I remember when I was studying in the USA in the mid 1990’s and one of the favourite words we were given was the word PONDER. We were asked to ponder on so many different things that helped us grow and support our learning. This was over 20 years ago now and even though I knew the word it was not one that I was used to using. Roll on 20 years and I now find myself using it more and more often.
Even though I knew the word, it was the depth of the word I did not understand which with time has become more prominent in my life. So, may I ask you what pondering is all about for you or are you a bit like I was, wondering and misunderstanding where it could take me?
think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion. “I pondered the question of what clothes to wear for the occasion”
The origin of ponder is a Middle English word from a French word ponderer, first known in the 14th century coming from the Latin ponderare which means to weigh.
For me, to have the luxury to sit and ponder on my life and reflect on where it has taken me, the people I have met or gone into some sort of relationship with are who have supported me to become who I am.
I wonder if you ever think of how your life may have been different if you had never met a particular person. I ponder often on what individuals have brought to my life, always in a way of learning and or self-reflecting. We are mirrors to each other and what we see in another is what we see in ourselves.
Related: “As I Sit and Ponder …”
Learning to ponder on one’s family, the lessons and characters that are within it, are what has created us to be who we are through the values and belief initially given to us as children. What learnings have you had that have served you or not served you in your adult life? I feel so very grateful that I am able to say that there is nothing that came from my family that has been a negative in my life. Everything in my early learnings have served me well and given me a stable foundation to live by. Unfortunately, for many, this has not been so.
The big lessons on life I have learned have been from outside the family. These were not always positive from my perception but indeed they served me well in my learnings. My personal relationships have taught me much about what I want, do not want, what I like and do not like and what I have chosen and not chosen to be or follow. These have been the significant learnings that I have been able to use in my life to become a better me.
Having come from a very established honourable family where honour, trust and integrity were what life was about, I struggle today at the lack of this in the world at large. I feel grateful and humbled by the people who taught me my early values and contemplate often about how these virtues, that have served me so well, are so missing in today’s world.
Related: “Reflecting on what life has been”
I remember my grandmother used to ‘chew over’ things, another synonym for ponder, and I used to think it a strange word to use. As the generations change so does the language we use to represent all things in life. Meditation has become a word that is used more often today (mediate is another synonym for ponder) which people associate with sitting cross legged on the floor and sitting in silence. We can meditate anywhere at any time by just being with something eg the river, the air, a flower. It is what happens with the thoughts during this moment in time that is important. It is the taking one into silence and non-thought without the continuous mind chatter that happens until one learns to quieten the mind.
As we question and deliberate on life, and it’s meaning for us, we can only imagine from our own experiences. Life will ebb and flow continuously for us all and knowing how to move through these experiences is what will give us in time the peace we all search for. It is all within and learning that is the first step to understanding the greater.
No matter where your beliefs lie we are all searching for the same thing, an inner peace that will show us the true meaning of being mentally and spiritually at peace. This gives us peace of mind or an inner calmness that will support us with enough knowledge to keep strong in the face of any discord or stress.
This is harder than anything else to live. We can get glimpses of it or hours and sometimes days of it if we are alone, but whilst we are around life and with others it becomes harder. Learning to stand apart from the world whilst in it is the challenge that faces us all. Having total self-acceptance is the answer if we can be it!
I now recognise why I am so at peace in the country without the noise of people around me. To be able to sit with nature, listen to the birds, feel the breeze swaying the branches gently of the trees around me whilst watching the butterflies make their way from plant to plant, seeing the river meandering along its course and the reflections of the clouds moving overhead. This is my paradise and how I meditate and ‘be’.
Related: “Is Self-Reflection Good For You?”
When I am in the city I reject the inner calm as a result of my busy and overloaded life, which is what I have created. For the first time I am reflecting and recognising that my life needs more open spaces and fresh air away from the busyness of my city life. I say thank you with gratitude for the awareness of what is wrong in my life and why I find I can only live it for so long before my health is affected. I was born to be in the open spaces where I can contemplate more on what I am able to bring to this world as a result of the challenges and learning so far on my journey.
As I reminisce on life I realise there needs to be changes that only I can change. It is now time to ponder on how I can make this a reality by exploring all the avenues that will open up with time and space.
May your journey of pondering do the same for you in your travels.
Jennie is available for one-on-one sessions via Skype or in person.
For more information email her at firstname.lastname@example.org