Easter Egg Hunts Were So Much Easier…

Pencil drawing of a child hunting for Easter eggs (by Diane Mottl)Growing up in a cold climate, I have no memories of traipsing around fields searching for multi-colored Easter eggs. Since it was hit or miss whether the ground would be covered with snow, my parents had to be more inventive. My Dad hid our Easter eggs in the house, with hand-handwritten clues.

The rules were simple. Decipher the clue, find the hiding space for the next clue and be rewarded each time with a sprinkling of foil-covered chocolate eggs. The final clue would lead us to the mother-load: a chocolate Easter bunny and the remaining chocolate eggs.

Wouldn’t it be something if life worked that way? Discover your purpose by simply deciphering each clue along an easy-to-follow path. Think it through, work methodically, don’t detour and voila, you are there: the chocolate bunny of happiness is all yours.

When I look back on my career path, there are parts of this equation that seem true. Every job led me to another one that fit slightly better. Every mistake I made, taught me something. Every step I took moved me closer to where my soul was yearning to go.

In hindsight it seems clear: there is a master plan taking me somewhere. The problem is when I get caught looking too far ahead. When I let those little seeds of fear and doubt wiggle their way in and I start searching for proof that the path I am on is going to lead me to my chocolate bunny.

When this happens, I forget the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr. telling me that I do not have to see the whole staircase, I just need to take the first step in faith.

My faith steps are fickle. I am good with the first faith step. And the second. And even the third. But at some point the fear monger inside me starts to pry apart the nails on the stairs. Then I  feel wobbly. I start to doubt. And then I want the whole staircase to materialize. I want to be able to see to the top and know that it all works out.

It was easy to trust my Dad. I knew his clues would lead my sister and I to the next clue and the next, until we found our way to our chocolate bunnies. But to have unshakable faith that the staircase I am on is leading me to where I want it to go?

But that is the crux of it, isn’t it? “Where I want it to go.” Faith does not work that way, does it? Even when you set a goal and want it with ever fiber of your being, there is no guarantee that you are going to get it, is there? You can hone your talent, practice, persevere and keep getting up every time you fall down, but the end result of all your efforts is not in your control, is it?

The staircase may lead somewhere totally different than you wanted it to go. But I guess faith is about continuing to takes steps and trusting that wherever it goes, that is where you are meant to be.

Easter egg hunts were so much easier.

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.” — Henry Ward Beecher

“When we focus on faith rather than fear, anything becomes possible.” — Gail Lynne Goodwin

“Faith is like a mountain and doubts are like clouds. Can any cloud anytime shake a mountain? It is impossible. “ – Sri Sri

“Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” — Anne Lamott

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” – Patrick Overton

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.” — Khalil Gibran

“Faith is not about everything turning out okay, faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out.” – Unknown

“A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey…but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.” — Unknown

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go…

It doesn't matter where you go in life it's who you have beside you (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

Which is more important, where you go in life or the person beside you (whether it is a love-partner, family, friends or children)? If you absolutely had to choose, which would it be? When I asked myself that question, my automatic first response was the person beside me. But then I thought about where most of my energy goes. Sadly, it is not towards my loved ones. I would hazard to guess that if we were forced to watch a play-by-play of our day, most of our time would be spent on work, to do’s, commitments and the rest of the […] Read more »

Seeing The Sun Even When It Rains (or Snows)…

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. (Pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

After a long, cold winter with far (far!) too much snow, I feel like this little boy in the drawing, ready to jump into spring. What is it about bad weather that can put such a damper on our spirit? When I lived in a rainy winter climate, the weeks of overcast skies gave me such a dreary, closed in feeling that I felt my spirit suffocating. Although I was too stubborn to see if I had Seasonal Affective Disorder, I do think my mood was affected by the lack of sunshine. And now that I live in a sunny, albeit […] Read more »

Having an Argh! Moment…

The struggle you're in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

No doubt about it, I am marooned on Argh! Island. I am trying to remind myself that it is just a moment and it will pass. I have been telling myself that since yesterday. But yesterday’s frustrating moments have multiplied like bunny rabbits and have invaded my today moments. My brain is stuck and the bunnies keep multiplying. What is so frustrating, you ask? (and even if you did not, here is the answer) After the high of finishing the first draft of my very first book, I have plummeted to the ground with a Splat! as I face the world of revisions, […] Read more »

The Little Boy in the Drawing…

Pencil drawing of a sad little boy (by Diane Mottl)

My guess is if you saw this little boy in the drawing hunched over, face burrowed in his arms you would stop and ask, “Are you okay? Can I help?” Unlike the hesitation some of us may have felt helping the man with the cardboard sign, most of us would come to the aid of a young child.  Something kicks in that makes us care enough to reach out and connect. Are we reacting to his vulnerability? Innocence? Is it the parenting instinct to protect (whether we are a parent or not). Or do we see a little bit of our long ago selves reflected in […] Read more »

Do You See Me?

Pencil drawing of a homeless man (by Diane Mottl)

Earlier this week, I was pulling to a stop at a busy intersection and a man walked between the lanes holding a cardboard sign asking for change. I am ashamed to say, I avoided looking at him. Hiding behind my sunglasses I watched him in my rear view mirror. All the drivers I could see were staring straight ahead. The man ambled back up the sidewalk, leaned against a building, and waited for the light to turn red for the next lanes of traffic. I drove by him, still hiding behind my sunglasses. All the way home, I thought of […] Read more »

Slow As A Snail Ain’t So Bad…

"Wisely and Slowly. They Stumble that run fast." (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl - Beingtrulypresent.com)

We have been going through  a record deep freeze where all you want to do is hunker down until Mother Nature decides she’s had enough fun watching us freeze our kahoona’s off and turns up the temperature. The crappy weather left me feeling sluggish and not at all motivated to do a drawing this week. So when I saw this snail (slug carrying his house – smile) slowly sliming its way up a step, I thought, perfect! With only a scratched outline of the drawing completed, I was already jumping ahead to what I could write. Something about holding on and […] Read more »

Being Held Up Or Being Held Back?

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

There was something in this drawing that struck a chord within me. At first, I saw a tightly wound wire tethering a fence post that was only moments away from tumbling to the ground. But then I looked at the snarled wire again and it began to look more ominous. I saw how its sharp edges were poking this way and that; how it was snaking its way around and around, knotting and tangling itself up as it held fast. That’s when I looked at the fence post differently. Was it being held up? Or was it straining and pulling as it struggled to break free of its […] Read more »

Two Halves Don’t Make A Whole…

"The best thing to hold on to in life is each other" (Pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

When I found the quote I used for the drawing on the left, I immediately saw it as a powerful message that cuts to the chase about what is really important in life. But then I started to think about the different ways that we hold on to each other: some healthy, some not-so-healthy. So what makes “holding on” cross over into not-so-healthy land? I think a big part of it comes down to how whole we are. If I am holding on to someone to make me feel whole/complete, then I am cheating myself and them. To me, being whole has nothing to do with […] Read more »

Life Lessons Learned with a Drawing Pencil…

Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up (pencil drawing: Diane Mottl)

The drawing on the left was so close to being crumpled and thrown in the garbage. I look at it now and can proudly see it for what it is and am grateful for what I learned. Let me explain. My drawings follow a predictable pattern. I start out with a light sketch to get the proportions right (I have a very well worn eraser – smile). When I think I have it, I pick one area (i.e. the child’s shorts) and start to fill, shade and smudge until it starts to take shape. Then I move on to another small area. But then I hit the same […] Read more »