Sunday 11-24-13 Of the Forest

“The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Happy Sunday!

This morning I was doing my yoga and observing the trees blowing in the wind outside of my window.  The quote above came to my mind and my thoughts returned to our family lunch conversation yesterday.
At lunch we were catching up on family goings on and we got to speaking of Donna.  We spoke about how she was a leader and teacher but how she had to do things her own way.  I said that she was the trail blazer for the rest of us.  I also added that it seemed that she was someone who had to go out and experience life and that she got knocked around doing it.
Reflecting on the conversation this morning I had the sense that we always saw Donna as strong like the oak living out in the open, she boldly experienced the storms and the sun fully.
Who was I then?
I recognize that I am a tree in the forest wanting to be protected and secure from the worst of the storms that life may bring.  I like to be comfortable and that is easier when there are others around to diffuse the storms of life.
After Donna had passed I went to a counsellor for a year or so; the main thing I remember speaking about then was the loss of my older family members, those who always seemed strong and made me feel secure and special.  Mom, Dad, and Donna as my elders, were there to soften the tough times of my life.
To be able to follow in another’s foot steps makes the travelling easier, like moving behind someone through deep snow, Donna provided this to me when I was starting out as a young single woman.  She went out into the world and brought back her experiences making me feel bold knowing if she could do it so could I.
Mom and Dad were there to give me support and guidance during the tough times of my life.  My being able to pick up the phone to talk to them about my problems helped me to reach a good perspective and have faith that the hard time would pass.
So now I am becoming one of the elders of the family.  Not having the support of the family elders was tough for a few years but now I find I am embracing the feeling of being older myself.  Spirituality gives me the support that I once had from my loved ones.  Lessons of gratitude, trusting myself, and being authentic allow me to now step out boldly on my own.  Lessons of Love, forgiveness, and compassion have helped me to know to always evaluate my perspective of situations to see the good and innocence of others and to hold onto faith that things will be OK.
The family is just like the forest, the elder trees that were the main stand forming the forest eventually die off leaving openings,  that initially seem barren, but allow the sun to shine on new growth.  The next generation then gets to spread and grow tall as it reaches for the light (Whoa! big A-ha about spiritual growth!). Meanwhile the next generation of saplings are protected and supported by the new forest giants.  (I am loving this analogy!)
I just thought of the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees”.  It means not being able to see the whole because of the individuals. This has me now reflecting on the past lessons that we are all One. I can see the forest as One; the family as One; always here, just changing, cycling through the seasons.
If we are all One in the forest then perhaps we are never apart.  We just cycle through the generations, returning to form to take our place next to the great oak so that someday we can once again reach for the light (and another step closer to God).
“If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” ~ Isaac Newton

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