(Continued from The Sacred Garden)
I have been feeling low energy the last couple of weeks. Perhaps it is just the end of winter and I am a bit like a tropical flower that is challenged by the colder seasons. It is more likely that I have been working too hard, a knee-jerk reaction to feeling that I need to catch up for time I spent bedridden this past year. So I started to push rather than flow.
My pushing came strikingly to mind last week as I was doing my bi-weekly swim to help heal my spine. I started to feel really pumped and proud that I was swimming faster than everyone in the pool. I suddenly noticed that I could feel an acidic fluid rush through my cells with each stroke, as the reptilian part of my brain was getting fixated on how “special” I was because I was faster and therefore “better” than others.
Being a meditator, I took note when the constrictive consciousness arose through me and started to feed my cells with toxic ego boosters. I then returned to what feels more natural and joyful to me: to use the swim as a meditation practice flow, rather than trying to push the river. (Of note, I swim much faster, with more grace and less fatigue when I am channeling a joyful dolphin rather than a predatory shark.)
Yesterday, I was feeling particularly tired. I have been putting in extra hours to prepare for a mini-holiday soon, convincing myself I needed to do more now because I will rest then. But that never works. Nature has a way of reminding us that we need to live in balance.
So as some alarm points in my body started to flare, I shared my feelings with my partner who said to me that he knew exactly what I needed, and asked if I would trust him to bring me somewhere special as a surprise.
A challenge for my friends, family and partner is the fact that I am intuitive, so it’s hard to treat me to a surprise. Within seconds of his offer, a flash before my mind’s eye showed me exactly where he wanted to go. I told him that his choice felt perfect, so off we went.
DELIGHT OF BEING
Thirty minutes later I was walking into the thick, moist air of a lush, tropical greenhouse in the center of downtown Toronto. If I had fairy wings, they would have started to tingle and flutter in delight. It was as though my aura was sparkling, saying hello to all the plants. I could feel my entire being, mind, body, heart, soul, spirit come alive, just by being in the presence of vital, well cared for and happy nature. I inhaled the life force that was all around me. As every part of me started to relax, root and expand, I felt that I was home.
We sat for some time under a banana tree and watched the children play. One young girl, about eight years old, was helping her younger brother with Down’s Syndrome experience great excitement as he jumped off a rock a foot off the ground. You could see that for him, he was jumping off a great cliff and achieving a mighty success with each leap of faith. For her, her heart sang with the pure joy of serving the child’s obvious joy. It was a beautiful display of our human potential.
I watched as people walked through the doors from the concrete city and melted in wonder at the green landscape dappled in a multi-coloured floral array. Their worries seemed to float away, frowns softened, smiles opened. Delight was inevitable.
Tears started to well into my eyes and roll down my cheeks. It was just so beautiful. I was opening, softening, healing, just like they were. I could see myself in the faces of those who walked into the green sanctuary. I could see the way my own heaviness fell away as I walked into this world of natural beauty.
I also felt a grief arise in my heart due to the weight I have allowed myself to carry, the ways I get swept up into the details of life and can feel separate from my joy. It was as though I had allowed my inner flower to be squashed by the perceived heaviness of “to do’s”. With each tear, I could feel that I was laying all that weight down at the feet of the mighty flowers.
It is true that the urban world is also part of Nature as a whole, but the world built by man is for the most part burdened with layers of our ego, our sense of effort and separation and the drive for personal gratification. This natural sanctuary, by contrast, within the city built by us, was like a church for me and clearly for others too. Nature’s pure beingness was a reminder of our true nature, the simplicity of being, the interconnection of all things, the wisdom of life unfolding one beautiful breath at a time. How easy in the city it is to start believing in the solidity of the concrete buildings, the way they hold on, their rigidity, rather than being like the organic life we can see in a forest or garden – the organic life we are.
My partner and I walked through the garden. As I came upon fresh spring flowers, all feeling of heaviness vanished. I felt like space, rooted, dancing, present. I was those flowers and they were me. I was nature and nature was me. I felt like the flowers spoke to me in their vibrational language and said: “Be. You are beauty. Be. You are joy. Be. I am.” Their effortless beauty and joyful presence reminded me of my true nature. How complicated we can make life! How complicated the mind can be! There were these exquisite works of art sculpted by Nature’s perfectly balanced hand, effortlessly being.
The flowers are. They are not trying to be. In their presence, there is healing. They are not writing about being. They are.
As we sit quietly with the flowers, we sense the wisdom there. The wisdom does not shout. It does not compete with the noise of the city. It is. It is confident, surrendered and eternal.
I leave you today with a simple request: go spend some time with flowers this week. If you live in a Northern city, there is surely a greenhouse within reach on public transit. If you live in a Southern climate (where I will be visiting soon), lucky you — go find the flowers in the wild. However you find them, be with them. Do not wait till next week or the following. Do it now. And let your inner imagination be drawn into them.
The little girl in me came to life as I saw the children in the greenhouse play in a magical world of wonder. I ended up describing to my partner my ideal house, how it would be in a greenhouse. He said it would be great to have a greenhouse in the house. I said, no, the house is a greenhouse. The bedroom would be up a ladder above the trees, the living room near the wishing well, the kitchen near the tulips and my music studio near the lemon trees. Why not?
(Continues tomorrow with some wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh)