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Jewel in the Eye

This weeks tree teaching: Beauty is the jewel in the eye. Taking responsibility for our own experience. What do you see?

It had been raining, yet again. Me and Bella went out for a walk across the playing field and into the meadow. The sullen sky was looking like it was going to send us another drenching. We had grabbed our chance, getting out as soon as the rain stopped.

It was time for a walk.

We skirted around the edge of the trees. The air smelt cool, damp, fresh and clean. I breathed it in deeply, consciously opening up to the admittedly dull day.

Bella doesn’t like the rain. She will run to the door all excited and leap out as you open it only to swivel 180 in mid-air and land back inside the house! So, we waited for the rain to stop and when it did we took our chance. Sometimes all you can do is wait for the rain to stop. Just give things time to change because there is nothing you can do anyhow. There is no point focusing on nothing but a rainy day. All that does is put emphasis on something unpleasant (if you don’t like rainy days that is).

It would have been so easy to blame the weather for that dull day and to blame that dull day for not making for a pleasurable walk. I could have spent the walk wishing the ground was dry enough to sit on and the sun to be shining. Instead I walked out glad the rain had stopped. I could have spent all my time in a place of blaming things outside of myself for my own experience.

Of course, if you don’t like rain you’re bound to exclaim “this is an unpleasant experience!” (or words to that effect). Let’s face we’re only human, it’s only natural to make an exclamation about something as it is happening to us. But then what? Do you keep going over it? Do you choose to sit in that pace of unpleasantness? Do you choose to let external events make you sit in that unpleasant experience? Do you choose to keep up a negative dialogue with something that is clearly producing an unpleasant outcome for you?

I could have continued reacting. I could have ranted and raged at the weather. I could have filled my thoughts and experience with unhappiness. I could have got consumed with chatting to others about how bad the weather was and made the experience even more unhappy. I could have engaged deeply with their negative reactions about the situation but what would that solve? Nothing other than further increase and embed a bad experience and some folks will love you to do that because that’s what they like to do. I could have been the one choosing to be consumed by negative emotions such as blame and anger. I could have contrived to get others to feel this way too. But, what is the point? We all have a choice.

Do we want to be miserable or do we want to be happy?

Surely it is better to stop focusing on that rainy day and put your attention elsewhere. I made my choice.

Don’t go out in the rain, do something else. Next of course is that if it has been raining and you go out, don’t go walking under the trees or the wind will just shake more rain onto you. If you can see the trees are wet and you haven’t a jacket, then just don’t go there! Of course, we can go out thinking how lovely the weather is only for the sun to suddenly disappear and what then? If you’re lucky someone will share their umbrella with you but if not, run for cover and then shrug your shoulders, get dry and simply wait for it to pass or do something else.

So, I found better, more constructive things to do than just wait for the rain to stop. There are some things that are beyond our control. All we can do is sit them out. I did some paperwork. I chopped up some treats and put them around the living room for Bella to hunt out. That was fun, watching her wagging her tail, investigating every corner and available ledge where there might be a treat waiting for her. “Go see!” I said to her and in she skipped happily. She knows this game, it is one of her favourites.

It is a lovely thing to be able to create moments of joy for others.

So, here we both were in this wet field. Bella was having fun sniffing about in the grass running in and out of the trees. I was walking slowly along the edge making the most of the chance to get out of the house.

As we walked along the edge of a clump of birch, hornbeams and aspens, I came across a branch that had broken part way off an aspen and was now hanging down to the ground. What captivated me were the droplets, little crystals balls balanced on each leaf. They seemed to gleam from within. I spent quite some time gazing at these. They filled me with such gratitude that I was lucky enough to be there at that moment to see them.

The rain did indeed come back before we got home but knowing what the weather was like I had come out in hat and coat. If you see the rain clouds looming again be prepared. Did I grumble about something I could do nothing about? No, I simply zipped up my jacket and didn’t engage with it.

The willingness to not to engage in negative reaction meant I was free to be drawn to be in by the beauty of the world, which of course is always there unless I allow my thoughts and feelings to get the better of me. Here I was, in the present moment and I was captivated. It wasn’t a big event, it wasn’t a mighty tree or a great lake that others might expect to be awed by. This was the beauty of small things or, what you might call the mundane.

The leaves looked so beautiful with their little jewels that I just had to photograph them. The trees held out their treasures to me. They brought me such immense pleasure and I hope they do for you too.


Amanda Claire

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