“Love is the bridge between you and everything.” – Rumi
From the time I was a small child, it has been all about the love. Deep within my center is a well-spring of unconditional love. It has been the source of my relationship with nature and humanity. Love manifests in me as patience, kindness, loyalty, and compassion. It grounds and connects me firmly and deeply to the Earth. Love is the the lens through which I view the world.
My intense love for nature has been present since I can remember. As a young child, I spent hours each day outdoors. I had a fort of trees…oh, how I love the trees. The forest is still my refuge. I instilled the love of nature in my children and each of them has a deep, personal connection to the Earth.
Both my parents have a love for the outdoors. My father’s sense of adventure and fun was always evident as we embarked on ski trips, sailing voyages, bike hikes, and plane rides, but my love of plants was gifted from my mother. My mother always had beautiful gardens – bountiful vegetables, fragrant roses, a vibrant, variety of texture and color. She canned our garden’s excess and we ate from it all winter. I never had a store bought vegetable or spaghetti sauce until I was married. Her hands were always rough – “gardener’s hands.” Gardening is her therapy. She is 85 years old and still longs to be outside working in her garden everyday. I work alongside her now, as I did when I was a child. For my mother, it is about the process – it is the small, everyday tasks of gardening that bring her joy; the weeding, watering, pruning, raking, mowing. She makes sacred the process of tending her garden. Each task brings joy, wholeness, healing, and connection. I understand her deep love for gardening and its spiritual transformation, as I also honor each step of my own adventures in the natural world.
Deep within each of us is a love – a love for something – gifted to our souls, our authentic selves, from the moment we were conceived. It is our Divine gift, our essence. As children, I believe our gift is transparent and unmistakable, but overtime, it becomes clouded and and blurred. We become distracted by suggestions, influenced by others, and often oppressed by the chatter in our own head. How can we return to what we love, uncover our gift, and live our fullest, most abundant life? We must sit in stillness, solitude, and silence, center ourselves, and listen to the faint whispers that come from the heart. We must fully engage in those activities that manifest joy, peace, harmony, and most of all, love. Embracing and making sacred each step along our journey. Learning to love ourselves first, cultivating our relationship with our authentic self and honoring and celebrating our divine gift is the bridge to living our most light-filled, joyful, magnificent existence.
This essay will be published in Wild Roof Journal (Issue 12) in January 2022, available on-line at http://www.wildroofjournal.com