Something big is afoot. I’ve been saying it all year. The minute 2011 trumpeted its way in, I knew. I could just feel it. Change was in the air.
And I was not happy about it.
So I crossed my arms and shook my head and said, “Sorry Change, go knock on someone else's door, I’m not having it,” and closed the door on Change to continue with my comfortable -- and safe -- little routine. Meanwhile, Change pitched a tent out in my front yard and taunted me from a distance. I would peer at it through the curtains, but refused to engage it in any way -- and we danced around each other in this manner for quite awhile.
At 4:45 in the morning on a random Wednesday, I finished the novel I had been on-again off-again writing since 2006. And Change marched right in my door, invitation in hand, and smirked at me. I knew I was done for. So Change and I started to feel each other out and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. After all, I was the one who finished the book, knowing that its completion would most certainly force me to re-evaluate at least a few things.
Then I heard the words again: something big is afoot. And I felt an uncomfortable stirring in my gut. I tried to push it away, but it persisted. It was a long ignored seed of potential that had awoken when I finished the book. Unknowingly (or perhaps knowingly, I’m not sure), finishing my novel was that seed of potential's cue to start growing. But it hurt, because I hadn’t made any room for it. That seed of potential was pressing uncomfortably on the inside of my being and the inside of my spirit encouraging me to make room for it to grow. It persisted in pushing, until I cried in pain from the emotional, mental, and even physical discomfort I was in from trying to contain the growth. The whole time I heard the words “stretch and increase, stretch and increase,” like my spirit was coaching me to trust and believe. So I did. I stretched, and trusted. I sent an email, contacted a complete stranger, flew across the country on a prayer and stretched myself over that seed of potential.
Then something unexpected happened: it grew like I had dumped a bucket of Miracle-Gro on it.
I looked up the word afoot,even though I knew what it meant, and gaped at the definition: in the process of development. Signs from the Universe seemed to be smacking me upside the head. And my old friend Change continued to follow me around and smirk while I tried to nurture my little seed of potential that I had neglected for so long.
Then I heard it, just last week, loud and clear, as if Change was standing in front of me with a bullhorn. One phrase came crashing down on me.
Consider the acorn.
“The what?” I asked, scratching my head.
The acorn. Consider the acorn.
In a quandary as to what that was supposed to mean to me, I went "googling". While researching acorns I was overrun with two other loudly resounding thoughts.
At this point I thought, “Well, which is it? Potential or acorns?”
An acorn, in its infancy, knows nothing more than the branch, attached to the tree, that it belongs to. The tree is the scope of the universe for that acorn. But that acorn has a purpose, it has potential buried beneath its tough exterior and hard outer shell that's designed to protect its gifts. Every acorn contains one precious seed of potential. On rare occasions, an acorn is gifted with two seeds of potential. In either case, in order to accept these gifts into their beings the acorns must increase their capacity to receive. There are nutrients, life, vitality and nurturing to be received from the tree, otherwise those seeds wouldn’t be able to grow and flourish inside the acorn. Without the proper growth and nurturing, the seeds would never be ready to present their purpose to the world.
After the seeds are deposited, the acorn, in order to realize its potential, must forge its own path in order to bring forth its potential. Acorn seeds are not carried on the wind like other seeds. Small animals and birds harvest the acorns and carry them far distances to store them in dark places for long periods. But even in those dark holes -- where it would seem the potential has been lost and the purpose forgotten -- the precious seeds continue in silence and obscurity to increase their capacity to receive, never forgetting their great purpose.
There is a tall and mighty oak hidden inside that acorn, fighting to get out, to take root, to reach its limitless limbs to the sky and embrace its calling, realize its full potential and give the world its gifts. Eventually there comes a day when the seeds are ready to fully harness their great potential and are able to break free of the hard outer shell that served as protection for so long -- and the acorn knows the fight has not been for nothing. The oak is a symbol of strength and endurance in part, I believe, because of the acorns determination to survive and thrive and endure, despite all odds.
I thought of how it needed me to increase so that it could grow. But the thought I heard wasn’t just to increase, it was to increase your capacity to receive. That was when I realized I wasn’t feeding my seed of potential. I was expanding its room to grow, but I wasn’t feeding it the way the oak feeds the acorn. I wasn’t fully receiving the things I needed to receive in order for that seed of potential to grow in a healthy way.
Receiving isn’t something I’m particularly good at. In fact, after a lot of hard introspection I have discovered that I have some serious receiving issues. I have a hard time really taking in just about anything, whether it be help, compliments, well-deserved money for clients I have assisted, even love. Giving is no problem, I can give all day long (and often do), but what I’m realizing is that if you give, give, give all the time without any replenishment, then everything -- right down to your spirit -- gets worn out. And how can your precious seed of potential grow if all you do is give and don’t receive?
Even so, receiving is a stretch. If you aren’t used to it, it can even be uncomfortable. But maybe that’s the point -- to stretch yourself past what’s comfortable to make room for what’s coming. To really stretch yourself to give your seed of potential all that it needs to grow into its purpose. And I’m finding that some things have to go in order to stretch and make room and receive all the new things that my seed of potential needs. I’m learning, little by little, how to crack open that hard acorn shell and let my seed of potential emerge and greet the world with its gifts.
It is fitting for me, as I stand on the threshold of what is to come and leave what is past behind, that the oak tree in Celtic mythology is considered the tree of doors, believed to be a gateway between worlds, or a place where portals can be erected. In honor of this, I will pick up the next acorn I see and I will carry it with me through the door frames into the next passage of my life, and then I will plant it somewhere where it will flourish right alongside my own beautiful seed of potential.
And tomorrow and in the days to come, despite what has been and in anticipation of what will be, I will look ahead and I will consider the acorn.
What about you? Are you nurturing your seed of potential? Are you stretching, trusting and believing in your own inner purpose? Are you breaking out of your shell into the expansiveness of the oak that I know we all can be?
Cheering you on in your cracked wide open acorn potential life,
April Sweazy is a kick-ass acorn from Rochester, NY and is currently working on her first novel.
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