A brisk autumn walk yesterday revealed its own share of delights.
In northern Michigan, everything appears to be in a state of letting go. The leaves on the trees are now falling into untidy piles on the ground or being swept away by wildish winds. Many of the trees are already barren, stumps of singular beauty. As the vibrant colors of fall are fading to dull browns and grays, my heart has a tendency to feel this loss and usher in feelings of melancholy.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered scores of trees that were indeed barren of leaves but now abloom with red fruit. Joy! I hope they're edible fruit for the birds that will brave the coming winter.
While these trees were transforming, beginning their own process of letting go, I didn't see the new life that was also sprouting. Dense leaves had covered up these glorious red berries. And now that serious shedding had begun, they were finally revealed. Just beautiful. And hopeful.
Their presence reminded me of some important things:
Even in the midst of letting go, there is holy newness.
Even in the sorrow of loss, there is plenty.
Even in the struggle to accept change, there are places of appreciation and beauty into which one can rest.
And hope. There is always hope that each new day brings with it possibilities, opportunities ...
Life can be good and fruitful, even in the letting go.
This morning I was deeply immersed in my writing. Writing for me is a spiritual practice, so when I do write, I feel plugged-in to God. Putting words upon the page firmly plants me in the present moment which, in my view, is the only place we can truly experience the Divine.
When I emerged from under the "spell" of the Sacred, I stepped out onto my deck for a breath of fresh air and a change of landscape. I was surprised at what I found. The leaves of the trees had been coated with a frosty wash of glimmer. They'd been kissed by Mother Nature, I imagine as part of her "putting things to bed" routine that accompanies Fall.
In that moment of witness I recalled how I had complained about the cold earlier this the morning, whining to my husband about the 30 degree reading I saw on our outdoor thermometer. Brrr ... I was thinking of going for a walk later today and my mind anxiously jumped to how many layers of clothing I'd have to put on to stay warm. In many ways, I am not ready for colder temperatures to be a longterm guest.
Yet, when I stepped out onto the deck and viewed my surroundings with sacred vision, I was overcome by a sense of wonder at the beauty I found: frost-laden leaves that glittered softly in the early morning sun. Whining was replaced by praise. Humility paid a visit too.
How important perspective is and taking the time to clear our clouded vision to see what's really here!
It was cold on the deck. I put on my coat and grabbed my camera. I snapped a few pictures then simply stood there. I listened and watched. I could not only see the leaves falling from the trees, but hear them too. At first I thought a squirrel was causing this abundant cascade, but, no. The leaves were tumbling down all by their own effort - or lack of it. They were simply letting go ...
I listened and watched their release and was buoyed with courage for another day of my own moments of surrender. For they will come, as has the frost, a now welcome visitor.
A recent stroll at a beach on Lake Michigan near Charlevoix found me pondering "the many and the One."
This particular beach is a resting place for millions of tiny stones, softened from being waved tossed for thousands of years. As I walked, I marveled at the variety; the myriad of shapes, colors, and sizes. I was struck by how they all lay together so peacefully. They rested upon each other. They cradled one another.
As I gazed at them I saw the Source. These precious stones were brilliant expressions of Divinity. Dark ones abiding next to bright ones, each illuminated the other's beauty.
Just looking at them, I felt great peace within myself. And I felt hopeful, too. Hopeful that we, as divine-humans, with time, love and tenderness, could be this way with one another too.
As spiritual beings with an earthly home,
Spirit invites us to be its presence in the world;
to be a walking, talking, breathing mirror of the Holy One.
In nature's handiwork, we witness divine inspiration.
We are a part of Creation,
so why would we be omitted from this delight?
Just as birds and trees reflect the Source, so do we.
The kindness, compassion, and joy we share with others mirrors
the Divine inspiration behind them.
We can be God's love in the world.
from Awakening the Spirit Within
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.