It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth
and in the contemplation of her beauties
to know the sense of wonder and humility.
-Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
Welcome to the Reflection for October!
I hope that this month’s Spirit Garden Reflection finds you well wherever you might be. Here in the Maritimes, October has been an incredibly beautiful month. The trees have turned their brilliant orange, yellow, and red colours and the days have been warm enough to go for long walks.
One particular day, I was walking in uptown Saint John with a friend. There was a cruise ship in town and the streets were full of tourists taking pictures of the old stone buildings and trying not to be blown away by the wind coming off the harbour. As my friend and I walked, we enjoyed the maple trees lining the streets. Then, I happened to look down and saw the bright yellow, distinctive shape of a Gingko Biloba leaf. It surprised me and delighted me to find this treasure lying on the sidewalk. As I looked closer I saw more and more of them. I was so delighted by this surprise that I bent down and started picking some of them up so I could bring them home and press them. All the while, my heart was filled with wonder at discovering this unexpected gift.
The Gingko Biloba tree is one of the oldest species of tree and I had never seen one in real life before. I had no idea they even grew here in Saint John. My friend and I gathered our leafy treasures and then looked for the tree they had fallen from. We found it almost a block away. There was something so awe-inspiring about placing our hands on the bark of this ancient species of tree and to feel its solidness and strength.
We often speak of moments of awe and wonder in the sentence. I have been reading a book by Sharon Blackie called, The Enchanted Life, this fall. In it, she does a lovely job of describing how awe and wonder often go together, but they have subtle differences. Awe often fills us with a sense of encountering something so much bigger than ourselves and this can make us feel humble in a very healthy way. Like being in the presence of a species of tree that is millions of years old. And then wonder fills us with possibility by opening our hearts and our minds to what is possible. To me, this is wonderment.
These moments of awe and wonder can take us by surprise and nourish our souls so deeply. In our reflection this month, there is an invitation to notice our moments of awe and wonder so that we can be nourished and inspired by these sacred encounters.
In a state of wonder, we feel possible.
-Sharon Blackie, The Enchanted Life
The audio file below offers a reflection on the nature of awe and wonder and how they can sustain us. The reflection is followed by a handout with some questions that are intended to help you journal your own thoughts and experiences around this theme. Please print these out before you listen to the audio file.
You are invited to create a comfortable space for yourself, perhaps light a candle and make a cup of tea as you take about 20 minutes to listen to the reflection and then answer the questions. May this be a nourishing and replenishing time of some soul tending.
Please click on the button below to download the reflection questions that go along with this reflection on Wonderment.
Poem by David Whyte
You may wish to close your reflection by listening to this poem by David Whyte called The Opening of Eyes.
Spirit Garden Moments
Spirit Garden Moments offer a short pause in your day and an opportunity for reflection. Below is a Spirit Garden Moment that invites us to reflect upon the changing seasons and the natural cycles of letting go in order to let something new come in.
Letting Go, Letting In
The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.
There is a popular quote that often begins to circulate as the trees start to change colour in the fall. The quote says, “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.”
In these first few weeks of October, I have spent long hours walking amongst the trees, enjoying the vibrant red, orange and yellow hues of their turning. One particular day, I was standing at the base of a maple tree. On my walk, I had been pondering this feeling that I am in a place of transition in my life. Like the trees, there seems to be a letting go being called for, but I haven’t been clear about what I am leaving behind.
As I stopped and gazed at this maple tree, I noticed how some branches were bare and some branches still had brilliant red and gold leaves fluttering in the breeze. This image revealed how letting go happens in stages, it doesn’t happen all at once. The tree seemed to be showing me that you don’t have to work so hard at letting go as much as you need to allow the letting go to happen.
This subtle shift in awareness unlocked something in my heart. It is the allowing that is important. Letting go of beliefs, belongings, and even relationships that no longer fit us invites an inner stance of cooperation with an unfolding process of growth and transformation. Like a snake shedding its skin, or a snail leaving behind a shell it’s outgrown for a larger one, these cycles of dying to the old to embrace the new are happening all around us in creation. Perhaps it is only us humans that think we have to work and struggle with it so much.
My tree companion helped open my awareness to a gentler, kinder way of cooperating with the cycle when I feel it begin. It takes a certain kind of inner strength to relax into a stance of allowing the letting go to happen, yet this somehow makes the process seem more grace-filled and natural.
As these insights washed through me, I could see how I often want to contract, or cling to the old when these cycles of change come around. Standing with my tree companion, I felt an easing in my heart, like reassurance of the naturalness of the process, and that somehow in the letting go, there will also be a letting in.
In these days of fall, may we be open to receiving the lessons this cycle of the seasons has to offer us.
With letting go and letting in blessings,
This season of fall can speak to our hearts and souls in so many ways. It issues an invitation to let go of what we no longer need. It invites us to pause and drink in the beauty of the turning leaves and it can fill us with awe and wonder. As we continue to walk in this season, may the sounds, scents and sights of this season nourish your senses.
Connect & Share
Please share any comments about this Reflection in the comments below. Make sure to check out what others are posting and encourage each other!