Here’s a thought I’d like to share…
There are two graces in breathing: drawing in air and discharging it. The former constrains, the latter refreshes… so marvelously is life mixed. Thank God then when he presses you, and thank him again when he lets you go.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The above quote from Goethe has long been a favorite of mine. I knew that in being drawn to write about it today meant that I needed to hear a lesson from it. (I teach what I most need to learn.)
For every up there’s a down, for every darkness, there’s a light, for every yes there’s a no.
We know this… yet we so often forget that both sides have their graces. And sometimes we forget it so completely that we decide one side is “right” and the other one is “wrong.” At that point the marvelousness of life’s “mix” eludes us and we become mired in the misery of judgment or wallow in wishing things were different than they are.
What if we were to be grateful, truly grateful, for the times we are pressed, and then grateful again for the times we feel more free, thinking of the two aspects like the wings of a bird — needing both to fly? What if we didn’t get lost in picking one side or the other, but appreciated the balance of having two sides? Might we then marvel at life’s amazing unfolding? After all, flying with only one wing wouldn’t get you anywhere but dizzy!
But can we really be thankful for our hard times? Can we, in the face of overwhelm, grief, and fear, really think “Oh, I’m grateful to be going through this.”?
What we can do though is know deep in our hearts that life is not out to get us and that everything we go through takes us to the next place we’re meant to be. We can cultivate trust in the ultimate design of things. And then, when we pause to remember the trust we’ve cultivated (“Thank him when he presses you.”), we stop begrudging the present and free up our energy and resources to start making skillful choices about how to do the next right thing with what we have available to us at the moment. (Thank him again when he lets you go.”)
And so the lesson for me is that I need to call upon my trust in the ultimate design of things – it takes two wings to fly! I’m dizzy and it’s because I’ve been flying in circles with one wing. I commit to practicing gratitude and remembering that I, like everyone, was born to soar!
Wishing you two good wings and gratitude for them both,