I love road trips. To steer the nose of your car in a new direction with the promise of stumbling upon new adventures and meeting interesting people, hearing untold and unique stories, is music to my soul. On a recent road trip in the small Karoo we happen to visit the spiritual beauty of “Temenos”, a breath-taking oasis in the middle of the small town of McGregor. It is in these gardens that a story was whispered to me… the story of a Koi Pond and a young girl called Lily.
Lily would come to the gardens daily to sit next to the pond where the Koi fish would swim. The colours of the Koi would remind Lily of her grandmother’s jewels. The Koi fish would come up to the surface of the pond to greet Lily, silently opening and closing their mouths without making a sound. Lily would mimic their greetings. They would silently greet one another.
One day Lily came to the pond and sensed that something was wrong. The Koi were opening and closing their mouths and leaping about the water. They were trying to tell Lily something. Lily crouched down to try and understand what they were silently mouthing. “Water! Water!”
Lily was puzzled as there was plenty of water that they were swimming in. Eventually a frantic Koi leaped so high that it landed on the grassy bank.
Frightened for it, Lily pushed it back into the water, only to have another Koi leap out of the pond to land at her feet. “Water! Water!”
Realizing that something was wrong, Lily ran to the gardener for help. Arriving at the pond the gardener first put his finger in the water and then in his mouth to taste it. There was something bad in the water. Something very bad for fish!
He called out and all the gardeners came running. There were many things to do that must be done immediately.
They opened the pump to flush out the bad water, every drop. They gave Lily a fresh bucket of water and she carefully lifted each Koi to safety. The gardeners pumped good and clean new water into the pond until it was filled right up and overflowing.
Thanks to Lily the Koi was saved. One by one she released the Koi into the new waters to swim like flowers and to sparkle like jewels. And as she opened her palm to let each one go she said: “Water! Water! Water! Water!”
When she was done she skipped all the way home.
[Come into the Garden…WISDOM STORIES from the Garden of the Beloved]
The story of how Lily saved the Koi made me draw an analogy between our lives and a pond that we swim in.
The way we choose to live, will determine whether the water of our ponds is clear and sparkling or whether the water is dark and murky.
Are you contributing to the sparkle of your water or are you adding the poison that will ultimately lead to your destruction?
The water of our ponds becomes toxic if we allow it and it robs us of our own light. There are so many things in life that can pollute the water of our ponds, or can contribute to the sparkle of life-giving water. Be mindful of the following three ingredients for a clear and sparkling pond:
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GIVERS, NOT TAKERS
“Givers have to set limits because Takers rarely do.” [Henry Ford]
People inspire you or they drain you. Choose to surround yourself with energetic, positive and fun loving people who focus on the beauty of living. These kinds of friends and family members serve to ignite the fire within and add to your sustainable joy. They are the life-giving waters that allow you to swim and sparkle with your own jewel – like light.
Avoid the toxic people who bring you down and who steal your light. Rid your life of the energy sapping, self-centered friends, family and partners that are so focused on what they need that there is very little or no room for you and your dreams.
“We should do ourselves a tremendous favor by letting go of people who poison our spirit.” [Dr. Steve Maraboli]
Remove all the toxic people and sparkle with the color of jewels while swimming in your pond of joy.
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR THOUGHTS & MIND-SET
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” [Mahatma Gandhi]
Your thoughts and perspectives color the waters that you swim in. Be mindful of what you think. Being positive does not mean ignoring the negative. Being positive means overcoming the negative. Your thoughts become your actions and your actions become your habits.
Avoid negative conversations. Have balanced opinions and choose to fill your mind with interesting facts. Read good books, have interesting conversations and stay informed. Choose to talk about life and not about people.
Expand your mind, travel and explore the globe. Speak to strangers in strange countries and realize that the pond you are swimming in is one of thousands scattered across the globe.
Bring the diversity into your pond and accept the differences. These thoughts and perspectives will oxidise the water that you swim in, giving life to you and the people that cross your path.
PRACTICE GOOD HABITS
“A man who can’t bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them.” [Stephen King, The Dark Tower]
Clean your pond of all bad habits. Practice self-discipline. Start implementing good habits. Detoxify your life. Look after your body and keep fit. Fill your body with good food and practice slow-living. Sleep well; make time for laughter, for sunsets, for long walks in nature. Hold your loved ones close. Find your own north star, your own purpose.
“We become what we repeatedly do.” [Covey]
Be acceptant of yourself. Practice integrity, show respect…to yourself, your environment and everybody who share this globe with you. Be kind to yourself; be kind to strangers, acquaintances, friends and family alike.
LET YOUR RELIGION BE KINDNESS
If the water of your pond has become murky and toxic, seek help. Speak up, reach out. You will be surprised how many gardeners are willing to assist with the purification of your pond’s water. “Let the bitter waters drain away so the sweetness floods your soul.”
My wishes for all is that in life you will be able to swim in clean waters where you can sparkle like the precious jewel you are.