Do you ever feel like you are out of sync with everyone around you?
I do. Sometimes more than others. But more often than not, I feel a certain level of isolation that comes from not quite fitting in with the crowd.
But here’s the conundrum. I don’t really want to fit in with the crowd. I am not now, nor have I ever in my life, been pulled by the prevailing winds, nor motivated by what others thought of me, especially when it involves things that are out of alignment with my interests and values. And yet, not fitting in brings with it a vague, pervasive feeling of disconnection that can be unsettling.
As an artist and a writer, I came to a realization early in my life that the very powers that kept me from going along with everyone else were the powers that brought the clarity of vision and the courage to create in a way that was bold enough to be called art. Those are the powers that have molded my life, my work and my character.
This field of bluebonnets is breathtaking. The weathered rail fence is perfectly picturesque. This image would be beautiful with just those two elements.
But our eye is drawn to the bright, vivid Indian Paintbrush, effortlessly being its brilliant self, unintentionally uncommon in the middle of uniformity.
Be like that.
Your beauty is innate.
Let it shine.
I have been known to stop myself before I begin with a major undertaking. Especially if it’s a dream. In fact, the bigger the dream, the more likely I have been to not take the first step, because sometimes my idea of what the dream could be… or what I could be if I managed to accomplish it, seems so grand and so daunting that feels bigger than I. And accomplishing it seems so distant.
But the natural world makes no such drama of its path. The natural world simply moves forward at its own pace, in its own rhythm, in its own way. Worry, time, effort, what-ifs or fear of failure do not exist in Nature. It doesn’t require any courage. Nature is effortless in its creation and manifestation.
Thank goodness Nature does not judge itself the way we do. If this little river had thought about how long it would take to create this canyon, or worried about whether any trees would grow or if fish or birds would deem it worthy enough to swim in its waters or drink at its banks, maybe it would have just dried up and never meandered forward. If anyone had told this river that it would take hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of years, but one day, it would create and flow through one of the most magnificent canyons in Iceland, would it have been motivated or scared away?
Move in the direction of your dreams. The time is going to pass anyway. Don’t worry about how long it will take.
Be like the river.
One day, you’ll look up and you will have created something beautiful.
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
~ Chinese proverb
Photo: Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland by Valter Joannes
One year ago today my life changed in a way I never saw coming and definitely did not choose. To call it world shattering would be an understatement of epic scale. It broke my heart, crushed my spirit, destroyed my faith and changed me at a cellular level, and not in a good way.
But looking at this photograph, I am reminded, that whenever the sun is setting in one place, it is rising in another.
Is the sun rising on this bear, or setting?
The bear is in shadow, a mere silhouette, a contrast. It moves through space and time, surrounded by light, yet it carries the weight of its own darkness with it, and remains untouched by the Light.
It’s not about the bear.
It’s about the Light.
Photographer Kevin Morgans titled this image Sunset Bear.
I call it SBear.
We humans tend to think of ourselves as being pretty awesome. Smart, compassionate and endlessly creative. But compared with Nature, the reality is, we are more like cocky teenagers than the sages we consider ourselves to be. As individuals we don’t live long enough to experience a truly expanded perspective on the world nor witness the long term consequences of our own actions. Therefore, we never get a chance to really learn from the shortsightedness which becomes our mistakes. And with the youthful conceit of teenagers, when we see the horrors that previous generations have wrought, we think we would never do anything so stupid or terrible.
The fact is, we are very small. We are small and we are temporary. Unconsciousness and the need for immediate gratification can cause a great deal of long term damage.
Tread lightly on the earth, and in each others lives.
You have more impact than you realize.
Humans are meaning-seeking, meaning-creating creatures. Some of us are more “seekers” than others, to be sure, but all of us wonder at some point why things happened the way they did, if everything really does work out for the best, and what it all means, if anything.
Some things we manage to figure out and even understand. Other things remain a mystery forever.
Is it all good? No, not in my experience. Not by a long shot.
But maybe it is all valuable.
It is valuable if it deepens us. It is valuable if it expands us. It is valuable if it makes us more compassionate. It is valuable if it makes us wise.
Sometimes events in our lives are so difficult, even traumatizing, that it is extremely hard to find the value in them. But I believe it is worth trying. Otherwise, the bad guys win. And that’s just not ok.
So each year we give meaning to this day – January 1, the first day of a new year. It means fresh starts, new opportunities, and the chance to release the emotional and energetic grasp of events, circumstances and people who have caused us pain.
Today is the day to step out onto the pristine, unmolested, glistening powder of this new year, and move toward the Light.
Happy New Year, and may your courage be rewarded with Love.
The other day I was at one of my wholesale nursery suppliers buying plants for a big job I was doing in Frisco. It was crazy hot in the Texas sun, but armed with 100 SPF and a wide brimmed hat, I was systematically plowing through the greenhouses and the expansive lot with a long list of plants I needed. I was being helped by a great guy who works there whom I’ll call “Danny”.
“Danny” is about 27, a tall, good looking, totally ripped cowboy who grew up on a ranch in West Texas riding bulls, branding cows, pitching hay and doing all the things badass cowboys do. Every single answer he gave me was punctuated with either, “Yes Ma’am” or “No Ma’am”. Finally I said, “Seriously, you don’t have to call me Ma’am every time. Or really…. ever.”
“Sorry, Ma’am” he replied.
“You just can’t help yourself can you?”
Moving on, we walked through rows and rows of trees, looking for the perfect Japanese maple when I glanced over at Danny and saw there was a little spider crawling up his neck.
“Be still,” I said, “There’s a spider on you”, as I reached over to brush it off.
Danny blanched. He began to flail.
“BE STILL,” I said, “I’ve got it!”
Danny was trying to be cool, but was totally freaking out.
I swept the offending arachnid off his neck and repositioned it on a nearby tree branch while Danny hyperventilated.
“Thanks, Ma’am. Spiders freak me out.”
“No problem, Honey. I’ve gotcha covered. And you don’t need to call me Ma’am.”