What did you think when you saw each of these photos? I bet you never thought that they were elements of a tree. A Madrone tree to be exact. These were photos I took a few weekends ago when we were out driving around and got out of the car for a moment to walk the dogs.
Things never appear to be exactly what they look like on the surface. When I soak in my tub and stare out at the trees, I see patterns in the leaves and branches. I see faces; Indians with great feathers. I see smiling faces and sometimes sad faces. I squint and see things that I know are trying to be seen "if only" someone would notice. Well...I notice. I see things in nature that some people don't. That is my gift I think.
"All nature loves an honest person. He need not run after things; they will run after him."
Sri Swami Satchidananda
Russell Simmons says in his book "Super Rich" that "Every one of us has a unique gift that they'd like to share with the world." So true. One of my gifts is this blog. I feel creative here. I feel connected and alive. I learn things from others and I hope that in some way I inspire others too.
I have thought long and hard about my blog, about the photos that I take, about the poetry and words that I write, and about what my message (my gift) is and if I want to keep sharing it or let it drop off the face of the earth as though it never meant anything. I think that I have something to say. I think, like Sri Swami Satchidananda, that all nature loves an honest person. I AM AN HONEST PERSON. Honest to a fault most often. I will not let one or two people who look at my blog dissuade me from being my authentic, honest self. I have value. I have worth.
My friend Karen of "Maggie's Secret Garden" wrote some beautiful words to me today that I would like to share with those of you whom I consider "friends" here on my blog. She wrote this:
"...continue expressing as you do so eloquently with love and share your life with the friends you have made here on the blog. Go on being Teri...the beautiful spirit that you are...continue to come from a place of love in your heart and the universe will take care of the rest."
Thank you Karen! If you didn't live so far away I would drive, run, or walk over and give you a hug. You ARE a dear friend to me. I value your friendship, your words, your sharing. You inspire me, you point me in directions that I never knew existed, you make me perk up and think about possibilities that I never thought of before, and you "get me". What more can someone ask for really!
This fits perfectly into the lesson I heard in church yesterday. The lesson was on The Four Noble Truths and Buddha. Basically this:
- Living brings suffering
- Suffering is caused by clinging to impermanence (and everything is impermanent).
- Freedom from suffering comes from freeing ourselves from clinging and attachment (basically learning to detach).
- To find this freedom we must follow a path of practice.
The rest of the lesson went on to say: How can you be compassionate and detached at the same time? This seems like a contradiction Pastor Mark said. And, can we appreciate a person even when they don't act the way we want them to? Good questions Mark. I love how your message on Sunday always is EXACTLY what I am wrestling with and need to hear.
The answer I heard: LOOSEN UP OUR GRIP TO MAKE ROOM FOR OTHER POSSIBILITIES. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. RELEASE THEM WITHOUT REJECTING THEIR WORTH.
Even though things are not always the way they appear, I can continue to "go on being Teri" and "expressing". And, as Mark pointed out too, I can "release them". And follow a path or practice.