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Photo Credit Cathrund

The other day I was walking in our lush Oregon woods, that are just now getting some good doses of sunshine after a rainy winter. There are many trees covered with bright green moss this time of year, which makes them look otherworldly.

As I looked at the trees bending this way and that, standing and falling, I felt sure they were doing yoga postures, focused and breathing into their many angles. I felt the trees holding the space for me and my own form, recognizing my desire to focus inward, to ride my breath, to move steadfast and unafraid like a peaceful warrior, rooted, with arms reaching wide and ready for anything.

As I walked I remembered when I wouldn't have seen the forest this way.

With deep humility I reflected back to those first subtle moments when something in me wanted to awaken; those first thoughts that wanted to find beauty in the juxtaposition of the seemingly powerful straight trees, beautiful and symmetrical with dense foliage, next to the seemingly weak, gimpy, crooked trees, half fallen, and decimated by bugs and disease. I remember those first moments wanting to find order in the disorder, to challenge the part of myself that judged the forest as lacking because of its unkempt and imperfect state.

I remember the first time I could see all of it: the straight trees and the straggly ones, the decay and death right beside the living. I remember how something within me showed me its beauty.

I remember how in these opposites I found a sense of peace and belonging.

I thought about how despite all the disorder, the trees had pierced the soil as tiny seedlings, and somehow they had weathered the wind, the rains, the electrical displays, the animals pecking the hell out of them, to become tall and towering, to become shelter, to become shade.

I remember how everything came alive for me, even the dead; how there was so much energy and movement happening right around me, how it had its own pulse and rhythm, that my limited perception hadn't been able to absorb.

I saw how a plethora of spring waters flowed wherever they pleased, making new roads for themselves, with no hesitation, no rules, always heading downward, with the least amount of effort.

I saw the animals not bothered by the mess, by eating bugs, by singing right in front of me.

I saw all of it exist together as perfection.

I saw myself.

I am all opposites: beautiful, ugly, tidy, messy, smart, dumb, experienced, naive, witty, mundane, energetic, lazy, hot, cold, giving, selfish, clean, dirty, joyful, sad, healthy, sick, loving, mean, safe, threatening, trusting, squelching, allowing, controlling, creative, dull, fun, boring, brave, scared, caring, violent, sensual, prudish, sexual, not in the mood, etc. etc. etc.

I am all of these. I am all of these.

I am blown and shaped by the winds and rains of my experience. I am nurtured and starved by the soil in which I live.

Let me meet me where I am.

Let me embrace all of my humanness.

Let me embrace all of my humanness, so that I might let go of identifying with this 'I' that wants to so focus on overcoming my humanness; that resists and feels limited by being human. Today, let me let go of focusing on how each of my branches has been or is being formed. Let me see the bigger picture. Let me see how all of these opposing forces are here and have always been here in all their splendor and darkness, in all of their rich contrast, to grow something bigger, that has nothing to do with the little 'I' trapped in a human experience.

Call this that I am growing what you will: soul, collective consciousness, hope, peace.

I call this process acceptance. I call it letting go of struggling with the is-ness of the the 'I', to uncover what has always been there, in the chaos of the world, in the death and dying, in the love and laughter: an everlasting and unconditional love for others and for self that when recognized changes all of experience.

It is remembering in every moment that our every thought creates our perception of the world. How we see and treat others can be changed by this shift, by not identifying with what the 'I' thought was ugly, by seeing how it could be beautiful too.

In accepting the 'I' just how it is. In accepting our humanness as part of the whole, the judgemental mind stops, the paralysis stops, the resistance to what is stops.

In these moments, I see with the heart. I see splendid color and texture. I look down on the path and see sparkles. I want to cry out to a passerby, Do you see these sparkles in the dirt here? Mother nature put sparkles in the dirt! She loves glitter too! I am so glad I noticed! I wouldn't have noticed before!

I see the sun reflecting off the water. I see how the little streams flow with ease with the sun on their back. They are not hindered by the mud they flow over, or the pieces of dirt, debris, parasites, or animals, they carry with them.

I feel myself as this rushing water, just for a moment, I move with it, warmed by the sun, never questioning where I am going, just riding along, letting myself be transformed into vapor and rain; letting myself fall into the vastness of the ocean and become one with it.

I am all of me, all the contraction and the expansion. I am all of me, to be all of you. Together we are bigger than all of me and all of you. We are part of something just waiting to be perceived out of the chaos of the contrast--the unlimited beauty.

We are these beautiful trees, posing, rising up and reaching to the sky. We touch the stars, the moon, and the sun. We hold them within us, bending down, and bowing low with humble gratitude for the preciousness of existence, that always was, that will always be, part of a grand design-- part of a loving entirety.


  1. So beautifully told, how do you do it? It doesn't matter how... just so glad I have your words, which teach me, show me, paint pictures, tell stories, and inspire!

    Truly brilliant!

  2. Yeah baby!! This post sings!

    I am all of these...

    All the contraction and the expansion...

    Thank you for the deep breath, Brooke :)

  3. Oh, the beauty here. Thank you for taking me there with you, for walking me through your mind and heart, and all the gorgeousness in between.

    "I saw how a plethora of spring waters flowed wherever they pleased, making new roads for themselves, with no hesitation, no rules, always heading downward, with the least amount of effort."

    Heading downward we go.


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