In Wayne Dyer?s book ?10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace?, the second success secret is ?don?t
die with your music still in you.? It is amazing to consider how many of us have a longing in our heart to pursue a dream, a vocation, or an experience and then our very logical left-brain dissuades us from
taking the risk to do it.
I suggest that often what stops us is the sense that risking the unknown includes a possible risk of
failure or loss. Leaving our comfort zone and sense of security of the known can move us deeper into
the fear of confronting the unknown. We either make the choice to stay stuck in the fear or to walk
through it to discovery.
The most significant event was the day I decided to redo our bedroom about nine months after my
husband?s death. I was finally ready to let go of the fact that it was no longer our bedroom but it was
Several months earlier, I had removed his clothing from the closets and drawers leaving only a leather
jacket and the suit he was married in on the hangers. Special personal effects were placed in a box to
give to the children. Now, it was time to move forward. I believed that a change in our room into my
room was at hand.
I began the process with the decision to apply wallpaper on the walls. It was such an unusual thing for
me to actual consider, since I am not fond of wallpaper, let alone going through the process of applying it to the walls. Even more unusual was the fact that I was attracted to a wallpaper design with small coral flowers and rich forest green leaves against a background of deep slate blue.
I brought the sample home. The paper was a perfect complement to the mixed hardwood boards that
my husband had applied to one wall. I loved that wall with the warmth of diagonally placed natural wood enriched with Tung Oil. So, the wallpaper went up. I painted the ceiling coral to match the flowers, new carpet, and even new furniture. I placed some pieces of wall art and on my dresser a picture of my husband. It was fresh and new.
Surveying the finished room I realized that the quilt my Mother had given to us was not a match for the room anymore. The quilt was off white with a series of mixed fabric pinwheels. I had always liked the quilt and sadness crept over me that even this piece of comfort might have to be replaced.
Then I flipped up a corner of the quilt and discovered that the solution was on the reverse side. That
side of the quilt was a solid color. It was coral and matched perfectly with my wallpaper and my ceiling.
I turned my quilt over and for the first time I saw the quilted pattern of the stitches. There was the
simple beauty of quilt stitching creating its own design, which I missed seeing on the other side. I stood
there astounded at the message revealed to my soul as I viewed this seemingly new quilt on my bed.
Like the quilt I had just turned over discovering its new fit into my bedroom d?cor, I recognized it
symbolized the turning of my life. Yes, my world had been turned up side down. My husband was dead.
I was no longer a wife. I was a single mother. I had 100 head of Herefords. I had to balance life?s
decisions for my family alone. And I had decided to complete the addition to our house, which meant
building upon a slab of concrete he had laid in the previous summer. I was sole supporter of my family. Frankly, I questioned my own ability to meet the challenges.
As I sat on my bed feeling the bumpy stitching under my fingers, despite the fact that my life had
changed so drastically, I had now to discover what remained in my life?s journey. It was the same quilt
on my bed with the memories remaining from the side of pinwheels. How often we had shared simple
tasks of wrapping presents for birthdays and Christmas; talked out the issues that arose between us;
made plans for family or career; and found comfort in each other?s presence and intimacy.
Now, the life?s quilt had turned over. However, the stitching of my quilt remained the same on both
sides. It was only now that I saw the stitching with a clarity not seen before. My life was held together
with the stitching of my faith and my family. This new side also represented that new memories would
be imprinted by a life that I now would embark on. I was to rediscover meaning to my life. I, Maralene
Strom, would set forth to raise my children and to discover the music in my soul that needed to emerge before my transition into eternity.
There was a certain relief to this process of letting go the deep grieving for what was not to be with a
husband I loved. There was a sense of something new to arise out of the ashes of my grief. Memories
of the turned quilt would always remain in my heart. I recognized, however, a new piece of music rising within me and the stitching of my life?s quilt was holding me together to let me risk playing the new tunes.
Dyer talks about using the past as a way to have a calling card that generates some attention to us. It
prevents us from healing; to see what can unfold for us in the future by staying stuck in the past. For
me, that choice was not optimal. What would I be demonstrating to my children about moving through
their own lives?
A quote from Seneca offers sage advice, ?Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a
separate life.? If life is meant for us to discover and play the music of our deeper soul of meaning, it
means we take the first steps outside of our comfort zone of living yesterdays as if they are today.
Turning over the quilt of our lives in overcoming loss opens us to the opportunities of living in the now.
It opens up the door of discovering ourselves, our talents, our deepest passion of expressing our
hidden desires to create, to lead, to build a business, to volunteer, to write a book, to sing the songs of
our hearts. In all of this, we are the same person, and the stitching of our faith, values, and love gives
us the courage to discover even more of who we really are and our contribution to the world we live.
By Maralene Strom, ? 2006 All Rights Reserved
Maralene Strom is a speaker and author who teaches on topics dealing with grief and recorvery — let her help you discover your life’s meaning as you journey now and into your future. Visit AdventuresInLivingsite.com to receive her newsletter.
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