There is the Zen parable that tells of the young monk who stumbled and as he fell, caught hold of some bamboo to steady himself. The Zen Master accompanying him asked if he noticed that the bamboo bent, yet was strong enough to support him. He also asked the novice if he had also noticed how bamboo gets pushed around by the wind, yet always grows tall towards the sunlight above….not snapping… a most resilient plant…..
It took quite a lot of courage for me to finally say “No – I’m not going to that function” & I did it with the help of the grief counsellor that I’ve been seeing this past year. Not reaching snapping point, but that stillpoint inside where there is a knowing that it is time to do the “right thing” for myself.
Girls are raised to “do the right thing” and for many years, I’ve acquiesced and gone along to functions where I haven’t felt comfortable. One girlfriend laughed many years ago, when I told her of the story of bending in the wind like the grass or bamboo….. she suggested “doormat” would be a better description.
I’ve never really enjoyed the hoopla and razzle dazzle of tinsel and false bonhomie…The over indulgences in the senses with food or the misappropriation of sacred music that has been turned into Musak for the masses long before Advent starts. I’ve long thought that Christmas really doesn’t suit the introverted empath!
This year I wanted to experience some peace and serenity on my own …. not long … a few hours would suffice.
My soul needed some lush, green energy to repair.
Sunday morning saw some chores completed and then I set off on my adventure. Fully intending to go to the beach, not that I really enjoy the beach, I started to drive. I asked that I be guided to where I needed to be, (& please include an Oak tree!) I took familiar roads and realized that I was near a pretty picnic spot in the Dandenongs. No room in the carpark… full! Not what I wanted at all even though the tree ferns looked spectacular….. Then I saw a side road, it looked as if it might be interesting and made my way along that. Lots of tight curves and it required full attention to drive…. nothing like mindfulness and being in the moment!
As I emerged to the top of the hill a sign caught my eye… some Memorial Gardens….. a little further down the road I decided to go back and investigate. I parked, wandered in a little hesitantly as the place seemed deserted….and read the sign….
You really do have to chuckle at what the Universe throws up at you!
I was born a Harper (not the same family that developed the gardens). It seemed that this was just the right place to be…. I wondered if there was an Oak tree……
Following the meandering paths, I came to a small clearing and there was a majestic Oak tree.. with a bench nearby to sit on and contemplate the surrounds.
It was time to just “be”. As another saying goes, “we are human BEings, not human DOings”.
Curious about the rest of the gardens, I set off to explore… masses of Hydrangeas starting to flower… a few months ago the Camelias and Azaelias would have been centre stage.
So many varieties of Japanese Maples, their delicate leaves providing texture and colour to the backdrop of so many interesting plants.
Another strategically placed bench and contemplation of the Foxgloves for a few moments.
Observing how the Currawong family were playing in the branches of tall trees.
Before I knew it, a couple of hours had passed & I had a phone call from my son wondering if I was OK.
Yes I was…. better than I have been for some time…. a combination of the energy of the gardens and finally stepping into my integrity.
Walking back to the Oak tree, I noticed a couple of brightly coloured butterflies, dancing in the sun and the dappled shade.
Symbols of transformation, of finding joy in life and a symbol of the soul….