"Try to open the window a few inches more than is comfortable. ...Try to keep the window unlatched more than feels safe. Only a person willing to be vulnerable, willing to be overwhelmed, even to fail, can find the almost-inexpressible and newly made discovery that is yours, and yours alone, to see, to feel, to say." Jane Hirshfield (
Mindful Magazine, February 2016, page 37.)
On Sunday, at the Acadiana Master Naturalist's third daylong workshop held at The Louisiana State Arboretum in Chicot State Park, we made a stop at the Caroline Dormon Lodge. Dormon was a naturalist, painter, writer and also known as "mother of the Kistachie National Forest" for her efforts to protect and establish this national forest in Louisiana.
A photo of Ms. Dormon caught my eye in the exhibit. She is sitting on a low wooden chair with an old, manual typewriter on her lap. Open books sit at the floor near her feet. Please excuse the poor quality of the photo below, but I want you to see this.
|Caroline Dormon with typewriter on her lap
What this photo says to me is that Ms. Dormon was determined to write her book. It didn't matter if she had the "perfect" conditions to do so. She just made it happen. She persevered as she did for many years in her fight to preserve the forests.
On our arboretum walk we passed by an American Beech tree that had been struck by lightning. New leaves were sprouting from its branches. Looking at the burnt out trunk I wouldn't have imagined the new growth. And yet it survived due to its amazing ability to pull nutrients from its entire circumference which it then sent up the tree. Just because part of the tree was damaged, didn't mean that it couldn't flourish.
When I "open the window" to new experiences, like through the Master Naturalists Program, I am inspired. When I open a new magazine, Jane Hirshfield challenges me to persevere. I take her advice as I write a play, something I have never done before. I hear her voice entreating, "open the window to vulnerability and possibly to failure, but more likely opening to new discoveries".
What window are you opening just a bit wider?
I've been thinking about compassion lately. I believe that we could practice a lot more of it these days. Would you join me in a personal campaign to live with more compassion? How?
Here are a few ideas:
- Listen to connect
- Say please and thank you to family members and mean it
- Each day take a few minutes to reflect on what you are grateful for
If we each start with these practices, perhaps we will feel more compassion for ourselves and for others and it will be contagious.