365 Grateful: 10.02.2014

365 - 10-02-2014I drove along a street today that I have driven along hundreds of times before, passing houses just as familiar. Today, though, I drove past a tree that, figuratively, jumped out in front of me and screamed, “notice me!” Believe me, I did.

So I spent the rest of the day trying to puzzle why this tree at this particular time decided to catch my attention. It’s a lovely tree. A mature specimen, but almost abnormally short with thick, gnarled trunk firmly anchored to the ground and sporting a huge, thick canopy of (still green) leaves far grander than many trees twice or three times its height.

It made me smile, almost compelled me to stop and walk underneath, to get a sense of what it had to tell me. Many images arose as I began unfolding that Quantum Flirt of a tree. There were images of storytelling and imagination, of myth and magic. It felt protective, friendly and inviting. There was shelter there, and safety, and because of its short stature, it was welcoming rather than intimidating. There was an essence of life there, of vitality and strength, and I felt that sitting underneath it would be magical, otherworldly, dreamy.

Finally, I mind-mapped my way to its core essence: that tree speaks of substance and vitality, richness and the fullness of wisdom. It’s grown wider, broader through its years, living and reflecting its fullness through its very essence. I’m so grateful for its insistence that I notice it, because what it represents is an acknowledgement of a new phase of life: that of the Archetypal Crone.

Now, before you think hag or maybe witch, consider this: the Crone, as an archetypal figure, is a Wise Woman, in touch with wisdom and understanding beyond others’ ken. The Crone scares men and younger women because she is in touch with a deep, often misunderstood life wisdom that eludes them. To become a Crone is to make a ritual rite of passage into a new era of wisdom, freedom, and personal power. Watch out. I feel it. And when the trees even nod to it, you know there’s deep, deep meaning.

365 Grateful: 06.08.2014

365 - 06-08-2014
Nature’s so awesome. I never tire of watching the never-ending dance between dog and deer in our backyard. Nonchalant deer casually reaches for tiny green apples just barely swelling into roundness. Hyper-focused dog morphs into his most ancient hunter archetype. Grateful for the innate wisdom of nature: both know the fence signals safety and limits, and both know just how far to push those limits.

365 Grateful: 03.10.2014

365 - 03-10-2014

Incredibly grateful, and awed, by the heritage and wisdom of native peoples. These cultures get it. I encourage anyone to visit the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, and be humbled by what you find there. Love is only one of the seven great teachings of the Anishinaabe.

365 Grateful: 03.03.2014

365 - 03-03-2014

In the stark, bleak winter landscape, some trees stand out like beacons. In summer, it’s easy to miss them … but in winter, oh, in winter, these silver-haired elders simply pop. It makes me feel grateful for a lot of things: diversity, nature, and strange beauty. But I think seeing their starkness against the landscape stokes my gratitude for the immense wisdom and incredible depth that comes from aging well — gracefully, willingly, and embracing the inner strength and knowledge that bubble up.

Storms and beauty

Beauty of storms

I am reminded tonight that there is beauty around us at all times, even when it’s stormy. Beauty is always there, always near, if only we will take the time to see it and to allow new perspectives to enter.

While riding along in the golf cart with Charlie tonight, the storm clouds gathered, the thunder rolled and lightning lit the sky. As we zipped with some urgency down the fairway toward the flag on the 9th hole, this exquisite chestnut in full bloom positively glowed in the deepening darkness of the storm. It took my breath away and, despite the threat of rain and lightning, I asked (OK, forced) Charlie to stop so I could attempt to capture the image.

When we returned home, I began searching for quotations that might capture, in small part, what I was feeling. John Geddes’ quote seemed close.

So as I continued to think about this moment, I caught a glimpse of a correlation between my experience of beauty during a storm to something called “Deep Democracy.” In relationship and systems coaching, deep democracy is the principle that says every voice in a system matters. It’s important to hear them all, including the voices we marginalize, deny, ridicule. The voices we ignore, the ones we cannot stand to hear, the difficult, rough, terrible ones. As much as we need to hear the uplifting voices — the voices of hope and peace and calm — we also need to hear the voices that pull, that reek of despair and spin tales of war and storms.

I’m grateful, then, to the advent of a storm on the golf course tonight for reminding me that, yes, there is wisdom and even beauty in storms — beauty and wisdom in voices that clash with ours. There’s tremendous energy and understanding in hearing and seeing them.

And understanding in any world holds beauty in the cup of its hand.