Yesterday was our final session for the Exploring Rainbows course. As with many of my courses, the workshop was set up alphabetically to prompt me to think more creatively. We went through the alphabet for each color, as well as the rainbow. The letter U for each color represented something "unexpected". This was the Unexpected reference in the blue section.
And yes, it's ok to be smart!
If waters are placid, the moon will be mirrored perfectly. If we still ourselves, we can mirror the divine perfectly. But if we engage solely in the frenetic activities of our daily involvements, if we seek to impose our own schemes on the natural order, and if we allow ourselves to become absorbed in self-centered views, the surface of our waters becomes turbulent. Then we cannot be receptive to Tao.
There is no effort that we can make to still ourselves. True stillness comes naturally from moments of solitude where we allow our minds to settle. Just as water seeks its own level, the mind will gravitate toward the holy. Muddy water will become clear if allowed to stand undisturbed, and so too will the mind become clear if it is allowed to be still.
- Deng Ming-Dao, from 365 Tao, Daily Meditations
It's unsettling that there are such contrasting perceptions about Baltimore, a city I've grown to love. Yesterday I read a disturbing article detailing the police corruption through the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). The article ended by saying "Baltimore can't run a school, a police department or even a zoo".
Admittedly, there is truth in that statement, and yet it disturbs me to see only one side of multifaceted city, so rich with warm and wonderful people, history, inventions, gardens and parks music and the arts . . . . It reminds me of a fable I read years ago.
The Blind Men and the Elephant
The earth is abundant with Mother Nature's gifts, but some are dismissed because of labels.
When we think of weeds we may think of a plant that has no value, or even worse, as something detrimental and destructive. But if we keep an open mind and look at them from a creative perspective, we can find value in all of Mother Nature's gifts.
For example, the white dead nettle has been used as an astringent, an expectorant, gargle, and a compress for wounds and burns. Another name for White Dead Nettle, Lamium album, is White Archangel.
Labels of any kind are limiting. We may think that only negative stereotypes can limit, but we need to beware of “positive” labels as well. If you say that someone is “brainy” you may not consider that they are also athletic or artistic.
We tend to stop looking and listening once we have applied the label. When we make judgments about others, it limits our perceptions and it is a lose/lose situation for everyone."
Download my free e-book, "It's a Weed - Nature's Hidden Treasures" as a special gift!
She literally took two steps back. "They are the worst kids in the school." I left her office wondering which of us was more stunned.
The following week I asked the students how they had been chosen to be in my class. They reinforced the principal's statement. One girl seemed amused that I didn't know. She said they let me think the best of them instead of the worst. Treating them with respect and making it clear that I expected the best from them had been a winning situation for me as well as the students. There were no limits based on false expectations, and the young people continued to surprise and delight me with their talents, insights and creative potential.
It was the same in the prison. We didn't ask why the women were incarcerated. The less we knew, the better. Many had been labeled and expected to do poorly all of their lives. The women I met were intelligent, creative, kind and spiritual. Their paths often led them in the wrong direction because of a "go along to get along' attitude. They didn't have enough self esteem to refuse to participate in activities that could get them into trouble. And once incarcerated, their labels, and the labels from others, stuck, whether they were true or not. The white dead nettle, as does everything in nature, has lessons to teach.
In April of 2011, when my home was flooded, I was planning to rebuild, and in the process waiting to move some place permanently. Dear friends came to the rescue, not just for me but for Zippy, my Puggle, and Rocky, my Main Coon cat. I will be eternally grateful! Rebuilding didn't work out and I eventually moved to Baltimore and lived in an apartment for several years until I purchased a home.
During that time, it seemed that turtles were everywhere - on walks in the woods or by the river, in the park, in cards and designs, on jewelry. They reminded me that I had everything I needed and I should go slowly and not rush into anything.
Today's treasure is an exquisite turtle pottery box from my dear friend Nancy. It reminds me of my journey and helps me remember the things I really need are on my back and in my heart. It also reminds me not to rush. The universe unfolds its miracles at the perfect time, and they are always much more miraculous than I could have imagined! Thank you Nancy!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Do The Write Thing
Fashion And Fabrics
Lessons From Nature
Pay It Forward
Take The Rose Instead
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!