Last week, despite my harried schedule, I decided to take a short stroll along the beach near my home. As I walked beside the grass-covered sand dunes, I gazed out at the rolling waves crashing toward the shore. Breathing in the fresh sea-salt air, I felt my shoulders instantly relax. With sea gulls soaring through the cloudless blue sky, I ambled along the shoreline. Stepping over several patches of smooth wet stones, I looked further up the beach and noticed a large bleached-out log that rested near the dunes’ edges. Taking in the beauty all around me, I slowly lowered myself onto the sand and closed my eyes. Listening to the soothing rhythm of the waves, I felt a calm wash over me. I breathed deeply and let the calm fill my entire being. It felt as though I was connecting with the sea – like it was calling me and reminding me of my connection with Mother Earth. My soul stirred and I knew that spending time in nature was important for my overall well-being. It helped ground me and made me feel as though I was part of something vast – a large universe where everything was connected.
Six and a half years ago when I began writing my first novel, I was browsing in the jewelry section of a local department store. Drawn to a silver ring that was on display, I read its inscription: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” I smiled at the simple wisdom of those words and remembered they were written by the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. Immediately, I purchased the ring and placed it upon my finger. It has stayed there ever since serving as a symbol of hope during times of frustration, disappointment, and despair. Its message has helped me believe in the power of perseverance. And even now, as the ring’s inscription is beginning to fade away, it still serves as a reminder to me to never give up and always keep reaching for my dreams.
Excitement brimming, my kids finished their last day of school this past Friday. We celebrated the occasion with frozen yogurt, Subway sandwiches, and a movie. (Yes, that was what they wanted to do. :) But for them, the best part is that summer is finally here with all its freedom and fun. They have been looking forward to it for so long, and the wait is finally over. What is it that makes summer so exciting? Maybe it's the change of pace, the frequent visits to Dairy Queen, the possibility of sleeping in every morning, or the break from routine. Whatever it is, summer is their favorite time of year! And I must admit, it’s mine too. But not just because of the ice cream. Summer is a time of awakening and a time of renewal. With the flowers in full bloom, the beauty all around us can serve as a reminder of the beauty that also lies within each of us.
Last week, I shared some of the wisdom from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements. This book exposes many of our limiting beliefs and how these beliefs become the basis for how we live and how we act. We learn to judge ourselves and others and seek positive attention even if it means being someone we are not. We judge our behaviors and punish ourselves – often over and over again. Soon, we become the Victim holding onto shame, blame, and guilt. The Judge and the Victim come to rule our lives. These limiting beliefs become our truth, and once we’ve accepted them, these beliefs become our agreements.
When I have conversations with friends or family, sometimes they give me a recommendation for a book that I should read. I usually write down the title and make a mental note to look it up online later that day. Sometimes, I even get more than one recommendation for the same book. And when those recommendations happen in close proximity to one another, it definitely catches my attention. It’s as though the Universe is tapping me on the shoulder and saying. “You need to read this book right now!” So, I usually order the book and start reading it as quickly as I can. A couple weeks ago, I had this very experience. The book was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and when two different people recommended it to me within a couple hours of each other, I knew the Universe was sending me a message.