To Sprawl

Today’s Soul Report:

What if we were to see our roots exposed like this tree? How long would they be? How far would they reach? What understanding would this sight bring of who we are and where we have been and where we are going?

I came upon this tree last week. Earlier that week, I had lost our family dog of almost 13 years. This tree brought solace. I sat upon its roots, within its deep crevices. Wisdom. This is what I thought when I first saw the tree. What wisdom it must have, and would it share some with me.

I asked for its message, its lesson for me. I heard the word sprawl. The word sprawl means to spread out over an area in an irregular or untidy way. At first glance, to an “untrained” eye, I suppose the roots do look irregular and untidy. If it were on a person’s personal property they may even be seen as a nuisance, worrying about the foundation they might crack. To my eye, which sees the so called untidiness of nature as beauty and in perfect order, these roots were the most beautiful and magical image I have seen.

But what does the word sprawl mean for me? There is beauty, adventure, magic and beyond this- natural instinct to sprawl- from within our center to outside- everywhere. To touch as much as we can. To reach and expand to and for our fullest potential in this bodily, earthly form.

In my fear. My hesitation. My ability to over-think and out-smart, so not to let too much in for fear I may feel too good or be hurt too badly, I’ve not sprawled and expanded like I long to, as this tree has. As this tree shows. That is its lesson for me. Reach. Expand. Sprawl as I have never done before.

Today’s Soul Tip:

I’ve noticed a certain joy creeping up inside of me in this week of my dog passing. The grief, tells me to be loyal- remember no joy. Something bad has happened. As sad as it was to watch my dog die, as someone said, the experience showed me who I am and who I was in those moments was open, vulnerable and courageous. I faced what I feared. Perhaps facing our fears sprouts our seeds of joy. But how can they grow, if I squash them with my loyalty to sadness and despair. It is not that I choose to deny my grief. I feel it when it is here, but I am also aware I am more comfortable in grief, sadness and despair than I am in joy. I must make room for that which I am unsure of.

When we are being stretched to go beyond what is comfortable, we might feel pissed off. Scared. Disloyal. We think we do not want to be moved beyond what’s pleasant, but actually we do want this. We want to be stretched. Moved. We long to sprawl. Expand. To reach to our fullest potential.


The Soul Reporter

>A Soul Tune-Up is a Turn-Inward


Today’s Soul Report:

I posted I would do it, and I did. I had my Day of Nothing. See there- that’s my foot, sporting my TOMS, serving my impulse to find a bench and just sit.  No phone, computer, responsibilities, nothing (although obviously, I had a camera), just me, and it was fabulous. I only reached for my phone, that was sitting face down at home on my nightstand, twice. It was easy and effortless to be with nothing but me.

I took myself to lunch. I ordered chili and a pot of peppermint tea at Penelope’s Cafe. The day was cloudy, just how I like them. A bit cool, but an outdoor fireplace blazed next to me. I listened to a mother and a son gossip about relatives who just left their home. I observed everyone had someone, and if they didn’t they had a book.  There was one man, an elderly gentleman, a regular who chatted with the owner who sat alone, like me with his bowl of chili. No book. No phone.

After my last sip of tea, I drove down the road to Descanso Gardens, where I spent the day. I traveled light. Prada pouch filled with just wallet and keys, and my camera. I had only been in the entrance of this beautiful place, and wondered if there would be a bench or two where I could sit. There were so many benches in just the right places, I could pick and choose, which one spoke to me. The first was a solitary chair. I had hoped one was near where I spotted the roof of a cottage. I’ve always wanted to live in a cottage.

The sun was peeking through the gray, and the air became muggy and warm. The chair was under no protection, and I soon left. Found a hummingbird unafraid of my standing so close.

There was a wedding party wandering with their agenda-induced photographers. I went wherever they weren’t, finding myself not wanting to be surrounded with the traditions and bothering’s of our society. More bothering’s occurred- constructions sounds beyond the fence, which were soon drowned out by a small waterfall. 
Children screamed. Groups of youth, laughing and talking loudly. I found a rhythm of sitting on benches and exploring the gardens. Of flexibility with noises and wondering…where is the quiet reverence…? Why must we make so much noise everywhere we go…?(small children excluded. I had a high-pitch screamer and despised the dirty looks). 
Again, no one was alone- me, and then I spotted a couple more- elderly women. As if they visit often. Sun hats on. Walking shoes present. Silent. Reverent. Moving to a slow-paced and present rhythm. Like me, without the sun hat. Is it possible to move in this way even while I am 39? Must I wait for solitude and presence when I’ve aged enough to know it’s the moment that matters? 

My peace grew as I moved further from the road more traveled. I sat at this bench for a long while. Sat until truth was present.

I envy the squirrels. All of nature is theirs to wake up to everyday. They are one with it. My life seems so far removed from this way of life.  These things—phones, televisions, the agenda of this ego-driven modern world. Responsibilities. But as much as it might seem this day was about what’s not right- the noise and the bothering’s of the world- the moment on the bench was more of an affirmation of what my soul needs.  It needs nature. It longs for communion. Solitude. Space to return to the the slow-paced rhythm of my soul, which only appears slow against the back-drop of our fast-paced world.

We move like this because we forget who we are. We lose touch with our pace. We think we will succeed if we are fast-movers. Recall, the tortoise and the hare. The mystery- what we seek is in the moment, moments we often miss running to win like the hare. My oldest daughter turned 19 last week. My youngest turns 11tomorrow. I recall our little Lilli laying on our bed, newly born. The rest is a blur. I desire no more blurring. I desire clarity. Richness. Depth, and a pace which allows such pleasures.

My Day of Nothing was enough to remind me there is no bonus in stress. In force. In fast. NONE. I no longer need to be addicted to the chemicals it gives. Peace. Relaxation. Ease. This is my new fix.

Today’s Soul Tip:

Nature runs through our veins. We are alive with it and it is alive with us. Spend as much time with it, and if nature doesn’t make your soul sing and bring ease to your steps, offer yourself daily doses of what does bring you back to your natural rhythm.  It will give you a much needed tune-up. 


The Soul Reporter