“When I am a willow tree, I can be with another and can still stand my ground—I don’t change and become a different kind of tree just to please the other. I stand as myself even when the other pushes up against me. But I can bend when I want to, and I can grow when I need to.
~ Janet Luhrs
My Momma taught me this.
But sometimes I forget this and I go through the day trying to be a magnolia tree because they are beautiful; or an apple tree because people need apple trees; or an evergreen because they are constant and don’t seem to change with the seasons.
This is dangerous because in trying to be all of these things, I miss the whole point. And the point is that being a willow tree is pretty fucking great!
I’m strong with gnarly bark. I have these huge branches that create amazing shade for people to take solace under. And, my leaves make the most beautiful sound as the wind rustles through them.
I am a willow tree and “I can bend when I want to and I can grow when I need to.”
Last year for Christmas, my homeboy gave me an angel—a willow tree angel named Happiness. She sits in my yoga room and her purpose is to encourage the freedom to sing, laugh, dance and create. I love her.
She is my reminder to be who I am, quirks and all—to not get caught up in the humdrum of life—but to keep on dancing and flowing and creating.
This month is all about mindfulness.
I have flirted with meditation on and off since Bali and now I am ready to give it a serious go; there was a moment during my yoga teacher training when I felt it, or I guess in feeling it I didn’t really feel anything at all. I don’t really know—but the point is, I’ve been longing for it ever since.
This whole experiment started out of a burning feeling that there is more to it than this. It being life and this being the daily activities of eating, sleeping, working, screwing, gossiping, playing, repeat. Meditation, says Bhante Gunaratana, is an “investigation and an experiment, an adventure every time.”
Well, I’m up for some adventure—especially an adventure where “the goal is liberation.”
This month isn’t so much about the search for happiness but about that burning desire for greater awareness; for a deeper connection to everything and the comfort in knowing that there is really nothing. And, a true acceptance to be who I am, as I am, standing tall as a willow tree, in the middle of the forest. Me and the unicorns.
1. Meditate every day.
2. Accept everything, as it comes up.
3. Keep a meditation journal, recording anything that arises.
4. Don’t expect anything or over-analyze anything…just observe.
Bhante Gunartana says that the mind is like a cup of muddy water; mix it all up and it gets cloudy and you can’t make out any of the parts. But, let it sit and the mud will settle to the bottom and what you have left is clear water.
Meditation stills the mind, settling the mud and allowing us to see more clearly. It’s in stillness that we are able to locate our true Self.
Revelations come from stillness. Love comes from stillness. Happiness comes from stillness. Acceptance comes from stillness. Change comes from stillness.
“I want to unfold, let no part in me hold itself closed, for where I am closed I am false.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Ed: Bryonie Wise
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