• Kirstin

In Search of Mustard Seeds

This is not the blog post I intended to write.

If you’ve been following my Instagram lately, I’ve been taking a tour of the 10 Sparketypes in preparation for my mini-course that starts on Sunday the 13th. I wanted to write more about the Sparketype work and how it’s shaped me.

But the past week or so has been challenging given some setbacks, and what’s really on my heart is my favorite Buddhist story, which I first read over 20 years ago.

I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version of Kisa Gotami’s story, but you could read the longer version here. Kisa Gotami’s in-laws did not treat her well, and it was only after she gave birth to a son that her status in the family was elevated. She adored her son, but her joy was destroyed when he died of a snake bite. Distraught, she wandered throughout the village carrying her son’s body, imploring anyone to give her medicine to bring him back to life.

A villager recommended she visit the Buddha, who instructed her to visit every house in the city and bring him back a mustard seed from any home that death had not visited.

Kisa Gotami did as she was told, but instead of collecting any mustard seeds, all she heard were each household’s stories about death – in every house the story was different, but the grief was the same. Kisa Gotami returned to the Buddha empty-handed with the wisdom that the intention all along was for her to understand that life is impermanent, and death is inevitable.

Or, at least that is the understanding for which the story is heralded.

Right now, I have a different take. Far be it for me to suggest what the Buddha was trying to teach Kisa Gotami, but I believe the point was for her to get comfort and take solace in the understanding that she was not alone.

I needed this reminder last week, as I spiraled DEEP into the “Why me?” hole and kept coming up short when trying to find the meaning of my situation (note to self: you don’t “find” the meaning; you MAKE the meaning).

I’m an Introvert – capital “I” intended – and a guarded one at that. Admitting I’m struggling and asking for help are HARD for me. But life has a way of leveling us – of teaching us the lesson we most want to resist. My baggage was too heavy to carry, so I had to check it. I shared my story and heard similar ones from others. I reached out to my support team (including my coach). I made a plan to move forward.

If you’re in search of mustard seeds, I hope you do the same.

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