Sunday, April 19, 2020

Thank Your Kind Stranger

Dear whomever made these beautiful mandalas on the sidewalk,

Thank you for your creativity.
Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for your generosity.
Thank you for your vision to bring nature into a new expression of beauty.
Thank you for enlivening my walk with something exciting and connecting and heartfelt.
Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with the world.
Love, Laura

My teacher Astrid has guided me to "teach what I know." I take this message to mean, share what I love, be who I am. This wisdom has taken me from a place of feeling like an imposter in the world to feeling like I have a home within myself, and therefore within the world.

When I saw these mandalas this morning they reminded me of the potency of that message in my life-- how it shows up again and again to remind me that I cannot try to be someone I am not. The clothes I wear, the job I have, the house I live in-- none of it can make me someone I am not. I am, and we all are unique expressions of life. This time of Coronavirus is my invitation into quiet contemplation to delve deeper into who I am, what I know, and what I love.

Surrounding these mandalas on my walk this morning were cherry blossoms, ferns,  cormorants, dozens of geese and mallards and a beaver.  These natural creations are so free. The beaver, a neighborhood wonder these days, doesn't think about what any of us passersby are thinking as he gnaws on his log. The cherry blossoms do not tame their beauty so the other, less fancy trees feel better about themselves. The geese poop everywhere, not a care in the world who they bug or how their potty habits make them look. All of these natural beings are simply who they are. They don't entertain the baggage that humans spend so much time thinking about. They are open and present and here, simply being a part of the world. Nothing more, nothing less.

When I walked by these creations today I had memories of my time in India. There were exquisite creations like this all over the place there. In India these designs are called Rangoli and they are meant to encourage strength, generosity and good luck. The times I've been in India I have felt a quieting down similar to how I feel now in isolation. In India, on retreat, I was far away, out of contact with many people I love, but connected to a spiritual exploration of myself and the world I inhabit.

I couldn't go to India this year. I was sad to miss that sacred time on retreat, time to close out the chatter of the outside world and get closer to my connection to myself and the state of simply being a part of the world, like the birds and the trees. The mandalas this morning were a clear message to me. This connecting is happening all over the place, for me and for others. People are sharing what they love just for the sake of it. Those beautiful constructions were not made for a museum or a class assignment or to post on Instagram. They were simply an expression of love by whomever created them. They were that human being's way of sharing the unique expression of who they are with the other beings in the world.

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