One of my favourite things about our new apartment is the big south facing window that overlooks the communal garden. At one point in time, someone put a lot of care and attention into making this a magnificent space with beehives, water features that cascade into a pond and a dedicated bird feeder area. However, over time the garden has become neglected and nature has taken over – making it into a small patch of wilderness in North London. The garden attracts lots of wildlife, and I have spent the past few weeks watching countless squirrels, different kinds of birds and neighbourhood cats all hang out in this space.
After my meditation and reading this morning, I took up my usual spot at the window to check out what was going on outside. Then something strange happened. I noticed some movement in the green pond below. Now, I had been looking at this green pond for three weeks and hadn’t seen any fish or creatures hanging out there before, so assumed it was empty of animal life. But all of a sudden, a toad popped its head out of the water and started bobbing around.
I believe that animals send us signs, and bring us messages that we need to hear. So this being my first (ever!) sighting of a toad, and coming straight after my meditation, I knew there was an important message for me to share.
Toads symbolise inner strength and luck. They are a reminder to look within ourselves, to see where in our lives we are being held back by forgetting our own inner strength. To see where we might ‘change’ our luck by using our inner resources where before we were not.
However – and this is important – inner strength doesn’t mean that you push, fight and rely on gritted determination to succeed. It is not the strength of your mind or willpower that is being referred to here in the toadie wisdom.
For years I relied on ‘false’ inner strength. Using my mind, my willpower and sheer determination to push my body and my soul into places it didn’t want to go, while striving for someone else’s definition of success. I thought that if I couldn’t use my willpower to push through, then I was weak. And so I pushed, and pushed until my body had enough and I had a mental breakdown. At 22 years old.
It was in the doctors office, where I was broken and defeated and so weak I could barely move that I realised… I had got it all wrong. I couldn’t rely on my ‘own’ strength of my mind (clearly). Yes, there was (and is) source of infinite strength inside me but I was pulling it from the wrong place.
True inner strength does not come from the mind, but from the heart.
True inner strength is where you go within yourself to find the source of infinite energy and support from which you can freely draw on. It becomes the wings that lift you up and carry you through life’s challenges. This source of strength will never run out, there is an endless supply on tap, ready for you to drink in.
True inner strength isn’t about determinedly sticking it out and getting through. True inner strength gives us the courage to ask the question: Is this the right path for me.
True inner strength isn’t about pushing and forcing and fighting. True inner strength is about surrendering and allowing ourselves to be in the flow, instead of struggling against the current.
Where in your life have you been relying on the strength of your mind instead of the strength of your heart?
Where have you been pushing where you could be allowing?
What would change if you moved from using the resources of your mind, to the resources of your heart?
Love and toadie wisdom,