The Gradual Greening

Each year I look forward to nature’s transformation in March. I imagine the earth as a reluctant lover, having been cold and withdrawn in the winter months. Now slowly, ever so slowly, she warms again to the sun’s touch, showing her pleasure in the tender shoots of daffodils and crocus, budding dogwoods, and the slightest hint of a southerly breeze.

Hildegard noticed that plants and trees grow into the fullness of their nature according to the capacity they were given. A seed grows into the only plant it can. She believed that healing is really the power of your own nature to be itself—the freedom of the true self to live in unity with the life force that has been given to it.

Contemplation of Nature’s Offerings

Today’s post is by Bryan Berghoef. Contemplation doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s incredibly simple. When I tell myself I’m entering into a contemplative space, it’s as if everything else sort of blurs around me, and the center focuses more sharply.

My physical surroundings become secondary to my inner state of mind and heart. Beatrice Bruteau confirms that “what interferes with our living a contemplative life is not the busy, noisy, confused, demanding, harassing world in which we must earn our living and care for our families. We like to blame this environment, but that is not really the source of the disquiet. Even if we could go to the country, have nothing much to do and no threats to our comfort, we would take our own noisiness with us.”

That said, our physical surroundings do matter. My family and I recently relocated from a busy urban neighborhood in Washington, DC, to a rural farm in Holland, Michigan. The differences in our physical surroundings are plenty–yet as Bruteau notes, peace requires more than a change in scenery.

There was much to love about the city and the neighborhood we left behind. Yet undeniably my wife and I have both felt and experienced a kind of inner calming since arriving in our peaceful location, situated on the edge of my in-law’s spacious flower farm.

The sheer expanse of sky that one experiences in wide open spaces tends to nurture an inner expansiveness through a sort of spiritual osmosis. Simply walking beneath this wide blue sky does its own sort of inner work on one’s soul. In this soft, subtle space, I find myself renewed and refreshed.