Think your beliefs don’t affect what you see? I once thought that, but no longer.
A friend was driving us to a meeting early on a bright sunny afternoon.
“Look!” she exclaimed, excitedly. “The moon is out!” pointing in a direction ahead of the car.
I looked and looked but couldn’t see a moon anywhere in the clear blue sky. She is not usually a kidder or one who plays jokes on people, so I believed that she saw the moon – so why didn’t I see it? After several more opportunities to see the moon, I became more curious. Is my eyesight really that bad?
Then I remembered a long-held belief I had that the sun and the moon can’t be visible at the same time. Could that belief be wrong? During solar eclipses the moon actually moves between the sun and Earth, so the moon must be able to be seen in the sky on a sunny day during certain phases of the moon.
The next time my friend pointed out the moon, I saw it clearly.
I wonder what other beliefs we have that prevent us from seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and tasting new things in this world or the universe? How would we know of their existence without someone, who does not hold those beliefs, showing us something new?
There are guides and teachers among us, trying to show us what our beliefs prevent us from experiencing. There are also deceivers and tricksters among us, trying to convince us to release our core beliefs of self-care, self-esteem, and self-reliance, and relinquish our personal power to them. You can recognize the difference by how you feel: Does someone tell you something that inspires you, opens your inner joy? Or does that person place limits on your self-worth and tell you that you need his/her help, guidance, wisdom, or product to survive in this world? Are you opening your heart and mind? Or are you only opening your wallet?
You have within you everything you need to survive – and thrive – in this world. Your beliefs that you are at the mercy of a vengeful or uncaring universe, that you are a victim of circumstances or heredity, and/or that you have no power or control over your own life are preventing you from accessing the knowledge within you. Try taking ownership of your body and your life. Trust that the Force (Star Wars)/God/Source/All That Is/the Universe is supporting you and wants you to succeed. Open your mind to new possibilities that feel lighter and happier. Then you, too, can see the moon where it previously “couldn’t exist” – and so much more of life.
We hear a lot about “self-fulfilling prophecies” when we think the worst, and the worst happens. The belief behind a self-fulfilling prophecy is: you focus on, think about, and/or worry about something so long and so hard that your worst fears actually come true.
How about when we think the best, and the best happens? What about your best dreams and hopes? Could they come true if you put the same amount of focus and thought into them?
We are more accustomed to worrying about a fearful event happening in our lives than we are to dreaming, hoping, wishing, and expecting joyous and happy events. You get what you focus on. Can we start – and continue – to think of a brighter, happier future for ourselves? Can we consciously choose thoughts and actions that lead to that joyful future?
We have trained ourselves to constantly think negatively, so we now have the opportunity to choose to think positively. Let’s turn “self-fulfilling prophecy” into a wonderful outcome, a descriptive term for the way we are joyously living our lives every day.
We are all prophets of our own lives. Let’s prophesize health, abundance, happiness, and joy for ourselves and for others. Let every thought we focus on and every action we take lead toward the goal of self-fulfilling the beneficial prophecy of our choosing.
The oldest joke I can remember is from junior high school (so don’t expect high literature here):
I went on a small plane trip.
Oh, that’s good.
No, that’s bad – the plane developed engine trouble.
Oh, that’s bad.
No, that’s good – I put on a parachute.
Oh, that’s good.
No, that’s bad – couldn’t get the door open.
Oh, that’s bad.
No, that’s good – opened the window and jumped out.
Oh, that’s good.
No, that’s bad – the parachute wouldn’t open.
Oh, that’s bad.
No, that’s good – saw a haystack below me.
Oh, that’s good.
No, that’s bad – there was a pitchfork sticking up from the haystack.
Oh, that’s bad.
No, that’s good – missed the pitchfork.
Oh, that’s good.
No, that’s bad – missed the haystack.
I thought of that old joke when I heard MBA professor Srikumar Rao tell his (much shorter) version:
A man is laid off from work due to budget cuts.
Good news? Bad news? Who knows?
Later, the company shuts down and everyone loses their job.
Because the man had been laid off earlier, he was given a large severance package and started his own business. Had he remained with the company, he would have received nothing.
The problem with labeling things, events, or people as “good” or “bad” is that the labels are little boxes with rigid sides. No thing, event, or person fits into a little box – each is multilayered with aspects that range the entire spectrum between “good” and “bad.” Perhaps try to look at the various layers of a situation or a person, rather than boxing your thinking into a narrow-minded on/off switch.
I try to eliminate the words “good” and “bad” in my thinking, speaking, and writing (except this blog, of course). Perhaps you will join me and see the full range and depth of every experience, rather than a bunch of plain, brown boxes. Maybe choose words such as “like” or “prefer” or “don’t like” for events and experiences. Maybe eliminate judgment on the first meeting of a person. Look past the clothing, the color of the skin, the accent, the height, the weight, and the overall appearance of the person. Talk with the person and find out what that person and you have in common, and what differences there may be from which you could learn something new or perhaps you have something new to share with the other person – at an individual-to-individual (or one aspect of Source talking with another aspect of Source) level. See the various layers of that person, and then choose whether you wish to continue with the conversation or move on to another person. You may be surprised at the interesting people – and some new friends – you meet this way.
Open your world to new experiences, free of little brown boxes.
