I went to the local botanic gardens today for the first time in nearly three months. I do some of my best thinking there, or non-thinking, as the case may be. I knew today would be special when within the first few minutes of being there, I was approached by a hummingbird, who decided to fly off when I tried to get my camera around for a picture. I wasn’t disappointed.
The cultivated area of the garden is changing. The old director left and late last year, and a new one was brought in. The new one seems intent on removing almost all of my favorite plants, and several beds that were lush with plants last year are now sparsely planted with mostly mulch visible. The natural woodlands area is still much the same.
As I was walking through the woodland area today, I was reflecting on Taoist philosophy. Taoism is a philosophy that studies the relationships, patterns, and changes in and with nature. It also espouses the idea that since humans are part of nature, those same relationships, patterns, and changes are reflected in us, both physically and personality wise. It covers cycles like days and years, birth, growth, death, and decay, and rain and sun.
I was also thinking about the book The Shadow Effect. While there are parts from Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, it’s always been Debbie Ford’s material that I come back to. The entire thrust of the book is that we repress parts of ourselves for whatever reason, and that to achieve wholeness, we need to bring those parts out of the shadow and acknowledge them.
Today that all came together for me. I figured out that when I’m at the gardens, I am a whole person. I must confess that at times I focus too much on what needs to change, what isn’t working, what’s going wrong. As I was walking, I noticed the trees in the forest. They’re standing there, in part, because there are leaves decaying on the forest floor, decomposing back into dirt that will then feed the tree. What a great analogy for our ‘imperfections’: they are there to breakdown and eventually feed us and make us stronger.
Each and every one of us is a forest – a cycle of life in itself. We are the trees, we are the leaves decaying, we are the insects that live in them. We are the worms that break things down farther, we are the water that washes the nutrients into the soil, and the roots that pull the water and nutrients back into the tree. We are the nuts and berries the birds eat, and we are the birds. We are the sky and the sun and the clouds. We are the brutal heat of summer, the cooling nights of autumn, the coldness of winter, and promise of spring. We are all of it and more.
When we hide part of ourself, or hate part of ourself, we discount the importance of that part of ourselves. Every part of us is important, and we ignore that at our peril. Each of us is perfect and imperfect, at the same time. If you would truly change yourself, you must first accept yourself as you are now. How would your life change if you accepted yourself as you are? Are you on the path to self-acceptance?
I flitted with a hummingbird
danced with a butterfly
slithered with a lizard
sang with the birds
was serenaded by cicadas
stood with the trees
flowed with a river
and was warmed by the sun.