I have two gurus. Although many different people have been my teachers over the years, there are two teachers who impact me so profoundly that I consider them my gurus. One is nature. The other is my everyday life. One of the great things about these teachers is that they are always present to me: I don't have to take long treks around the planet to find them and I don't have to spend a fortune to study with them.
In his new book The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, Thomas Moore says, "You may have to realize that the earth is your teacher and gives you the wisdom you need to make your life magical and effective." Yes, by paying attention to nature and allowing her teachings to penetrate deeply into our inner being, daily life can be enchanting, magical, and deeply satisfying.
Last winter we had some severe wind storms where I live and many trees were blown down. The ones on public land were left where they fell to begin their process of decay and return to the soil. Once spring arrived I was amazed at how many of these trees were sprouting new growth! New leaves reach for the sun and don't seem to know they shouldn't be there. Even though they are on their sides, roots exposed to the air, many of these trees continue to grow. It is an awe-inspiring sight and the teaching is an important one for us.
Anyone alive today has experienced setbacks, disappointments, delays, and failures. The difference among us is how we handle these situations and here we vary widely. Sometimes we respond with anger. "Why is this happening to me? I don't deserve this kind of a situation." Other times we fold in on ourselves with pity. "Poor me. I guess I deserved it, though. I'm not worth any better than this." Other times some of us are able to be like these trees_nobly continuing to grow despite what is happening to us. So what if there is a setback in our lives? So what if life has uprooted us and put us on our sides? Are we going to let this dictate our actions? Are we going to shrivel up and give up? Not if we take the lesson from nature and simply continue on with our lives. Will it be easy? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on our definition of easy. Life is as easy or as difficult as we want to make it. When we're thrown on our behinds, we can lie there complaining about how much it hurts and how hard it's going to be to get up, or we can acknowledge that falling on our behind didn't feel so swift and then decide what we're going to do about it. The first reaction causes pain and is difficult. The second focuses us and makes the new move easy.
One of main differences between us and nature in her dehumanized condition is that we try to force things to go our way. Nature simply allows things to happen from within herself. The difference is unfolding versus forcibly making something happen.There is a lot of talk about earth changes and with the end of the century quickly gaining on us, the fear mongers will be out in ever greater numbers. We can buy into their talk and experience lots of uneasiness and doubts or we can align ourselves with the earth energies and move in sync with them rather than against them.
I live fairly close to the epicenter of the earthquake we recently had in the Northwest. It was my first quake and I was in awe of how nature handled herself. My house felt like a giant had grabbed the side of it and was lifting it up and down, causing a shaking and rolling motion. Happily the house moved with it, didn't resist what was happening (take a clue here), and there was no damage. Of the many trees on my property not a one fell over. It was as if the quake had never happened. I realize this was not a huge one and in a more violent quake there probably would be damage. But, there was a whole lot of shaking and rolling going on without anything being hurt. Another lesson from my guru. We can either cozy up to nature and move with her changes or we can divorce ourselves from her (by being fearful and trying to control things) and suffer the consequences. This applies to our daily lives as well.
All of us face ongoing changes in our lives. We can resist them and cause ourselves pain, or we can move with them and experience the adventure and magic of life. We have the choice. Of course, we are part of nature. Sometimes there is a tendency to think of nature as the trees, mountains, oceans, and wild animals. Truth is, though, we are as much a part of nature as the most glorious sunset. The difference is that we can talk ourselves out of the realization of our own magnificence. The sunset just is and doesn't sit around doubting whether or not it can make the sky pretty, or whether it should, or if it is good enough to do so. The sunset just does it. We can get in touch with our inner centeredness, too, and then we will be able to allow our magnificence to shine without all the mental garbage that usually gets in the way.
Each of us has as much of a purpose here as the tallest mountain or tiniest flower. We have our own place, our own reason for being here, our own special part to play in the drama that is unfolding. If we really understood how important we each are, there would be a lot less whining going on, a lot less doubting, and more leaf-growing when we fall on our faces.
Make some special time to be with nature in the role of student. Watch your weather patterns this month and see what lessons they offer you. If you're facing a challenge, ask nature to give you some counsel and then pay attention to what happens in your life. Most of all, let yourself feel your oneness with the earth, your connectedness, and let that relationship give you guidance, sustenance, and love. Nature wants to do that for you if you'll just give her the chance.