The Message of the Rocks



I feel like I have been between a rock and a hard place far too many times. In fact, a year or more ago I went hiking with some friends and literally perched myself between a rock and another rock. Being between a rock and hard place to me is not a good spot to be in, but I do find comfort in rocks regardless. There is just something so reassuring about the smoothness of river rocks. You know that the refreshing water has smoothed away the roughness and the flaws. The rocks may even have a bit of sheen to them perhaps a reflection of the light.


My grandfather was an artist and he painted rocks for me before painting rocks was in fashion and they always had tidbits of positivity and humor. If you think about rocks, they are a metaphor for strength, resilience, and durability. In fact, rocks can even mean excellence as in, “You rock!”


Going back a few months in my memory, I was able to take a stand-up paddle board yoga class and I saw the coolest thing. I was told that some unknown person leaves messages with the rocks in the river. Signs of peace and fearlessness. I like to leave painted rocks on my hikes as I think it gives a surprise to someone’s day. In fact, a fellow hippie found two rocks on a fairly recent walk. The rocks reminded her of two important thoughts. One was to “laugh” which totally makes sense since laughter is the best medicine.

The other message was that “Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.” To me this sends a message that many of us need to hear. We all fail at some time in some area. It is part of life. Whether it was caused by a poor decision, lack of effort or just plain bad luck, it does not matter if there was failure. It is temporary like a bruise. It will fade. Failure is about how you handle it and move on.


But, rocks can also teach us something else. In the words of Eckhart Tolle, “We have forgotten what rocks and plants still know – we have forgotten how to be – to be still – to be ourselves – to be where life is here and now.” What does that actually mean? Be still. Don’t focus on failures. Don’t focus on negativity from the past. Don’t focus on worry about the future. Breathe in the here and now. Just be. Acceptance. Release. Peace. Calmness. Hope.



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