This project's goal is to give each family member and myself just 10 minutes of unconditional positive regard every day. All attention is focused on the other person for those 10 minutes and only positive comments or thoughts are allowed. Just 10 minutes often becomes much more. Try it and see. You'll find the Just 10 guidelines on the right side of this blog.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Leaving the Goat out in the Rain

"Life isn't about waiting out the storm.
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

At the end of the workday, I found these words written on a classroom whiteboard.  They were attributed to Anonymous, that entity that seems to get some of the best lines.  These words made me feel like dancing.  In the moment they summed up the meaning of my life and presented it to me in a neat little package.  Wouldn't it be great if every day ended with the perfect summation?

The fact that they rarely do made the quote even more meaningful.  Not having the day end with a cherry on top, whipped cream and nuts is part of living in the storm.  After all it's often "a dark and stormy night."

Once in grade school, Vickie L, wrote in my autograph book. (The autograph book is a relic of the past, I'm sure.)

"The night was dark and stormy
The billy goat was blind.
It bumped into a rosebush
and lost it's "Never mind."

All these years later, I remember those words as if they were just written.  On the surface they appear simple and inane.  "Could they hide great poetry?"
This, I doubt.  I suspect what they really hide is a deeper meaning.  In this way, maybe it's not so different from great poetry after all.

How often I have been the blind billy goat stumbling in the dark.  I am lost, confused, assaulted by life.  I struggle to stay upright in the storm.  I just want to find my way home to comfort and warmth.
All it takes is one rosebush and I lose my "Never mind!"  I curse the storm, the darkness, the rosebush, my blindness and myself.

What if the stubborn billy goat accepted the darkness, the storm, his blindness and the rosebush all as given?  What if he dressed for the weather, got a guide dog and learned to sniff out rosebushes?  This would be one clever goat.

What if the goat were to use the stubbornness it's famous for as a stubborn refusal to accept its grim fate?  What if this goat were to learn to dance in the rain?  The goat inside me crashes into the words on the whiteboard.

"Life isn't about waiting out the storm.
It's about learning to dance in the rain."

The real me, the deepest me, knows these words to be true.  I feel them in my skin and down into my bones.  The words connect with my experience.  My body and soul sings in response to their touch. They echo through my arteries.  I exhale them when I breathe.

I sit and enjoy this feeling without analysis or judgment.  Today, I am dancing in the rain.  A blind goat in a raincoat dances beside me.  The rosebushes surround us.  We laugh at their beauty and their thorns as we dance.

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