Need A Few Guidelines
"Ahh .. so you are ready to start," said the Wise Woman, talking as she glanced over her shoulder.
"Yes," I said, settling into the comfy chair. I took a moment to look around more carefully and take in my surroundings. Every thing smelled here. Not badly, just more. I could smell the perfume of the roses on the table, something bubbling in the pot, the earthiness of the firewood crackling in the fireplace and the wood smoke that was rising up the chimney.
"Good. And you have noticed your sense of smell. A good sense of smell can help you sniff out the truth. And a nose for trouble never hurt anyone." She smiled and put her work aside.
"A woman's work is never done. But a word to the wise ... sometimes good enough is just that. Good enough."
"So, dearie, you need to know a bit about the forest and the process before you can safely begin. Now where did I put those notes?" She hunted on the table for a moment and then looked at me.
"Why don't we just wing it? If I miss anything the other guides can fill you in. So ... The Process of Self Discovery. Sounds about as exciting as when your high school chemistry teacher decided to read the text to you in class, doesn't it?"
Since she glanced my way, I felt obliged to nod, although I was still a bit stumped at how she knew that. Did she ever sit in a Chemistry class bored out of her mind? Or maybe high school chemistry textbooks were all the same. Her gentle cough rescued my attention from its slow descent into my years in high school.
"Well," she said "let's assume this is your first time and just cover the highlights. There really are just a few guidelines you need to know."
"First, your preparation and attitude are the most important. As a friend of mine says, when you enter the forest you need to have all your wits about you. No half-wits or quarter wits will do. So, choose times when you are feeling relaxed and focused. If you are feeling stressed out and worried, go do your laundry or clean out your junk drawer."
She looked up at me to see if I was paying attention. I started to wonder if I should be taking notes. Didn't you have to take notes in Chemis....
She laughed. "I can see your mind likes to wander a bit."
I tried to look sheepish and avoid feeling that awful feeling when you start to get an inkling that you are not measuring up. Awful. Ghastly. Didn't cabbage give you ...
A chuckle moved across the room. "No, dearie. And isn't it interesting that awful and awful mean almost completely the opposite thing and yet both are spelled almost the same? Actually, wandering is something to be valued in the forest. It means you are curious and a natural explorer. Leaps of the imagination often start out as a mind on an outing. For instance, Einstein. Now there was a lovely fellow. Met him one day while I was playing hooky from school. He had a very nice bike, as I recall."
Her lips twitched in the firelight. "But enough of that. Self discovery ... it always reminds me of CHristmas when it does that ... and jingle bells", she said, her fingers tapping out the tune.
"So, right. Your wandering mood is catching. So, put yourself in a good mood ... look at inspiring art, read a favorite poem, listen to music that makes your heart open up or puts a smile on your face. Set aside some time when you won't be interrupted unless it is important ... lunchtime is fine if you can close your office door ... or after everyone has settled down for the night. Weekends .... those mental health sick days ... you get the idea. Now ... what else about time. Oh .... give yourself enough time to let insights surface. This stuff is not instant mass potatoes."
I looked up, wondering if she was testing to see if I was paying close attention.
Her eyes met mine. I wondered if the twinkle there was reflected in mine. What was the joke I had missed?
"Dearie, you will find the world is a magical forest of words. Characters abound. Refining your sense of humor is a key, and keeping it is absolutely essential. Often your nose is too buried to see the big picture ... but it is there. A sense of play, especially fair play, will help you go far ... both in the forest and in life."
I nodded, and was expecting more. But her next question threw me a bit.
"Any last questions, before you head out?"
My eyebrows dove as I tried to keep pace. I had just settled in and was expecting that she was just warming up. Did I have any last questions? Last? What about first questions? Like ...
"That's what the guides are for ... love. They will help you along the way. Now, out you go!"
I managed to squeak out, "Any last advice you care to give ...?" as she showed me to the door.
"Stay open to new ideas as they arrive!" sailed out the door just before it closed.