It had been a busy spring, and an even busier summer. Family. Work. Travel. Family Travel. Work Travel. And I had slowly gotten away from my regular, almost daily walks on the trails that rarely faired to inspired me to pause, write, take photos, and much more. However, as had often happened before, I knew from personal experience that Nature is patient. And that she would be waiting for me with wide open arms whenever I returned.
And return I did, over the past two weeks. Slowly but surely, like a caterpillar seeded with the knowledge that its truth is to be a butterfly, I emerged into the forest again. The trails welcomed me back with open arms, especially the small ones that were now camouflaged by the overgrowth of summer. As I walked the narrowest ones closest to the river’s edge, the embrace of the tall shrubs forming archways on both sides of me was unmistakable. And with every walk, my heart felt a little lighter, as it found its way away from the heaviness of the world.
But where were all the flowers? The ones who with their sudden appearance around familiar bends, would create a surge of joy and elevate the heart? The yellows surrounding blacks on tall sunflower stems, the whites and blues on short stems staying close to ground? I must have missed their comings and goings as I was busy with the outer world, I thought. Or maybe there were some new surprises in store for me, I surmised. Unfazed, I kept walking in the faith that lightness would bloom in other, yet to be revealed ways.
One of the “trails” forms a figure eight. One loop goes three-fourths of the way, around the river and the other loop, forms the inner arc of a kidney-bean shaped lagoon. A roadway forms part of both the loops, in the form of a long border. I usually walk both loops on any given day, on the advice of a #SpiritChat friend who told me a while back that “walking figure eights energizes the heart” (thank you, @SarahsEnergy). On this day, I first walked the river loop, and then crossed over to the lagoon.
As I approached the lagoon and its still waters to my right, I happened to glance left as a flash of pink and purple caught my eye. It was a single hibiscus plant, with blooms opened towards the sun, hosting some tiny visitors. Aha, I thought. A new flower. I knew that there would be at least one new bloom somewhere that would lighten my heart. As is my wont, I paused to record my ‘discovery’ and take a few photos. But that was merely the preview of what was to come. As if on cue, around the next bend that first arched towards the lagoon and then away from it, was an entire ‘field’ of hibiscus flowers. Hundreds of them, forming a ring around a pond out of which arose tall, branchless, trees (roots of trees?).
A heart-lightening, healing, inspiring sight if there ever was one. And as I kept walking, there were hundreds more. One pond after another. It was as if their seeds might have rained down from the skies in spring, and now they all bloomed in unison at mid-summer. The ‘discovery’ reminded me of what happens sometimes on the inner path. We develop a practice (walking), we get energized by some ‘results’ (flowers), and then we fade away from the practice when we feel that our ‘progress’ has stalled. The outer world squeezes our space, our time and our commitment.
And yet, we know from having personally experienced lightness and joy, that the practice can lighten us again. So, with grace and with remembrance, we return and we recommit. We renew our walk, our practice, by reclaiming a small fraction of space and time. We commit to simply walking in lightness in every step, lightness of heart, for the simple joy of being on our path. We learn to surrender our search for the flowers and the fruits, and let the path embrace us.
It is perhaps in our commitment to simply walk, that the fields of flowers bloom without, unbidden, to remind us of the lightness that can flower within us.
P.S. Join us Sunday, July 22nd at 9amET / 630pm India on twitter for our weekly conversation with the #SpiritChat community. Many of us love flowers and are flowering in the company of each other. Come join us. Namaste.
The first hibiscus…
A hibiscus “field” rings the pond