ten years ago…
It’s a brilliant sunny day in San Francisco. My boyfriend and I are, very slowly, making our way through the community garden near Fort Mason. It’s a really wonderful place because the people gardening there seem to love what they cultivate. You can feel it in the air. Flowers seem to flourish here. It could be the weather, too, and I can see the care with which each person is tending their patch.
We’ve wound our way through most of the garden, and as we come into the northwestern corner, just before we make our way up the terraced hillside to the gate to leave, I see a flower right before my eyes. Something in this flower draws me in. It’s the colors. It’s the light. And, it’s something more.
My eyes completely take this flower in. I don’t know what kind of flower it is, but it is tall and narrow in shape, and along the height of it it moves from deep purple, to indigo blue, to green, to yellow. The color flows in and out with no perceptible shift from one to the next.
In what is probably not more than a second of looking, I am filled with a profound sense of something that I have no words for. Absolutely no words. But, I am filled with it. My heart…my whole body is filled with it. A space even bigger than my body is filled with it. This space encompasses this flower. For a length of time that is outside of time, I am enveloped in something I have no words for, something that literally causes me to go speechless. Tears are streaming from my eyes.
The beauty of this flower as it moves from purple through to yellow has opened me to the wordless place, and I stand still, transfixed, transported, transformed. In this moment beyond moments, in this community garden filled with the most commonplace happenings of daily life, I come to know something profoundly beyond what my eyes normally take in.
My boyfriend takes my hand and asks me, “What’s wrong, Honey?” He sees my tears. He sees that I am not moving, transfixed in front of what looks like just another flower. I cannot speak. I try, but I am speechless. He puts his arm around me, and his touch slowly brings me back to the garden, to standing there with him.
The flower still looks extraordinary to me, but I am no longer transfixed nor speechless. I begin to try to tell him what I experienced, but again there are no words. Everything I say just sounds ordinary. “It is so beautiful. Look at the colors; how the gradually move from purple, to indigo, to blue, to green, to yellow. It is so incredibly beautiful.” Yet inside, the experience I am trying to relate is so alive with fire, with light, with life. The words cannot capture the feeling, but they do carry some of it because it is alive.
Back to now, ten years later…
In looking back, I see how my relationship with life changed, my relationship with flowers changed, my ability to ‘see’ changed.
The flower was filled with light, with a fire of radiance, a fire of light in every cell.
That experience stayed with me for a bit, and then it began to recede in memory…until now. I remember trying to understand what had happened. I tried to make sense of it. But, I don’t think that is necessary, even if it is what we tend to do. I feel experiences like this come when they come. I see now that all the while something was deepening in me: a relationship with beauty, with light, with immanence.
In that moment, I felt love. I felt the light of being streaming through me, streaming through the flower. In that moment, I cannot say what I was or who I was. The woman. The flower. The light. The fire. The love.
What birds plunge through is not the intimate space
in which you see all forms intensified.
(Out in the Open, you would be denied
your self, would disappear into that vastness.)
Space reaches from us and construes the world:
to know a tree, in its true element,
throw inner space around it, from that pure
abundance in you. Surround it with restraint.
It has no limits. Not till it is held
in your renouncing is it truly there.
Rainer Maria Rilke, translation by Stephen Mitchell, by way of my friend Barbara
To know this, in its true element, throw inner space around it…from that pure abundance, pure love, pure beauty [with]in you.
Why do I share this story with you? We are all this. This love. This light. This fire. This space. We are this force. We are this Nature.
Nature is Light made flesh.
Becoming aware that we are this is the necessary work of our time.
Becoming a Force of Nature is waking up to the divinity, the holiness of your own flesh, blood, and bones. To see this light within you, to see your own divine, sacred Self radiating and pulsing with life, and to see it in all of life. It is waking up to your body’s intelligence, and to your own beautiful self worth.
I’d love to have you join me for this summer course of awakening to the force of nature that you already are. We begin June 9th.