"Good morning, Irwin! What a lovely day this will be," chirped the wise old frog. "Yes, Sir, it is a beautiful morning. I'm really happy to see you. Please, come in. Breakfast is ready,"I replied as I ushered him over to the kitchen table. I continued, "I heard that we're expecting a shower later this afternoon. I hope there's a beautiful rainbow afterward, don't you? I just love rainbows! They're so full of hope and promise." Dharma poured us each a cup of tea and while I served breakfast, he said something interesting. "There are frogs who see rainbows as an artistic masterpiece in the sky, while others see it as a sign of hope. To many, it represents a sign of promise. I believe that is is all three. But there is also something else to consider. Tadpole, a frog can enjoy a rainbow without necessarily forgetting the forces that created it. This wasn't going to be my lesson today, but I think it might be good to talk about this since we're on the subject of rainbows." And so my lesson began.
"Irwin, I know you like to keep up with all things humans. So I'm guessing that you already know today is Find A Rainbow Day." I nodded yes and Dharma continued. "Rainbows mean many things to many humans. Some think they'll find a pot of gold or good fortune if they follow the rainbow to its end. Rainbows are, indeed, a masterpiece in the sky no matter what we think they mean. But seeing hope and promise in a rainbow shouldn't preclude us from remembering the storm that caused it." Dharma went to explain why we should live in the present but learn from our past mistakes....the storms, if you, will that created our pleasant circumstances today. Dharma, in all his wisdom, gave me a list of a few lessons we can take from the storm clouds that pass through our lives.
1. Strengths that define us. The talents and abilities we use to navigate and provide value to this world define the lives we live and the change we can offer. And by recalling our strengths in the past, we can better recognize our opportunities in the present.
2. Weaknesses that frustrate us. We all have weaknesses in personality and competence. When left unaddressed, these weaknesses limit our potential for impact and significance. Discover them. Recognize them. And learn to overcome them by seeking the help of others.
3. Causes that energize us. Our lives find the greatest joy when we help others discover theirs. Which social causes have energized you in the past? What role were you able to fulfill in helping others? And how can similar pursuits bring new energy into your life today?
4. Environments that derail us. The company we keep and the cultures we function in either bring us inspiration or derail our progress. Are there relationships in your past that continually brought you down and resulted in destructive decisions? If so, learn from your past to avoid them.
5. Habitats that invigorate us. Over the course of our lives, we employ a variety of disciplines to make the most of it. We discover a new diet, a new fitness practice, or a new morning routine. We experiment with them–some work, some don’t. Eventually, these new disciplines either become habits or they fade from our memory. Look back. Recognize the habits that brought energy, health, and invigoration into your life. And embrace them again.
6. Pursuits that distract us. Ultimately, the decisions we make with the resources we’ve been given determine the life we end up living. Most of the resources we have at our personal disposal are finite and limited, such as time, energy, and money. By definition, the allocation of them toward one pursuit limits the number of resources we have available towards others. It is wise to recognize the subtle pursuits that routinely distract you from the truest desires of your heart.
7. Addictions that control us. Humans and frogs, too, often give control of our most precious asset to another. We fall under the influence of substances, possessions, or entertainment. And when we do, our life is no longer our own. Identify the recurring controlling substances (addictions) in your life and humbly seek the help needed to remove their influence over you.
8. Learning styles that suit us. We all learn differently. Some are visual learners, some are verbal, some learn best in a group setting, while others learn best alone. Your learning style is as unique to you as your fingerprint. The important thing is to recognize and understand what style suits you best. This life ought to be filled with constant learning… and the sooner we recognize how we learn best, the sooner we’ll begin to grow in it. And finally,
9. Motivations that compel us. Deep in our heart, our motivation runs supreme. It determines the decisions we make, the use of our time, and the words we choose to use. Understanding our deepest motivations is a difficult task. It requires stillness, patience, and consistent self-evaluation. But the more we discover why we do the things we do, the easier it is for us to make the most of the present we are living in today.
Irwin, let me conclude our lesson for the week with this thought. While we must never let our past control our present or our future. They are merely storm clouds meant to help fully appreciate the rainbows they appear. We mustn't forget that rainbows aren't permanent. And neither are the storm clouds. They work in concert with each other to teach us valuable lessons. If it weren't for our troubling times, we couldn't fully appreciate the beauty of our lives. Each one is necessary for the other to exist.
Whether you are experiencing rainbows or storm clouds in your life right now, I hope that Dharma's lesson today was beneficial; enjoy the beautiful rainbow but don't lose sight of what caused it.
Please stop back by tomorrow for a look at freedom of the press in honor of National Hug A Newsperson Day. Until then, I wish you PEACE. (And a big, bright, beautiful rainbow!)