I just got an email from a friend who is a really good man. He just wanted to share a bit of joy with me that he experienced this week: An orchid that he’s had for over a year without any sign that it was ever going to bloom has started to show a little bud, and, at the same time, a poinsettia he’s had since Christmas 2011 is starting to bloom after over a year as well. My friend is very humble, so, again, he just sent the pictures to share the joy, but I see so much more in the beauty of these delicate flowers: his patience, his love, his care, and his perseverance. He didn’t give up on these plants, plants that I would have long thrown out as they had served their “purpose,” as they were useless as decoration or seasonal accessory. My friend saw these plants are something in his care, and he took that role seriously. Nature rewarded him for it, beautifully . . .
Today I was in a really bad mood–I mean, REALLY. The kind when you’re mad at everybody for everything. SCREAMING mad. (Felt like I was played for a fool by a client, but I won’t get into that here, wouldn’t be cool . . .). Anyway, what typically works if I can get my duff in gear is to get outside, hike, walk, whatever. Well, today, I went for a bike ride through the vineyards with my husband instead to blow off steam. There was still plenty there, believe me, and when he wanted to stop to take a picture for his blog, I just about blew my top. SH*&. Don’t wanna stop. Hrrrrrrrr. Mpfhhhhh. Grrrrrr. Reluctantly put my bike down in the grass by the side of the road and looked up . . . and here is the picture that unfolded before my eyes:
The lush green grass and the shade of the olive trees beckoned me to come sit. I sat and leaned against the first tree in the row and took a deep breath, inhaling the goodness of the earth, the smell of clean dirt after a misty rain, the new growth of spring. Ahhhhhhhh. Everything was so gentle, so good, so real.
I’m better now. Thank you, Mother Earth, for holding me so tenderly in your arms and reassuring me in gentle whisper that yes, all is as it is meant to be.
I took a few photos, and this one to the right is of what appeared to be a peach tree (I looked at peach blossoms in google images, and that how I think I know . . .). Because it was a little blurry, I chose the “rough pastels” filter out of all of the artistic filters in Photoshop to get a look that I liked. It actually feels wrong to mess with nature, as the blossoms are so perfect, but I’m not “messing with nature,” I’m just playing, inspired by the great beauty of today. Thank you, Mother Nature, for your gift.
Hmmh. Introspection time again. Fessing up time, to be more correct. Today I actually was stupid enough to go looking for the gift of inspiration. STUPID. I was up on a mountain, Mt. Tam to be specific, and gazed over the panorama unfolding in front of me. “Oh, this would be a great shot for my ‘inspiration’ blog,” I thought to myself. Here it is:
Nice, huh? Yeah. And then I thought–WITHOUT FEELING–“now I’ll go looking for a little green leaf and take a picture, and then I have something brilliant to write into my blog, such as ‘the gift of inspiration can come in many sizes, large and small . . .’ and there’s my super-duper blog entry.”
Didn’t find the leaf though, felt rushed, expected something to just pop out at me, got a little stressed because we were on a time limit . . . bla, bla, bla. Corny is not inspiration. Pre-meditation, planning for inspiration–Does not work. Ridiculous.
Where is my authenticity? Inspiration is a gift. One that is freely given when one is PRESENT enough, authentic enough, at peace enough, to receive it. Going and looking for it–not gonna work. Not even for an assignment, much less a grade.
When I was working at a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Program, one of their amazing addiction counselors shared a story with me that was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard. It is the story of love, of grace, of gratitude, and in that, a story of inspiration and the greatest beauty in life. It is called “The Window on the Heart” by Kent Nerburn, and you can read it here. It is part of his book Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life.
One of the reasons I love this story so much is that it reminds me of the beautiful gifts I receive many mornings when I step out and walk up the mountain a ways to where our dear big dog Bear is buried. Standing there, I take a deep breath and become present not by the nature that surrounds me but by the memory of the sweet, loyal, unconditionally loving dog Bear, feeling how much he would’ve loved to have been here this morning with me. Gently, as if guided by a loving heart, I begin noticing the grass swaying in the morning breeze, the sun gently extending over the sea of fog. Another day, and I get to be here. This is my window. I am alive, in love.