Lovely 7 mile walk this morning exploring Wellston. Unidentified noises in the woods kept me from exploring too much.
I have really enjoyed my walks around Crystal Lake, watching the changes that are happening as the days go by. One of the more interesting things to watch has been the geese and the swans. Swans are still pretty much in the very same position that they were in when we got here. The geese – actually, just one family – have gotten wiser and braver. They now float around the lake, right past the swans, and do their “geese” thing.
I see so many life lessons, grace lessons in this little spot. As I watched the geese glide past the swans, I was reminded of the “swans” in my life. For most of my school years, I was bullied by other kids. That was way before bullying became a “thing”. The intimidation factor hasn’t changed, though. In high school, I had a teacher that was a “bully”. On into adulthood, the bullying doesn’t stop. Many of us are aware of that. Actually, I saw that on several occasions at work in my immediate supervisors. I know that even in friendships, bullying behavior occurs. I’m talking about emotional as well as physical behavior – and the pain and lasting impression it leaves. It’s interesting, as an adult, to watch other adults engage in manipulation and posturing to control a relationship. It is very reminiscent of being on the playground with the bully watching them rule their kingdom.
The swans on the lake – as I have mentioned before – are just decoys. Intended to keep geese away. As time has passed, the swans have lost their intimidation factor. The geese, through observation and persistence, have learned that the swans are not a threat. It took me a lot longer than a couple months to learn this about the swans in my life. Yesterday, I realized the parallel between the swans on the lake, and the “swans” in my life. People that have bullied, badgered, and intimidated me. Intimidation, I realized, is almost a form of self-bullying. In order to be intimidated, I have to allow myself to feel inferior. I want to keep this image of this swan in my mind:
The next time I start to feel intimidated, I want to see the person as this swan. Perhaps beautiful and ‘perfect’ when viewed from a distance, but hollow and empty up close. The same with feeling bullied – although that is more than just feeling inferior – especially when the bullying gets physical.
I also want to remind myself to be like the geese – persistent, brave, alive, and ready to enjoy life. Keeping things honest – in the past (as an adult), I was an emotional bully on occasion. I have since apologized when I could, and when not possible – forgiven myself and sent silent apologies. I keep those feelings close to my heart as a reminder to not start that journey again.
As my walk continued, I found these beautiful waterlilies. My grace lesson here involves both the beautiful blooms and the buds not yet open. I am reminded that we should bloom wherever we are planted, open ourselves fully and let our beauty be seen. The buds remind me that we will continue to bloom throughout our lives, even if there are dormant periods for growth, rest, and regeneration.
*Be brave – your swans really are hollow and powerless. Eventually, they will wash up on shore and be forgotten. The people you swim with and are brave with you – they will persist.
*Next time you are tempted to feel intimidated, remember the swan. They are not worth your precious energy.
*You have as much right as any “swan” to share the lake of life. Paddle on!
*Be a waterlily – bloom with great beauty – with all your heart – because you will continue to bloom in many new and beautiful ways.