Seat yourself next to your joy.” — Rumi

We all have to start somewhere. Truth is, the beginning is often the hardest part of any worthy project, whether we’re talking about writing books, designing clothes, breaking a habit, or plotting a garden. Before we can meet a deadline or plant the first seed, we have to face the proverbial blank page or fallow field.

So what the heck is stopping us?

Always a good excuse: kids to raise; dogs to walk; bathrooms to scrub; naps to take; debts to pay; day jobs that wring us dry. Fear can be a factor, too — fear of failure or fear of success. Maybe we can’t top the last amazing thing we did. Maybe our friends and families will resent our attempts to bloom or grow or shine (as if there’s never enough good stuff to pass around the table). Maybe someone will point out our mistakes and try to shrink us back down to size. Or maybe we’ll have to break free from the sweet safety of an old comfort zone.

Rumi’s poem challenges us to forget the excuses — and to weed the naysayers from our gardens. We’re called to do what makes us happy. To wake up and begin, right now. — CL


By Jalal al-Din Rumi; translation by Coleman Barks

This is now. Now is. Don’t
postpone till then. Spend

the spark of iron on stone.
Sit at the head of the table;

dip your spoon in the bowl.
Seat yourself next to your joy

and have your awakened soul
pour wine. Branches in the

spring wind, easy dance of
jasmine and cypress. Cloth

for green robes has been cut
from pure absence. You’re

the tailor, settled among his
shop goods, quietly sewing.

–Reprinted from The Soul of Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (HarperCollins); 2001

— Garden photo by Cindy La Ferle —