Tuesday, March 8, 2022

March 8--Open to Life

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.  --Henry Ward Beecher

    This is the Friday, March 4 "Daily Meditation" by Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation:
Author Michelle DeRusha uses trees as a helpful metaphor to understand how our True and small (or false) selves are intertwined:

I learned over the weeks and months of sitting [in nature] in quiet solitude that I am a lot like the oak tree that clings so fiercely to its leaves. I suspect a lot of us are. We, too, clutch our camouflage—the person we present to the world, to our own selves, and even to God. We, too, are unwilling to shed our false selves, to let go, to live vulnerably and authentically. . . .

Sitting in silence every day helped me see that my “leaves” of choice are busyness and productivity, drive and efficiency, achievement and success. . . . I clung with an iron grip to my false self, to the false identity I’d meticulously crafted over the years. I was busy, productive, and driven. I pushed myself to accomplish, achieve, and succeed. . . .

DeRusha goes on to describe the pruning method by which a certain Japanese maple tree was made beautiful:

Marsha [a tour guide] explained that a particular Japanese gardening technique called “open center pruning” was responsible not only for the sculptural appeal of this maple, but also for the uncluttered space and serenity in the garden as a whole.

When a Japanese gardener “prunes open,” Marsha explained, he or she cuts away not only dead branches and foliage, but also often a number of perfectly healthy branches that detract from the beauty inherent in the tree’s essential structure. Pruning open allows the visitor to see up, out, and beyond the trees to the sky, creating a sense of spaciousness and letting light into the garden. It also enables an individual tree to flourish by removing complicating elements, simplifying structure, and revealing its essence. The process of pruning open turns the tree inside out, so to speak, revealing the beautiful design inherent within it. . . .

The truth is, God does not wish for us to stand stubborn like the autumn oak tree, cloaked in a façade of protection, our truest, most authentic selves obscured beneath a tangled bramble of false security. Rather, [God] desires us to live like the Japanese maple tree, our true essence revealed and flourishing, our true self front and center, secure and thriving. God yearns for us to live wholeheartedly and truthfully as the unique, beautiful, beloved individuals [God] created us to be. Most of all, God’s deepest desire is for us to know [God], to root our whole selves in [God] like a tree rooted by a stream, and to know [God’s] deep, abiding love for us.

God invites us into intimate relationship . . . so that we may then live more compassionately and intimately with those around us. We are the windows, as Henri Nouwen [1932–1996] said, through which others may glimpse God. They are windows through which we might glimpse God.
    This encourages us to keep our windows clean and open!

Japanese Maple

No comments:

Post a Comment