A friend reached out this a.m. after reading St Therese’s prayer. She has lost both her parents in the last few months. We chatted a bit about grief and asking for strength. She commented she wasn’t sure who she was talking to in her head, but that traditional beliefs did not have a presence in her life right now.
Completely understandable, we don’t feel very spirited in the wilderness.
It got me to thinking…
Faith. Does it matter what you are having faith in, or just that you are choosing to believe?
And which feels better right now– to project hope into a future positive possibility or to fear the worst?
Faith is seeing possibilities, not just problems. (What is a problem solver anyway? I think it’s just someone that believes in possible solutions.)
A student I was working with was asked to write a top ten list.) He chose trees. It made me think of the trees of my life, particularly of my youth.
There was “the tree” which was the center piece of our neighborhood. A majestic willow where we gathered daily- to climb , swing, linger in the shade. One day it collapsed into the road. A small miracle none of us was in it, 50 feet above the road as we often were.
I thought of manatees and mangroves and an old and wild Florida which today is hard to picture.
And the two story ficus trees in the interior courtyard of my childhood home.
And in my adult life- aspens- my favorite. One giant interdependent organism with a complex root system that grows laterally under ground, reminding us of the strength and beauty found with interdependence.
I love em all, for their beauty, their bounty, their grounding energy.
Also love this passage from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: Fear, (Essential Wisdom for Getting through the Storm.)
You want a cool meditation? Pay attention to a tree. Watch it weather the seasons of life. Take note.
A Meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh's book: Fear, (Essential Wisdom for Getting through the Storm.)
“When you look at a tree during a storm you see that its branches and leaves are swaying back and forth violently in the strong wind. You have the impression that the tree will not be able to withstand the storm. You are like that when you are gripped by a strong emotion. Like the tree, you feel vulnerable. You can break at any time. But if you direct your attention down the trunk of the tree, you see things differently. You see that the tree is solid and deeply rooted in the ground. If you focus your attention on the root of the tree, you realize that the tree is firmly rooted in the soil, it cannot be blown away.
Each of us, in a sitting position, is like the tree. When the storm of your emotion is passing by, you should not stay in the thick of the storm, the level of the brain or the thick of the chest. When you are overwhelmed by strong emotions, don’t stay there– it’s too dangerous. Bring your focus down to your navel- that is the trunk, the most solid part of yourself-and practice mindful breathing. Become aware of the rise and fall of your abdomen. Doing this in a stable position, such as the sitting position, you feel much better. Just breathe. Don’t think of anything. Breathe through the movement, the rise and fall of your abdomen. Practice in this way for ten, or fifteen minutes, and the strong emotion will pass on through.”
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