The Origin of a Thing

I was wondering the other day where rocks come from. It was in relation to where they end up and how they get from place to place. You’ll see what I mean in a minute, I promise.

There are several interesting facts I discovered and it’s curious how one fact ended up connecting to my original question.

One version of how rocks are formed is that they are made of stardust, as a byproduct of an exploding star, that sends pieces outward into the universe at incredible speeds. Their size varies considerably. Some are just dust or pebbles, while others may be as large as a house. We see some of the house size ones as they burn up in our atmosphere and call them meteorites. Once they’ve landed and had a few million years to hang around they change form and evolve into one of three specific types.

Like almost every other thing I can think of, they go through a life cycle. A star, stardust, universal travel, landing somewhere, creating rock formations, erosion of many sorts and then sometimes they are used by man. We crush them and build roads with them and hundreds of other things.

My granddaughter and I, think they make wonderful subjects to be painted. We find that they are very well behaved and sit still while we change their appearance. We both love the process and the outcomes and enjoy placing them outdoors for others to see. She will sometimes place a sign next to one of hers that says, “Adopt a Rock”, so a passerby knows they can take it home with them.

I think this is very generous of her.

Recently we painted a bunch of rocks, which you can see from the banner picture at the top of this post.

And, here’s the connection I promised you.

I painted one completely black, then added the words, “the sky is not the limit” and surrounded the words with lots of white stars. I had no idea at the time that rocks came to us from the stars. I think that’s pretty cool.

I put the rock out in our front yard and hope that folks passing by read it and take it to heart. I believe it is the truth. Whatever limits we feel we have, are the result of our belief system, including in this case, the sky. I don’t think it is the limit. Not literally and not figuratively. I take inspiration from shifting my point of view, away from restrictions and constraints and toward expansion and creation.

It seems amazing to me that the star exploded and expanded and in doing so, set into motion a cascade of creation (albeit, a very, very slow one) that eventually resulted in my finding one small rock and painting it with the night sky, filled with stars. A part of me wondered whether it felt at ‘home’.

Coincidence? Perhaps, but perhaps not.

Since I placed my rock next to one of our trees, I also began to wonder about its life cycle. What is the origin of a tree and how many different things does it become? I felt fairly confident, but did a little research to confirm my thoughts. Yes, trees come from seeds, which grow up, create new seeds and find incredibly varied ways of sending them forth to become new trees.

Sorry, I can’t help it. Which comes first the seed or the tree?

I know, I’ll ask a chicken.

Anyway, as I started to consider all of the uses for trees, one image leapt into my mind. It’s where lots of people are gathered together and they’re constructing a house for someone in need. They are part of a Habitat for Humanity project, which turns out to impact so much more than one person or one family. It’s a gift for everyone. The person who plants the tree, the worker who harvests and mills it, the people who sell it as lumber and those who buy and ship it. And then there is the whole process of turning the wood into a house. All those who organize the projects, those who volunteer and build the dwellings and those who eventually live in them.

It’s a beautiful life cycle, especially when I allow myself to become a part of everything I see.

I remind myself of this when I see the rock and the tree. What an amazing journey we’re all on.

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More Balance

I love trees. I have for as long as I can remember. They’re beautiful and they’ve shared many truths with me.

Recently I was gazing at a tree that sits between our neighbor’s house and ours. It has such gorgeous leaves, which have mostly turned various shades of orange. Some of them seem to glow, like they are electrified.

I noticed that the leaves closest to the trunk were still green and very healthy, while the ones furthest away, were the most colorful and vibrant. They were also the ones that were first to fall off.

And, for some reason, I thought about the hara line. I wondered if every living thing has its own hara line. Surely, if this concept is true, it would apply to a tree, with its roots sunk deeply into the earth and its branches reaching far up into the sky.

I looked at the tree’s trunk, firm, straight and incredibly strong. I watched as the wind played with its branches, moving them all around, while the trunk remained firm and solid and unmoved.

I wondered, how does the tree maintain its balance throughout the seasons. I wondered too, whether the tree was trying to silently teach me what it knows to be the truth.

It certainly felt that way.

So, I opened my awareness and let its message pour over me. As is so often the case, its wisdom came in the form of questions.

It asked me, what nourishes you? What fortifies you? What inspires you?

Wonderful questions and clearly meant to connect me with a greater sense of balance within myself.

One of my favorite experiences is to attend workshops at Kripalu, a retreat center about forty-five minutes away from me. On one occasion I drew a picture of a tree, complete with roots, trunk and branches. Along each one of the roots, I wrote the name of something that nourished me. Then, I noted on some of the branches those things which I hoped to accomplish in my life.

I realize now that what I choose as nourishing sources matters a great deal to my sense of balance and harmony in this world. The more sources I choose and the deeper they connect me, the more firmly I feel rooted.

I see too, that what I chose to believe about myself, either keeps me growing straight and tall or bends me, forcing me into wayward directions. Directions that keep me distant from what I say I want to experience while I’m here.

The stories we tell ourselves are so powerful.

And, just as important as what feeds me and helps me grow, is what inspires me. I want to reach toward the sky and feel the strongest sunshine on my face. I want to live with infinite possibilities all around me, ready for me to call their names.

And so I wonder, what nourishes, fortifies and inspires you? If you feel like sharing, let me know.

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