Best wishes to you as we all thankfully and gratefully begin the Holidays, filled with the joy and happiness of life. Be grateful for what you have—whatever you have—and be eager for even more of what brings you happiness. Expect, feel, and believe your life is getting better each day—and it will.
The Dandelion – what does that name mean to you? A weed? An obnoxious plant that destroys your green lawn? An invasive species? An unwelcome pest? Something to get rid of? A plant created just to take over the world? A worthless, unwanted, unloved, and unneeded plant?
As a young child, I learned to dislike dandelions from my family and friends – and later from television. It was a “given,” a universally accepted “truth,” that dandelions were “bad,” without any redeeming qualities. Yesterday, taking a picture of a dandelion for one of my greeting cards, I saw it as a part of nature that has its own beauty, but is not considered of value by us humans. I had planned to use it as an example of finding beauty among the humblest of nature’s flowers. However, researching the dandelion uncovered incredible uses and value provided by the much-maligned plant. Seeing this aspect of the dandelion gave me a respect for the plant that I had never considered before. My hope is that you, too, see the “other side” of the dandelion.
Although cursed and maligned as a weed, the dandelion is a hardy herb with a surprising number of uses and symbolism. Thought to have evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia and found in remains in Russia from the Pliocene period, the perennial plant’s name developed in the 15th century from the Latin dens lionis, through the French dent-de-lion, to Middle English dandelion – all meaning “lion’s tooth.” The plant has been used as food and as an herb by people throughout recorded history, with the dandelion well-known to ancient Egyptians, Greek, and Romans, and used by the Chinese for traditional medicine for over a thousand years. The plant probably migrated to North America on the Mayflower, as an invited guest due to its medicinal benefits.
The flowerhead consists of numerous small flowers and is a vital early Spring nectar source for pollinators – although most varieties of dandelion produce seeds without pollination, resulting in new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. Each seed is attached to fine hairs, providing a parachute for wide dispersal. Dandelions have been cultivated as a companion plant because its taproot brings up nutrients for shallow-rooted plants, and it adds minerals and nitrogen to the soil and ethylene gas which helps fruit ripen.
The entire plant is edible and healthy, and was once considered a delicacy eaten by Victorian gentry, primarily in salads and sandwiches. Dandelion flowers have been made into wine, and a tea made from its root is believed to relieve kidney and bladder issues. Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. The raw flowers contain high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants, and are anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic (stopping the growth of tumors such as cancer); it has been used for a variety of aches, pains, and illnesses. The dandelion was also used to make the traditional “dandelion and burdock” British soft drink, and it is one of the ingredients in root beer.
Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic. Some people use dandelion to treat infection, especially viral infections, and cancer. In foods, dandelion is used as salad greens, and in soups, wine, and teas. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute. How does it work?
Dandelion contains chemicals that may increase urine production and decrease swelling (inflammation).
Dandelion can cause allergic reactions when taken by mouth or applied to the skin of sensitive people. People who are allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds) are likely to be allergic to dandelion.
Dandelion contains significant amounts of potassium. Some “water pills” can also increase potassium levels in the body. Taking some “water pills” along with dandelion might cause too much potassium to be in the body.
Scientists in Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Germany have developed a type of dandelion that secretes latex of the same quality as rubber trees and is suitable for commercial production of natural rubber.
The cheerful little dandelion can grow anywhere there is a bit of soil or a crack in the sidewalk. Medieval peasants and modern spiritualists consider the dandelion a symbolic flower. Its symbolic meanings include:
healing from emotional pain and physical injury
emotional and spiritual intelligence in dealing with every kind of situation
warmth and power like the rising sun, due to its sunny color and the fact that the flowerhead closes at night and opens with the morning sun
surviving through challenges and difficulties, the ability to rise above one’s challenges, and fighting through the challenges of life and emerging victorious
long-lasting happiness and joy, through its cheerful color and by being of help when depression or grief makes it difficult to stay “sunny”
fulfilling your wish, from a long-standing folk belief that blowing the white puffball of seeds will grant you one wish – perhaps in addition to the spreading of the seeds for the addition of more dandelions
Perhaps you may be moved to gather up a small bouquet of dandelions from your yard for occasions such as:
Celebrating the return of summer
Overcoming an obstacle, especially by using your innate intelligence
Trying to connect with the sun and its power
Celebrating any event that brings joy and the energy of youth into your life
Dandelion’s message is: do not give up, even if others seem to be trying to get rid of you.
“Dandelion” may be doomed to be the despised plant that must be destroyed, eradicated, and killed. Perhaps renaming it – to Healing Plant, Lion’s Tooth, Taraxacum (its genus name), or Potassium Plant, or even considering it a vegetable and/or herb such as Healing Herb, Rubber Herb, or Potassium Vegetable – will emphasize its beneficial qualities and allow us to see its beauty, hardiness, and simplicity as a part of nature, and to remove one more judgment from our experience.
My wish for you is that, now knowing more about the abundance of benefits provided by the common dandelion, you may become a bit less judgmental about the plant – and perhaps about other little-known and/or misunderstood aspects of your life, as well. And remember the dandelion’s message: DO NOT GIVE UP.
P.S. If your yard is filled with dandelions, tell any critics that you are growing your own food, medicine, and a local renewable resource of latex materials to produce rubber.