Every once in a while you meet someone who is profoundly spiritual in their belief system.
You can see that there isn’t a question in their heart and their body embodies the words their mouth speaks. When I catch glimpses of this it fills my heart full of joy.
Though most lay outside of my own personal beliefs, I find it refreshing when someone wears Mala beads because they have a strong spiritual connection (not a sense of yogic obligation), or when someone uses the Rosary because they find solace in their spirituality (not because, “that is what a good Catholic does”).
When the words and the actions match…it is pure magic.
I was able to bear witness to such magic in February when I was present for a lecture on Bhakti Yoga by Mollie Galbraith. There is a sweetness and spirituality that radiates from her. She said the most profound utterance I have heard all year,
[Students] will cast flowers and they will cast stones, it is up to us not to pick them up.
That simple statement resonated so deeply within my bones—it’s kept. It is now part of my DNA.
What I think this means is people will flatter or flagellate, but it is not up to us to decide whether it is good or bad. It’s not ours to take. It belongs to them. It is a projection.
What I don’t think it means is to not appreciate kind words or to listen to constructive criticism.
I’ve spent a good chunk of my life cowering from thrown flowers. I would deflect to my teacher or downplay my effort. When I was first in private practice as a hypnotherapist, anytime my clients would compliment me I would say, “It’s because I had a great mentor.” I had a hard time saying thank you, and as time went on I realized the importance of gratitude regarding a flower.
The idea that a flower was being thrown to me was a sign of expectation, and how could I possibly continue to deliver?
Stones were easier to observe, but I often pretended not to see them either…unless it spoke to my feelings of, “I can do better” or my feeling of being less than. Then, into the pocket of my psyche they would go. When I was in film school I ignored a stone one day. It went something like this…
“Your film sucks.”
“Why do you think it sucks?”
“Because it sucks.”
“If you can’t give me a reason, then your opinion doesn’t matter.”
It was very satisfying to tell that person to go kick rocks.
I know I am not alone. Learning to appreciate the value people placed on my services and accepting that they were of benefit was a great learning curve. Working in the healing arts requires dropping the ego, but still identifying with those that we serve.
It’s important to appreciate and validate the words we hear from our students or clients. They may have had to muster up courage to say them. They have chosen to spend their hard earned money and limited time on our services. Having gratitude for their words is a fair exchange of energy.
What it doesn’t require is for us to use it to fill our ego to the brim or to allow negative feedback to destroy our self-value.
Do you run from flowers? Do you pick up stones? Or do you just observe how things are? Do you find it hard to say you are welcome when your students or clients thank you? Or is it easy?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brenna Fischer/Editor: Travis May
Photo: Author’s Own.