Just outside the sliding glass patio doors, the cicadas chirp — not loudly, not incessantly, but rather rhythmically — this approaching nightfall. I was going to say quickly approaching nightfall, but if I said that, it would only be my perception. It is no quicker than any other evening. The cicadas’ chirping, while it may vary in intensity and numbers, is not quantitatively different in tone than any other time. This late August evening, in fact, carries soothing nostalgia, powerful nostalgia — transporting my mind and emotions back many years, when I was a little boy, sitting outside under the pine tree in the quadrangle of the tidy south St. Louis apartment complex where we, our family, lived.
I felt secure, hidden, private under the widely spaced boughs of the fragrant pine, cones littered around me, sitting atop a thick, padded, silky blanket of slightly dried needles. I recall touching some glistening sap, pressing my forefinger and thumb together, and sniffing them deeply to inhale the resinous aroma. I giggled internally, because I didn’t want to startle the little birds I could hear not far above me, as I wondered if they even knew I was there. Mr. Whipple didn’t know I was there as he sat in his aluminum lawn chair just staring, nor did Mr. Vanderplum as he worked on his car across the street. It was such a wonderful, full, sensation, thinking that I could privately experience my little part of the world and the world was totally unaware of my observing, delighting eye.
Only a boy, I still thought about ideas like that. I wonder now how much of it had to do with being upset about alcohol and things I perceived as nastiness, things that I perceived hurt me. However, it was my world, my experience, and my pine tree, and I would not trade it for anything — or my parents’ love. I felt one with the tree, one with the birds above me, one with the pine and its cones and needles and sap, and I was free of all limitations — in my mind.
Nice, but I need to awaken from the reverie. I didn’t then, nor did I for years for various reasons to which I could assign blame. Some might question why I would want to awaken. Why? Because to be enrapt for awhile creates dreams, allows us to hear the whisperings of Heart, but to progress to being entranced allows Ego to lull us into being trapped in old forms: it feels comfortable and tingly and soothing, so even in a painful, purposeless life situation, we are prone to remain.
The reality? To be a child of loving but alcoholic parents created confusion, and I returned to the pine tree many times. As long as I could grab such moments, all was tolerable. Such learned patterns can occur in quite literally a plethora of situations, which is why so many of us end up as I did. Instead of seeing possibilities, we just feel comforted, and instead of taking the initiative, risk, and desire to forge out into exploration and adventure, listening to heart, shutting a deaf ear to all but Heart, we accept what we perceive as the safer, familiar life. And we are left with that emptiness, vaccuum, longing, and questioning deep inside; we are left with an untransformed, unfulfilled life. We all, everyone, want transformation.
If we are to realize the answers to those driving questions to which I referred last night, we need to be taking daily, transformative actions. What those are for you, I would have no idea, but maybe simply sharing my experience will strike some sympathetic chord for your understanding of who you are and what your purpose is here. Sitting under a pine tree just won’t do it.
This is just where I am now, having come through various experiences. I have realized my identity is Discovery, and my heart has made it clear: I discover self and help others to do that through my writing. I must, then, write, every day, some way, somehow, if I am to express love for myself and you and the world. My major transformative action, then, every day, is to write. Then, other transformative actions are to do whatever I can to get that work out there, to share it, to enjoy it with you.
Therefore, I work and enjoy activities associated with writing, even when I keep encountering new learning curves. No matter how frustrated I may get with social media know-how, publishing skills, or lack of income, I can always turn to my heart, and every time I have done that over the past five years, I have heard the same word: Write! Write! Write!
Engaging consistently, then, in transformative actions is based on faith in my own heart — not stupid, not irresponsible, not insensitive, but not safe, comfortable, or catering to my ego or those egos of anyone else. Based on that faith, I must dig in and perform. I must act. I must write. And when I tirelessly work those musts, they become privilege, joy, a genuine, gritty, daily delight.
What have you heard from your heart? You know, sitting under a pine tree can be a transformative experience, as long as you hear your heart there and get up and move. And don’t keep going back, don’t stay stuck in assuaging ego. Arise, engage in the work of transformation; it’s what we all want and need.
And in my mind, at times when Nature and sense trigger the little memories, it’s nice to revisit places like the pine tree of my seven year old self. Sweetness and lessons are there, and they help me to remember: Don’t stay stuck. Transform.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!