As I drove to my office this morning, the jacaranda trees were draping over the boulevard. It sent my memories floating back to a post a few years ago that spoke to the spark that came from these luscious trees. Good timing for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Here it is reposted and updated just a smidge.
The jacaranda trees are in bloom, the landscape sprinkled with its almost indescribable purplish blue flower. It's one of the most beautiful sights in Los Angeles this time of year.
I saw several on a recent walk and stole a few moments underneath one of them, lying on the grass as discarded petals cascaded down on me. It felt a bit clandestine because I was lying on someone's front lawn. But, I didn't care.
It was delicious and cool and the sweet aroma took me back to another time.
My body sank into the ground and I was completely present with that tree. It was a reminder of how nurturing and grounding nature is. It gave me a glimpse into the invisible matrix that connects everything and everyone since the beginning of time, across nations and through our ancestral lives.
With Memorial Day upon us, when we remember and honor those who have passed before us, it conjures memories of those and their histories, victories and tragedies, rights and wrongs, acceptances and denials, and how they intertwine with our own senses of self. Often, it's their voices we hear in times of triumph, strife or decision. How many times do you wonder about what another would say or think before doing something?
I thought about this while under that tree, in that instant when I was sublimely myself. No deadlines, no internal or external expectations, no judgments, no rules.
It got me thinking about the possibility of adding another meaning to Memorial Day.
Truly, the most important person to honor and remember is yourself. Remembering who you really are, at your core. Not the who someone expected, or told, you to be. Not the who society or the environment in which you were raised told you to be. Nor, the who that tries to emulate someone whom you admire.
So, who does that leave? You strip away all of those expectations and put-upons and you're left with THE who, leading to one of the most eternal questions.
Who am I? Or more to the point, who is the real me?
As I sit here in midlife, this question takes on deeper meanings and is a guidepost often as I navigate my path.
A few thoughts to ponder:
When do you feel most present, the most settled in your being? What are you engaging in? What are you feeling in that moment? Not what are you thinking, what are you feeling?
When you hear the voices in your own head, pay attention. Take a few moments, without judgment, to identify the voices. Sometimes they will be masked in fear, self-criticism and ego. They make you feel bad, and out of your body. And, following them won't feel authentic, like it's not really you. You recognize it when you pay attention.
THE who voice, the soul voice, the one that is truly yours and yours alone will smack of wisdom, truth and courage.
Your own voice, your God voice, is weighted with the intentions of your Summum Bonum, or your highest good. That voice makes you feel grounded and present. Still and exuberant at the same time. Limitless.
I'm not saying that we don't learn from another's experiences and wisdom. We absolutely do. But, it's when we stop listening to our own wisdom, from our heart, when formulating our lives that we lose our authenticity, our true self.
Remembering who you are is also honoring the parts of you that have healed, memories that you've reconciled and lessons you have learned.
Shed those skins so that you can continue to advance toward true self. And, watch as they continue to occur. Tiny little deaths followed by tiny little births every day.
If you pay attention, you can feel the constant endings and beginnings.
At the end of the day, listening to you true voice, leading with your heart and allowing your heart to guide you will take you back to who you are. Every time.
How are you going to remember and honor the real you today?
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