As I set up my calendar for the month, I select a quote I’ve found that speaks to me. I write it in my planner and leave space below it to capture phrases I hear or read that speak to me and relate to the quote. I found this practice centers me for the month, and helps me be more present in my conversations, meetings, and readings. For April 2022 quote was “In a world that wants you to whisper, yell!”
An odd thing happened this month… no quotes appeared. I was well into the third week of April and nothing. A blank page below my anchor quote. I was concerned. Had I not been fully present in conversations? Had I not really tuned in to my audible books? Had I been so self-absorbed or on auto pilot that I missed out? But then, as if my quote for the month came to life … I heard the universe yell. I guess I had missed the whispers.
A friend posted the following piece by Irish poet and philospher John O’Donohue. It filled not only my page, but me.
“At any time you can ask yourself:
At which threshold am I now standing?
At this time in my life, what am I leaving?
Where am I about to enter?
What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold?
A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres.
Indeed, it is a lonely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or a state of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up.
At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope.
This is one of the reasons such vital crossings were always colored in ritual.
It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward.
The time has come to cross.”
Thinking about my blank page, quoteless, I now realize I was simply standing at a threshold. Still. Perhaps blocking things out. Perhaps recharging my courage. Perhaps hiding. All was muffled before I took my direction. I was isolated so it took a huge quote to reach me – a universal yell.
Then quickly thereafter, I began to see and hear quotes again, such as:
- It’s time to get back to you.
- How can I trust when I have so much doubt?
- Cook by the spirit.
- Good friction.
- The after is the before for the next during
- Walk into your freedom.
- Go where the energy is.
- Let God blow your mind.
- Don’t be bound by the residue of your past.
- Run on and see what the ends going to be.
- Give light and people will find the way.
- Thank God I don’t look like what I’ve been through.
- If nothing changes, nothing changes.
- My soul woke up and I realized I was enough.
- You give power to what you focus on.
- Take a soul wander in the sunshine.
As for my standing at a threshold, I’ll share stillness was essential. The quietness helped me process the old and prepare for the new. The silence let the distractions fall away, both well intentioned wishes and naysayers. It also put me in a holding pattern, stagnant. But as if the universe knew I’d been alone with myself long enough, she sent one more message.
On the last day of the month, I spoke with a friend and former coworker. It was a meeting that had been booked over a month earlier. She asked me one simple question. One that caused the fog to lift and the threshold to appear. What do you love?