Every life; a piece in the puzzle of God’s masterplan, we each must apply ourselves to the circumstances we find ourselves because in doing that, we do not only recognize divinity but we also positively affect the lives around us. Our positions today are a function of the lives before us and so selflessly we ought to also pay it forward. Ridding ourselves of every bit of resentment and bitterness that we allow build up in the face of opposition is usually a step in the right direction, because failing to do that irreparably hurts us and self-inflicted wounds attest to ignorance, naivety and sometimes just plain old stupidity on our part.

No battles have been won without making room for a retreat when the horns sound. And yes, most battles are won by the side that stays longest in their trenches because sometimes all that is needed is to hunker down when the barrage seems unrelenting and wait for the silence and peace that is the prelude to the joys of victory. In our frenetic lives, we get so enamored with the society’s definition of success that we fail to realize that we are trampling underfoot the very herbs we need for nourishment and growth. And so when we are falling headfirst into the chasm that signals burnout, then we realize the utter folly of our wrong choices. Failure to recognize the need for reassessment, rest and a possible detour is entirely nobody else’s fault but ourselves.

Trying new and unfamiliar ways do not in anyway portend emasculation, rather it is the highly undervalued second opportunity that we so urgently require. Today represents another opportunity to realign ourselves with our purpose, today represents another call to wait in trust because His Promises are true and infallible. Though they tarry, they are in no way having the similitude of or are they denials. With the patience of the lapidarist, a trait that comes with discipline, we must be thankful for what we have before us. And when we start to entertain doubts regarding the safety found in the multitude of counsel, there’s One Counsel that is completely devoid of the slightest of shadows.

Nourishment is not fast food engorgement, and whilst the latter is so easily available, the truth is that the herbal broth (though plain looking and bland tasting) is what is needed to initiate the growth needed to occupy the next season in our lives. For us to grow above and beyond today’s bleakness, there has to be an acceptance that every experience can either be a stepping stone or just another stone in the wall that further shuts out the glimmer of tomorrow’s riches. I choose to make mine a stepping stone and even in the silence of being different, I am thoroughly convinced that when the night seems to embody just weeping, surely joy and growth comes with the morning.

Remember, rather than complain about the thorns among the roses, be thankful for the roses among the thorns!

עד ניפגש שוב, תן אהבה שלו למלא ולשמור אותך!

Adios!

Whispering in the shadows….

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A whisper in the dark....

A whisper in the dark….

Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light”John Ruskin

I usually try to surmise my life experience of living with Myoclonus with this witty remark of walking through the valley of the shadow of death with just a flickering candle in hand to combat the swirling darkness trying so desperately to overwhelm me. To many, it defies comprehension especially when you juxtapose it with the developed economies where there is stability of power save for the disastrous after effects of a hurricane, blizzard or tornado just like the one witnessed a couple of days back. (One of the survivor’s son who was interviewed thanked God for making his mum quite nosy because a tree crashed down through her trailer in the exact spot where she had been seated some seconds ago……she stood up to go to the window after she saw a sheet of metal hurtling past her window!) However the light from my flickering candle drives me on through these challenging times.
It never ceases to fascinate me how weird the truth usually sounds – much wisdom is learned in the house of sorrows and the best time to number your friends is in the times of adversity. But regardless of how weird and creepy it comes across, there is always the exhilarating freshness of liberation in its wake. Nobody can understand the pain of your situation but people will always be drawn to your ability to smile despite your pain. I was having a conversation with a friend who had chosen to remain on her side of the road after my crossing even though she had largely prepared me for the crossing and it was amusing to hear her describe me as being ‘normal’ these days or for wont of a more appropriate comment ‘dealing with my demons’. Funny really because demons will always exist, why were they created if not to serve their purpose and so whether we choose to admit it from the perspective of a refusal to cross the road with someone or not, we all have to deal with the shadows because the shadows only exist with light.
It is much easier to appreciate the light when you have been in the shadows and whilst some might construe it literally, there are and will always be shadows that surround us and what an ignorant life to live when we deny the existence of these shadows. I have walked in the shadows of isolation, dearth of emotional support et al with the onset of this neurological disorder and it has further revealed and heightened the inadequacies we choose to comfort ourselves with when the shoe seems to be on the other person’s feet but I have learned that we can only give what we have. No natural disaster is going to imbue us with what we consistently choose not to have and so the differentiating factor is not being able to say that someone has finally dealt with their demons and so it is now safe to cross the road but being able to rightly discern the existence of the shadows and yet choose to be that whisper in the gloom urging another towards the light.
I may not have all the expertise in sharing my thoughts however I do what I can and choose to because I know that just by sharing my heart, I might be building a bridge over a chasm in someone’s world. Like the faint whisper of the spring breeze as it caresses all that lies in its path, so we can make a choice to be that positive influence in those fleeting seconds as we pass through the lives of others.
I was invited to a soccer game by my buddy and despite the fact that they lost the game by four points, I itched for the feel of running, kicking the ball, breaking out in sweat from the physical exertions of bodily exercise. I did none of that for obvious reasons but I did lend my stuttering voice to his team encouraging them to do more and guess what; it sucked that they lost but I was glad to have been a voice of encouragement. Now, many of us might have been content with just being a silent spectator but we can choose to do more than that. Make a difference in someone’s moment of dismay and discouragement, be a whisper in the shadows that surround someone else and be assured that in those few moments, you will put your own shadows at bay. Whilst your candlelight may be flickering, be daring enough to light that other candle that has just puttered out and in the space of those moments, bask in the warmth of the smile on that face in front of yours.
I will always be grateful for these challenging times because a whole new path has opened up before me, I have found love and support in seemingly hopeless times. I have been given a second chance to make a demand on life for what I know I deserve, I have shared in the pains and sufferings of many and have been privileged to do something beautiful amidst the ashes of smouldering dreams. I have learned that you can choose not to judge the actions of others because my circumstances have birthed a wider and clearer perspective and words mean nothing until they are translated into actions, no matter how little they are. I have chosen to enjoy the little moments that come my way not because I am unable to sleep but because I realize that it is a blessing being awake when most people are asleep. I choose to prayerfully assist others not because I expect miracles when I am prayed for but I understand better that the best times to give are when every fiber in your being is screaming to withhold even if it is just to alleviate some periods of pain and anguish to yourself.
As I awaken each day, I am thankful because I have a voice and be it a whisper or a full-throat roar of encouragement, I choose every day to set the shadows just a little bit away for myself by being a voice in someone’s shadows. I remind myself every passing day that it a duty to myself to ascertain and apply myself to my purpose for these times and regardless of how much I receive in return, my work is done and will still be.
Remember that life’s sorrows are but a birthing process that truly separates the bold and different from the rest of the pack. No two chances are ever the same so make a choice to make the best of today’s situation.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!