I learned something valuable in my Fraternity days at the University of South Carolina besides how many beers are in a keg. (200 beers, if you need the math in a pinch.) What I learned was the value of having a meeting we called “roses and thorns.” It’s not some weird ritualistic thing, but something that any large organization filled with various personalities can benefit from.

I can tell you my Fraternity’s tiff wasn’t about how to buy more friends. However, I can’t recall the exact beef that was occurring, but the rules of the meeting were simple: You may bare the obvious grievances you’re having with one another, but you’ll also have to apply equal weight to things the “opposition” is doing correctly. So, the thorn is the apparent issue, or negative, and the rose is the positive part of the narrative. Positives are so easy to overlook and altogether ignore. We humans instinctually search for what’s wrong. What was becoming a tense situation in mid-90’s Fraternity life diffused as we discovered newfound respect for one another on our Hall, a.k.a. the Chapter House. This has obviously left a lasting impression on me nearly a quarter century later. We actually accentuated the positive, as the song goes, and grew as individuals and a collective in the process.

Aside from considering roses and thornsas an alternative practice to often pointless or disheartening business meetings, what can we, as individuals meeting ourselves, use this practice for? You don’t feel those business meetings are pointless, if not, at the very least, counter-productive? You’re likely the one running said meetings and your underlings are in no position to point out your lack of clothing.

Definitely digressed in the previous paragraph as I sensed somebody needed to hear it and I needed to say it. Back to the point: Consider the roses and thorns of your own life. Your family issues. The flaming bag of dog poo that may be your love life. The twenty pounds you MUST lose before you can truly enjoy the beach. A penchant for pithy passive-aggressiveness, no matter how clever your zingers. And yes, also the kindness dwelling within that doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. Tender patience for those more focused on being thorny. Charity for those less fortunate.

Notice in the above paragraph I began with the negatives—the thorns. This wasn’t by design; this is the nature we all deal with. Further, I had to really focus for the positives. Isn’t posting the video on Instagram for our first trip over the new Harbor Island bridge more important? Distractions. There are so many distractions to keep us from looking at the whole objectively. Shouldn’t we simply work hard and wait until all distractions have been destroyed, removed, and eliminated. NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Here’s why: The “distractions,” such as they are, will never be eliminated. That’s not the nature of this reality we live in. Look inside for a bit to know your truth of this statement. This isn’t a trap, it just is.

Should I have waited until I really felt “it” before writing this? Do you not think the blank page is intimidating to a writer? I can tell you that writing gets easier, more natural, but the bully that is the blank page never goes away. Maybe I should wait until I have more writing experience. Perhaps I should meditate to get a little channeled writing going on so it doesn’t have to be me. Maybe if my chakras were more aligned. Dang it, I need a new Lemurian crystal to really put this one on the map. Maybe a sturdy Kyber crystal for protection, while we’re at it. How bout if I got another Reiki certification or took classes for another modality? It’s endless and this leads to never me, no matter what, nope, not ready yet…

What I have been describing is the bugga-boo that haunts our existence if we allow it; if we choose to war against it in some manner. That bugga-boo is perfectionism. Perfectionism is one of the great hiding spots of the spiritual ego. Consider that last sentence for a second to connect with its truth for you.

The almighty P of perfectionism has thwarted many a great achievement like a spike-strip halts a getaway. Consider your life as a series of roses and thorns. We must cast out ALL the thorns before we can get to the roses, right? Really? When have you ever known life to work this way? (I’m speaking to myself as much as the readers here.) Maybe you can only see the thorns through your rose-colored glasses. Maybe you’ve always only seen thorns because that’s how Daddy operated life. When will you be truly ready? As a parent, I can tell you we’d never have kids if we waited until we were ready. As an aside, I just realized this is another way to look at karma. Does everybody really get what they deserve?

Back to the rose. Can we have a rose without the thorns? Nature doesn’t work that way. Life doesn’t work that way. We have to take the whole. We have to run, walk, or crawl with what we have at the moment.

Learn to have faith and believe in yourself. It’s definitely a learning process, but what else have we got to do? Citizenship to be mired in the nation of procrastination is always available. If we believe we’re all echoes of Source, which I feel we are, then perhaps this is a method of discovery of Source within that’s always been. What about terrible people? Mayhaps they’ve simply forgotten more of the other side than the rest of us. This isn’t a problem to solve, it’s a shift in state of mind—state of being. After all, perception is 9/10’s of the law.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion. That’s the process of waking up. Trying to understand a concept before you can move on to enlightenment is part of the agreed upon veil that is the Earth plane. Think about it. I gotta quote Matt Khan here: “Any conclusion is a form of delusion.” Let it be and you’ll see.