Friday, November 8, 2013

The Dancing Leaf - The Secret to Dancing through Life

For the first time in months, I went to the park to walk recently.  Intuition drew me to West End only a mile from my usual morning walking grounds along neighborhood streets.  Breaking patterns crossed my mind as I decided to walk counterclockwise compared to my prior circle around the park.   

I intended to walk yet ended up mesmerized by a dancing maple leaf suspended by a single spider's thread.  Moved by the wind, it twirled and spun as I watched. At first, I stood then I sat as people walked past. Two feet at most from the leaf and me, passersby walked on never acknowledging our presence, never looking my way.

This mirrored my experience of life on Earth at times especially as of late. I want to stop people while pointing nature's beauty out and shout, "Earth is beautiful. See!" And yet I don't stop people.  Usually I've a challenging enough time tending my own journey, ensuring I see what I'm suppose to see.

The leaf danced as its kin above and below watched with me.  I imagined it calling to those filling the branches above, "This is how it's done.  To dance freely, let go.  Give up control."   While those on the ground watched with satisfaction, no trace of competition or regret, as one of their own danced on and on.

I was gifted with beauty and grace as this precious messenger modeled for me dancing through life unselfconsciously.  I thought of the threads of love holding us all. 

The leaf danced for a half hour filling me with joy, wonder and gratitude. I sensed it enjoyed me as much as I did it.  The dance continued though I had to leave.

I made one quick half-loop around the park before returning to say my good-byes.

That's when I heard, "Take the leaf." 


I couldn't take the leaf and deprive it of its dance nor deprive those who might come upon it.

Prone to collecting Nature's things, I didn't want the leaf to become part of the collection that I easily neglect when hurried or disconnected.  I attributed this sudden urge-from-nowhere to the part of me that loves collecting Nature's things.

Yet I heard, "You were the one that noticed me."

If the leaf was mine, I wanted a sign.  I stated aloud that I needed the leaf to come near me.  The words were hardly from my lips when the wind brought the leaf within six inches of me.

'Luck,' I thought so I said it again.

And again the leaf was brought to me.

Attributing this once again to only the wind, forgetting Spirit moves unseen, I waited and a third time asked for the sign. 

Gently I broke the thread and held the leaf.

I thanked it and all its kin. I thanked the spider for without her thread the leaf could not have danced.  I thought of Grandmother Spider, the Weaver of Worlds in many native stories.  Without her, there would be no world in which for us to dance.  

Upon returning home, I sat holding the leaf before getting ready for work.  Then the leaf was given the center spot on the shelf where I keep sacred things.

I got caught up in work, tending my day and it wasn't until getting still that night that I remembered the leaf.  I gasped aloud to find it curling inward.  Its orange drying tips cupped toward the center.  I picked it up and listened again.

Turning inward has been my tendency in life.  Turning inward toward my center is how I listen deeply and best.  Yet turning inward to protect myself (rather than be myself) prompts a drying process.

Drying becomes dying and I stop dancing through my life.  I try to control my experience through not feeling whatever is up at the moment. 

I could not let this precious messenger go.  Hurriedly yet gently I did triage on the leaf carefully prying open its arms and placing it in wax paper before laying it to rest in the pages of the first heavy book within reach. I smiled.  The book was "Couples in Art." 

In the three days that passed, I began to second guess my having pressed the leaf.  The night I placed it in the pages of the book, I stopped the tears from falling that came to my eyes.  I could philosophize as to the temporariness of things, in this case the leaf, yet that too was my mind's way of keeping tears and fears at bay.

I could feel myself living on autopilot, which isn't living engaged.  I was subtly disconnected for every time I passed the book, I wondered about the leaf.

Reactively turning inward to shield myself or avoid pain and tension stops my experience of Me and contributes to disconnection.  This is one aspect of how I stop my personal dance and one of bigger patterns I am breaking.

Several days passed before I finally opened the book.  I needed to conclude 'our' story.  Had the leaf crumbled from not wanting to be saved?  Had I in panic done the wrong thing by trusting the urge to save it? The urge-from-nowhere is always from somewhere.  I've never been led wrong by trusting the unseen source of the urge.  

I am so glad I chose to get the leaf.  There it was, my partner, with arms open wide ready to embrace me after its dark journey of a few days in the book.  Immediately my heart's arms were opened.

I felt:  It's me! It's you!

My joy was doubled to find part of the spider's web hanging from a leaf tip.

Just like the leaf, keeping my heart's arms open is the secret to dancing through life.

As someone who feels deeply this is easier at times to write than live. Yet this is how I experience the love of Spirit and the Divine.  This is how I stay in love with Life and know that just as the leaf was carried by the wind, I am carried by spirit held by a strong thread of love again and again.

The leaf's end and beginning...

The clock read 11:11 the morning I shared this story on facebook.  No sooner had I pressed post, than I heard a familiar thump down the hallway, the sound I feared of a bird having hit a window.  Paper plates taped to the windows and reflectors purchased to prevent these things doesn't deter birds from chasing one another as I saw happen recently. That bird, a bluebird, chased by one of its kin, lived. 

I threw on a coat and shoes and rushed outside where I searched hoping if I had heard a bird it too survived.  Instead I found a beautiful female cardinal her head and wing titlted a bit. I immediately scooped her into my hands then into a clothe and held her first in silence then in song.

I sang to her, "You are so beautiful to me" and thought, 'This must be how God feels.'  I spoke to her of her beauty and asked her to hold on if it was for her good.  My heart sat open in peace and pain. Nearly an hour passed.  She left. Still holding her, I came inside and read of the symbolism of cardinals. I have read of them many times past.  As I did I knew it was time to let her go yet there was more.  It is time to let the leaf go as well.  

Previously I would have wanted to hold on.  I feel like I'm just waking up in life to the deep beauty of the Earth all around me.  I want to hold on. I want to hold on.  Yet holding on does not lend itself to dancing.  The truth is when I'm awake and engaged, I do hold within me the presence of what I've experienced even though I'm letting it go.

Dancing as the leaf showed is about letting go, letting go, letting go.

I walked into my yard to free the cardinal and the leaf and I sensed some parts of me.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse  8 November 2013

1 comment:

laura drawdy mallernee said...

So there I, too, was at Centennial park this week. My intent was to take a brisk walk around the park before a doctor's appointment, but I kept stopping to stare up at the amazing old trees--especially at the oldest Sycamore I had ever seen. I even got to see, of all things, a hawk up in one of the large trees by the pond. Indeed, we are called to live mindfully--no matter what the rest of the world is doing.