When I found this picture it literally demanded to be placed directly in the center of this particular post. A giant redwood in the California Bear Creek watershed stands tall amidst the other trees in this old growth forest. There are many things that caught my attention here. My experience with old growth forests is that they are quite different from forests that have been cut down before. There is a unique smell and feel to the earth and other life forms that inhabit this sacred and beautiful natural resource. The quiet is so pervasive that when there is a sound it immediately draws your attention. It almost feels as if you could put your ear to the bark of the tree and it would whisper untold wisdom into your ear.
When walking in one of these forests, awareness expands and broadens as attention is caught by the fact that these trees have been living for much longer than we have years to count. They have survived natural disasters and encouraged the trees around them to grow and thrive just by their very presence in the forest community. This one tree has obviously been present much longer than the others marked by its sheer size. One might feel by looking at this picture that this one tree is guardian standing as protector with a much more expansive view. However, each tree is deeply interconnected to the others and has its’ unique role to play.
In yoga class this morning our practice was guided by 3 teachings of Milarepa who is generally considered one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets.. One of those teachings was “Act so that you have no cause to be ashamed of yourself, and hold fast to this rule.” When I saw this tree standing so much taller than the others I immediately thought of each of us in our lives and whether we consciously make the choice to “stand tall”. By “standing tall” we declare that we are not ashamed of who we are, but instead choose to show the world our fullness and actively bring our unique gifts for all to see. There is no way that this particular tree can hide!
As were the dancers at the event I was privileged to see last evening. Viewing a magnificent expression of the dance arts I witnessed a performance that literally had me mesmerized (and wishing I was back in my youth again!). Each dancer found the energetic flow and rhythm that was uniquely their own expression within the choreography, and then combined it with that of other dancers sharing the stage with them. Even amidst the demonstration of angst and conflict during a few pieces there was a sense of something much larger expanding….a greater story, a more expansive view……… than the small one unfolding before your eyes. At times one or two dancers would take center stage, yet there was always movement happening around them expanding the focus and the story.
What wealth we accumulate in our individual lives when we choose to “stand tall” no matter what is happening. Our actions in every situation and every relationship can uphold living a life of fullness. Each and every one of us is a magnificent expression just as these trees and dancers are. The trees so much lower than the single one are “standing tall” as well in their own unique ways. The Divine Design of our life awaits us to wake up and root our toes into the wealth and creative passion of our lives….. leaving any thread of shame behind. Life is simply too short to waste on anything less……
Standing Tall In Austin, Texas –
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