"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

Growing Toward the Light

In the final week prior to departing our home of 20-years in Crystal Lake, Illinois, we’d almost completely packed the kitchen and ate our meals out or picnic style.

Sitting perfectly still in what seemed like tranquil meditation, an onion remained on the counter. Similar to a novice monk, it began with a tiny spark. In the onion’s case, a small green sprout at its crown. But with time and considerable growth, it leaned — with gentle ease — toward the bright, sunny kitchen window.

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Are you growing toward the light?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Comments on: "Growing Toward the Light" (78)

  1. Lovely, Laurie.

  2. Moving to our house here in Virginia felt like moving toward the Light. I sat on my meditation pillow in front of the window this morning and listened to the rain. Even when clouds cover the mountains, light exists, and I can lift my eyes toward it.

  3. I hope to soon be able to do just what you have done, sell my long time home and take a spin elsewhere! Thank you for showing that it can be done with grace! Happy Tuesday.

    • Wildflower Women – Do your research (climate, income tax rate, property tax rate, crime rate, cultural offerings, etc.) then stick your stake in the ground and claim it, and be prepared to go with the flow :)

  4. very profound ! I am just beginning to burst forth from the earth! I feel the warmth of the light shining more and more!

  5. I love how your onion is reaching to the light. As I am getting stronger, with the help of yoga I find that the light is always in front of my.

  6. Love this post, Laurie as I too have been mesmerized by the baby onions I planted in my outdoor planter almost 2 weeks ago, stretching for the light as well.

  7. I am studying the angels now. Very en”lightening”! Indeed. And Moms marbles sparkle each morning with new light!

  8. I am in the light and growing every day.

  9. Well, I feel like the shrinking, dying onion below…
    But rejoicing as much as I still can in the sight of my children sprouting from within what I can still provide☺
    And, no I’m not happy with the “circle/cycle of life”, but since I can’t change that, carpe diem and delight in what’s left good in it…
    I guess that pretty much justifies my “defiant hopelessness” attitude, and blog title☺

  10. Yep! I’m also aware of the light within me that grows when I take time to connect with my Middle Ground…
    The onion seeks the earthy ground for rootedness though!
    I love your metaphors and analogies :)

  11. Laurie, Ha! You know I love this! All plants and creatures, great and small, will gravitate to the light at some point. Some love it better than others, some must seek shade to survive. I have watched in amazement as the huge head of a Sunflower will turn on it’s very strong neck-stem to follow the Sun from Dawn until it settles into the West in the course of the day. I grow and stretch to the Light, some days more effectively than others, but never am I satisfied to live in darkness. Thank you for this wonderful illustration!

  12. What a lovely metaphor. A wonderful start to my Tuesday morning! I tend to only think of onions in terms of ‘peeling away the layers’. Growing towards the light is a whole new perspective because we tend to store them away from the light.

    • Thea – I, too, love the “peeling away the layers” analogy. I’ve never yet learned to store our onions (or potatoes) in the darkness. I think it’s because we gobble them up so darned fast :)

  13. I like to think so Laurie, I surely do – just like that onion! :)

  14. Love your new blog header

  15. Simply beautiful, Laurie.
    Occasionally, I have to realign–but it is my goal. : )

  16. patricia60 said:

    The sun is just breaking through the clouds. Predicted 79′ today, 80′ and 82′ the following days. Then back to 60s and rain. I got out my deck chair, Vitamin D. Here I come.!

  17. Oh, I sure hope so! One thing we have lots of here near the equator is sunshine. I suppose there can be such a thing as too much light too? Not sure. Sometimes we need the dark in which to hibernate, as well.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Kathy – Yes indeed! For instance, we needed one last winter in the greater Chicagoland area to really-and-truly appreciate the temperate climate of Boise, Idaho. The dark gives us a sense of appreciate for the Light :)

  18. Beautiful! I trust I’m turning toward the light, slowly.

  19. chelharris said:

    Hi lovely Laurie ,
    That gorgeous little onion was so determined to survive . Please tell me did you use him????
    I am not in the slightest bit mean but I hate waste . That little fellow would be in my tomato sauce tonight …no trouble .
    Hope your all settled in your new area .
    Cherryx

  20. Florida isn’t called the sunshine state for nothing. I love the light in the morning through our bedroom window and later as it glints off the flowers in my little patio garden. God is light!

    Cliff almost wrecked our car once when he was observing light reflections. Ha! My scream helped.

    I love how light draws all living things toward itself. Great post, Laurie. I will Tweet it. Favorite lines: “Similar to a novice monk, it began with a tiny spark. In the onion’s case, a small green sprout at its crown. But with time and considerable growth, it leaned — with gentle ease — toward the bright . . . “

    • Marian – I’m glad you resonated with this post; thank you for letting me know. (I’ve screamed a time or two at Len in the car as well; it saved our bacon) :)

  21. I’d like to think so! One thing I’ve always loved about where we live now is the way the light plays off the water and creates some sort of magic as it comes in our windows…

  22. Hope you are safe considering the terrible weather over the past few days. Your move sounds so controlled and serene. Bless your heart! We just moved and I couldn’t find underwear or deodorant for 48 hours.

