Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Lesson from Mother Earth

This Earth Day has me thinking: many of the lessons our mothers teach us, especially our Mother Earth, are so simple they are easy to miss. Our mothers teach us what is basic and essential from an early age: eat healthy meals, groom and dress neatly, go to bed at a reasonable hour, be kind to family, friends and pets. Mother Earth teaches us that when we nurture and cherish life, it grows, that we can be fed from our labors, that life follows natural cycles, that the greatest gift we possess is life itself. 

We distance ourselves from our mothers as we grow older and step out into the world on our own. We find other teachers and more complex lessons and develop pride in our own accomplishments. At certain times we once again draw near to our mothers and are reminded of our roots, of what makes us who we are and of the truths we cannot avoid. 

Today, many of us make a conscious connection to Mother Earth. This time of year I love to lie down on the grass and stare at the sky and smell the scents of Spring in the air, of the soil that is once again warming, of the blossoms that are blooming. Yesterday I positioned myself under our small magnolia tree. She is small because her biggest branches broke off in an autumn snow and ice storm in 2011. Her blossoms open a few days later than those of the other magnolia trees in our neighborhood. I thought yesterday may be the day they would begin to open, and I wanted to watch. I did see many of the blossoms beginning to open and this was glorious to behold. 

In the watching and waiting, I was reminded of some basic life lessons: it is good to slow down; there are gifts all around us that cost nothing; when we slow down, we can open up to the gift of life; we each have our own time table for growth; all things come to fruition in their own perfect timing; there is order in nature but order is not uniformity; there is beauty in nature but beauty is rarely uniform. 

Our lives follow these simple truths. When we try to push or force something, like a relationship, it breaks. When we slow down and allow it to unfold in its own time, it grows. When we stop grasping and appreciate who and what is there, we can give and receive love. When we slow down, have faith in ourselves and others, and wait with an open heart, love blossoms. 

Our physical and spiritual practices unfold according to these simple truths. In our yoga practice, we step out of our labors to slow down. We move in accordance with our breath and our body's natural rhythms. We build heat gradually. The heat begins to open us. As we start to open, we unfold into our postures in our own time, in our own way, experiencing the gift of our bodies. Just like the magnolia blossoms, we all look different as we unfurl our petals. We are not uniform in our postures, in our breathing, in our experiencing, yet we are unified in one tree of life, as the children of one Mother Earth. 

As your sister, in your practice today, I invite you to slow down and open up, to open yourself to the light and warmth that surround you, to deepen your connection to your roots as you face the sun and unfurl your petals. I invite you to blossom and embrace the Spring. A Blessed Earth Day to All. 

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