As spring has been serving up her beauty in unusual timing this year, blossoms have emerged against the back drop of trees that have yet to bud. It is as if Mother Nature has decided to leisurely serve up a seven-course meal instead of the usual buffet that seems to magically appear out of nowhere. With a much cooler start to the season than in years past, I wonder if the trees that are first to bloom thrive with the increased sunlight while others need the encouragement of warmer temperatures and water in order to sprout.
Nature’s pacing this year provides us a reminder that we are each unique and as such have different needs in order to flourish in life. Some of us need more sleep while others more protein in their diet. Some need quiet solitude in order to feel replenished, while others to be surrounded by lots of people and activity. And our needs change as we change throughout life. One of the greatest gifts my personal reiki practice has given me is the opportunity to look inward each day to look, listen and feel for what is needed for my highest good at any given moment. Our daily lives can become so outwardly focused with juggling work, school, appointments, taking care of our families, that we become conditioned to ignore what the inner self needs in order to thrive. In the practice of reiki, the precepts ask us to “morning and evening bring our hands into gassho” (prayer position) to either meditate or do reiki self-care. Making the time to breathe deeply for a few moments each day, offers the mind a chance to recalibrate, the heart a safe space to find expression, and the higher self a channel through which to guide us with its wisdom. It is during these moments we can begin to clearly recognize what is needed to experience the joy and grace that are always available to us.
Because so much of our culture asks us to look outside ourselves to find the answers to what we need, this idea of seeking answers from within can seem uneasy, impractical or even a bit crazy. We may be afraid that what we discover will make us stand out as different from others. We may also be afraid to express our needs out of fear of seeming weak. Yet when we move through life fully aware of our distinctive nature and what it requires in order for us to feel well and happy, we operate in an empowered manner that honors our needs and appreciates what makes each of us unique.
I leave you with this quote I read recently by Ram Dass:
“That when you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘you’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”