  23. Oh yes, and began as a seed planted when I found HOME in Greenville, SC and growth poked its head out of the dirt when I moved here in November :-)

  24. Wonderful, Laurie. I am originally from the Chicago area and have been to Crystal Lakes many times! Growing, growing, growing, I am!

  25. I can honestly say that this is my goal! I find myself lighter and lighter with the practice of growing toward the light. What a great visual aid, Laurie! An onion. LOL! Debra

  26. Hi Laurie

    I find the control systems in living things fascinating. The physical and chemical mechanisms that make different plants and animals do what they do are truly amazing.

    Plants tend to have rather simple systems of growth, yet slight variations in patterns can have amazing differences in what we get to see.
    For most plants their major energy source is sunlight, and it is advantageous to many of them to spend some energy optimising their orientation to it. And any different species have many different long term strategies as to how they deal with light. Some move on an hourly basis (many creepers), some daily, and some grow in ways that optimise orientation on average over very long periods of many years (trees).

    As human beings, we have brains. Our brains have very few tendencies supplied by evolution that cannot be overridden by repeated experience or directed intention.

    For us, what we do will by default be largely given by the cultures of our childhood, yet we are each capable of changing any aspect of our orientation to anything by directing the highest levels of our intention.

    What we choose to do with our highest levels of intention is also often strongly influenced by the cultures of our childhood yet at more subtle levels of abstraction.

    Some cultures stress a similarity between love and light, some don’t.

    It seems to me that all individuals have a strong component of self interest, as well as a strong component of group cooperation. In some individuals the group cooperation component can be restricted to a very small subset of humanity (sometimes less than a handful of individuals) while in others it can include all of humanity or wider still to all sentient life; and most people cluster somewhere between those extremes.

    It seems clear to me that our long term personal self interest is best served when we identify with the largest group we can envisage on the longest time-scale we can, and make our best guess at taking the best choices on that basis. On average, over time, such choices appear to give the most optimal outcomes, and everyone is going to make mistakes along the way as no one has perfect knowledge of anything, least of all the long term consequences of current action. And the more we try it, the better we get at it.

    So for me, it seems that the “light” involves accepting that I am a highly evolved biological entity with a brain that is a general purpose computation entity, and I also come with a lot of abilities to enjoy this thing called existence. It appears that I can get the most out of existence by not resisting anything that is, and applying my creative energies broadly across the spectrum of outcomes from immediate needs of food, water, exercise and warmth to less immediate concerns of security and on out towards long term outcomes that benefit all sentience. This seems to involve me in a lot of time studying, reading, writing, and taking actions to develop various skill sets.

    That seems to be what most calls the sum of the experiences and choices in life that is me.

    • Ted – I particularly resonated with your observation:

      “For us, what we do will by default be largely given by the cultures of our childhood, yet we are each capable of changing any aspect of our orientation to anything by directing the highest levels of our intention.”

      And I admire the fact that by intent you FLOW:

      “It appears that I can get the most out of existence by not resisting anything that is, and applying my creative energies broadly across the spectrum of outcomes…”

  27. Laurie, I certainly would like to think there is some positive activity in the direction of that light, even if it’s along the line of the adage “there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” You have ably, in fact spectacularly defined how one keeps the light close at hand in several years at this site and yours has now re-situated in a new and magnificent environment. The very best to you and Len for many years! I suspect the weather will be far more cooperative now than it has been in the past.

  28. Crystal Lake. Brought a host of memories raining down. That was the name of the middle school in central Florida where I did my teaching internship. 1971.

  29. I certainly hope that I am Laurie!

  30. Bonnie said:

    I would love to move to Utah and the beautiful red rock and sun but stuck here in Illinois! Retirement however has allowed me to see beauty here every day (though often dreary & chilly) with walks every day by Lake Michigan! It opens me up and fills me with gratitude!
    Miss you being close by but thrilled you’ve made the move to such a beautiful place!

  31. I am so darned excited about your move! Although, suddenly, the light seems to be shining a tad less brightly down there Chicago-way when I image it. I always liked flying through there and feeling your Laurie-light. Am I growing toward the light? I think we’re all growing toward the light, although we don’t always realize it or embrace it or encompass it. Perhaps the light is waiting for us to realize that we are the light itself. :)

    • Kathy – I love your observation: “Perhaps the light is waiting for us to realize that we are the light itself.”

      Yes, indeed. We ARE an extension (reflection) of source energy – the Light :)

  32. What a great question! Lean toward the light, let the light in, light up the life of those around us. Those are the ways I hope I grow toward the light.

  33. I can’t tell you how many sprouting onions have graced my countertops! Glad I’m not the only one ;-). Hope you’re enjoying the NEW light at your new digs, Laurie.

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