I loved sheep. They are one of the most enjoyable domesticated farm animals. The lambs are fun to watch, as they playfully frolic in the fields. Natural sheep varieties come in many different colors and hues, which provide the best fleece for wool fibers and fabrics. Sheep are friendly, they can learn their names, and will respond to them, whether they are pets or wild stock.
For many reasons, there is significant sheep representation in language and symbology. We use expressions such as, the black sheep, to represent a different (sometimes rebellious) individual. Or we say a wolf in sheep’s clothing, to distinguish the dangerous person from a harmless one. Sheep figures were also used in mythologies, such as the Golden Fleece, where the rams were winged creatures with shining wool, and were symbols of authority and kingship. Sheep were also recognized and representative in major religions. In Christianity, The Good Shepherd’s sole focus was on His flock, and His priority was to attend to their needs and safety. Now, thanks to an amusing farmer in Scotland with a non-toxic dye, there is another remarkable image (rainbow-colored sheep) for which to adore and remember them!
The vibrant colors in this photo capture an exciting reminder that summer has arrived! With it always comes fun, adventure, beauty and hopefulness; I know I always feel optimistic in the summertime. I love the longer, brighter days, which increase my activity and positivism. Although we often think of spring as the time for “spring” cleaning, I find myself getting motivated in the summer to tackle projects, which often include the physical removal of dirt and clutter. But it is also an appropriate time to clean-out (as we do in spring, or summer, in my case) ourselves, emotionally and spiritually.
Everyone has baggage that needlessly gets carried around but there are things we can do to lighten our loads with some spring/summer-cleaning. When I was a youngster, I was taught that, in tennis, there is an unwritten rule: It is a responsibility that athletes have to one another. Each player agrees to play 50% of the time with someone who is better than him/herself and 50% of the time with someone who is worse. Playing tennis half of the time with a better athlete, strengthens our own games. We learn new strategies and moves, while we push harder to keep up with them. This allows us to eventually achieve successful results. In reverse, playing half of the time with lesser-level sports enthusiasts, allows them the same opportunities and benefits we receive when we associate with advanced players, because to the beginner, we are the better athlete.
It turns out, this is a wise rule to apply in life, especially as we try to spring/summer-clean. We have a responsibility to surround ourselves with positive people who uplift and inspire us. We can learn from their refreshing attitudes. The optimism is contagious, as we continually attempt to develop our own rosy outlooks. We can, also, choose tv programming, social media content, and books that make us smile and encourage us. Likewise, we all encounter friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, strangers, etc. who need the inspiration and positivism we have to offer. By observing our cheerful strategies and moves, they have the opportunity for improving their glass half-full perspective, thereby, bettering the quality of their own lives.
If we always remember to look for the silver linings in our storm clouds, we will be able to identify a higher purpose derived from our adversities. Looking for silver linings redirects a thoughtful reaction to hardships rather than a response of emotional outburst. Just like the athlete, we can ask ourselves what lesson it is that we might learn by pushing beyond the comfort zone to wrestle difficulties. We will become more creative problem-solvers if we rise to the challenge from an enlightened viewpoint. Maybe we need to learn patience or compassion, as we support others with their concerns. Living up to our responsibilities and looking for the silver lining assists us in releasing our own emotional baggage.
So, summer is in bloom. What dilapidated old bag would you like to toss? Now is the perfect time to clean off the dirt and grime to brighten your life’s scenery with a fresh new view of vibrant and colorful possibilities, just like the images of rainbow sheep!