Photos of Scotland appear like subdued, opalescent paintings to me.
Yet, when viewing these strikingly beautiful landscapes in person, they
are just as dream-like.
Visiting Scotland a few weeks ago felt just as surreal in that I was finally fulfilling a lifelong dream…but learned early on that my beloved Ceilidh’s Bess passed. As I explored the western coast to the Isle of Skye then through the northwest Geopark, Scotland’s sweeping misty lens rendered surprising transparency into my own life.
Pay attention to how you feel in any given place. The words came back to me. Is the energy uplifting or downcast? Spirit-filled or draining? Am I feeling joy? Fear?
Wrapped among impassioned layers of enchanted forests and glens, glacier sculpted landscapes, pristine waters, and steep majestic mountains that hold thousands of years of stories untold, my spirit felt at home in the Highlands. Similarly, but on a wee scale, my northeastern American residence is sheltered in a mountainside of woodland lushness and sparking streams. I know now that north is true for me.
Learning about the Scottish Clearances and feeling the feelings of my long ago homeland illuminated my ken. I knew truth stood before me.
In the Clearances, inhabitants were ordered off their land then watched as their houses were burned.
Fighting the natural gas pipeline is my personal, modern day experience of the Clearances. I understand powerlessness when forced against one’s will. I know the heartbreak of loss.
Learning through Grief
I began this post before the untimely loss of my best friend — Bess my beloved 14 1/3 year old border collie. Acceptance soothes my broken heart when acknowledging this will happen to each and everyone of us and everyone we love, that this behest of time is a transformation of life. I continue learning through my loss of Bess…such as doing what I can then letting go, and the power of thought and perspective. I anticipate sharing more from time to time on insights gained through this experience…
“All of life’s experiences are to be either enjoyed or learned from.”
— Alan Cohen
Bess gave me both.
I am curious to know how you process grief. A sage shared this short (18 minute) video with me. Hopefully, you will benefit as well — not just in a time of need.
Willow’s urban definition: the nicest, most beautiful girl you will ever meet…sticks with her friends to the very end…is open to new ideas…is very smart….all wrapped up into one amazing, lovely yet intricate, young woman…
Familiar with that black and white yin-yang symbol, known in ancient Chinese philosophy as taijitu? Surely you’ve seen dogwood trees gracing the landscape but have you seen their taijitu?
Look closely at the blooms on this glorious tree. Each stunning bract (appearing as one of four flower petals) appears marred like a bruise or singe blemishing its perfect beauty.
The contrasting cleft reminds me of my Qigong instructor’s explanation of the taijitu: “The small dots on each side indicate that life is not perfect; nothing is 100 percent.”
That visual concept widened my black and white perspective to realize nothing is all good or all bad. I became more accepting of life as is. Even to say a perfectly imperfect life is perfect as it is. Hmmm. Seems Mother Nature already knew this. Am I surprised?
Some More Thoughts on the Small Black and White Circles (in Taijitu)…
“Located in the areas of their opposite colors, the small circles show that nothing is absolute. In each of the opposing forces there is a small part of the other. In all yin, there is yang and in all yang, there is yin… In every good, there is a little evil and vice versa. Nothing in the universe or in life is simply black or white. Each exists in the other and each needs the other in order to exist.” from the Complete Guide to Yin Yang Meanings for Life, Work, Home and Balance by Feng Shui Practitioner, Sally Painter.
I love this time of year — one foot stepping away from dismal winter, the other turning toward spring’s pulsating energy and invigorating growth.
Mother Nature turns her pages as weeping cherry blossoms invite sleepy trees to leaf out. Rosettes emerge beneath woody stalks from last year’s Autumn Joy…lifeless looking rosebushes begin to swell…rain purges pollen while transforming blue skies into grey and flourishing winter’s grass resplendent green…alluring buds rouse allergies yet spring’s intoxicating sights and scents are ecstasy to my spirit.
“It feels as though the beginning and the end are intertwined, thus leading to a never-ending cycle. Surely this will not be the end. Just as it can’t be considered the beginning. Just as it can’t be determined where the beginning or the end is.”
Bleeding heartsemerging at this time of year remind me of all the compassionate Moms, their generous hearts, inner beauty, and unconditional love. Somehow these mothers don’t readily give up, resilient with an abundance of blind faith and patient hope.
Still, I doubt there is a mother whose heart has not been broken at one time or another in child rearing. I’ve known a number of Moms who could be considered dangerously softhearted, to the point of not honoring their own needs or health. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that these Bleeding heart beauties appear in time for Mother’s Day… or that they are perennials, steadfastly returning year after year. Isn’t Mom always there for you too?
My Magnificent Magnolia greets me as I sip a morning latte’ and bids me goodnight in the moonlight. Standing gloriously amidst an evening rain or grey sky, her steadfast glow casts a brilliance though my window. I am awash in awe.
We’ve been together for decades now — she being here long before I moved in. Maturing into a queen of nature’s beauty, this Magnificent Magnolia is my focal point during morning Qigong, and before turning in to sleep, I give her one last loving look.
Too many times the formidable April rains scattered her petals to the ground by morning’s light or before I’ve arrived back home, a disappointment paralleled to not having a chance to say goodbye.
But, I understand the inevitable better now and cherish each look at her grandeur. It may be the last but it stirs me as profoundly as her first bloom. Silently, she reminds me to appreciate what I have right now. In a second, it can be gone.