When I was in college I had this notecard taped to the side of my desk that read, “Live like a duck: be calm and collected above the surface but paddle like hell under the water.”
I also drank Jim Beam by the handle and applied to work as Chester the Cheetah handing out Cheeto samples at Walmart. So I’m not saying I was exactly the voice of reason at the time, but the notecard’s sentiment still resonates. (I never did get that Cheeto job. Overqualified, I like to tell myself.)
Recently I’ve been reading a collection of Rumi’s poems translated and edited by the brilliant Coleman Barks, and once again I find the duck returning to teach me metaphors for life.
“One day a falcon invited a duck to leave the lake and see the high plateau. The wise duck said, “Water is my source and fortress, my peace and joy. Don’t tempt me with where you love to be. You have soaring gifts. I love this low marsh.” The duck stayed in the stronghold where it felt complete. And you, be patient where you sit in the dark. The dawn is coming.”
I love this. Everything about it.
I’ve been sharing it with my yoga classes this week with the lesson that comparison is a trap not always easily avoided on our mats or in life. When we watch someone else’s super advanced practice or seemingly flawless life (as everyone presents their existence on Facebook, we know) and compare it to where we are, it’s easy to assume that that’s where we should be, too. That we should abandon what feels right to us to try to keep up with someone else. To leave the marsh for the plateau, essentially.
Let’s stop doing that, yeah? What the world needs is not another someone mindlessly trudging through the motions. It needs you. As you are and in your element. Doing things your way whether it’s down in the marsh or up on the high plateau.
As Danielle Laporte says:
“YOUR WAY. Slightly reckless, downright defiant, uncharted, seat-of-the-pants, make it up as you go, not a leg to stand on, what will your mother say? You could bomb. You could become so successful that your friends won’t recognize you. (Your real friends always knew you had it in you.) You could break through.”
So do your thing and don’t worry about where everyone else is or where you’re “supposed” to be. Do this and a break through is imminent. Do this and the dawn is coming.
- 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dill, fresh or dried
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- lemon wedges, optional
- sunflower seeds, optional
- Roughly chop your cauliflower into small pieces (you could also do this in a food processor)
- Warm olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat
- Add cauliflower and saute 4-5 minutes until it starts to get crispy and brown
- Add dill and salt and remove from heat
- Top with tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon wedges and sunflower seeds
I feel like I’m slowly (slowly) learning to be a bit more duck-like. I’m learning to care less what others think about what I should be doing and more about what I know to be true: That what I am on this planet to do will not be bound by job titles or degrees. That I am in the stronghold where I am complete when I’m doing things that light me on fire. That I am patient. And that the dawn is coming.
“The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”