Out on a desert hike I was noticing the amazing variety of barrel cactus and thinking how much we humans are like them. So many different bodies and personalities! Oh and the stories they tell. Some are deeply scarred in ways that you can see, some in not such obvious ways. You can see the years that were tough by twists, wrinkles, leaning. You can see the times they flourished. Some never got to full potential, some look perfect regardless of their size. Some are even more beautiful because of the added character of their “up and down” years. They are round, prickly and slow growing. Each one is unique and they all are just what they are, barrel cactus.
Each person is unique even though we are all human, I wonder why we try to be other than what we are somehow. Okay, I’ve never tried to be other than human, but I sure have gone through times of wishing I had larger breasts, a better memory, was not so thin, had better teeth, had more vitality and “if only I could be more or less _____.” I always wished I was more round, less prickly and slow growing. Do you suppose those who have their roots in the earth wish they were different?
We have all had some tough years. Some people have tough lives, some more than others. Yet, learning to accept what is, and letting go of what is not, is the first step on the road to simply being authentically who we are. The barrel cactus gives much to the other wildlife who come their way. And obviously they receive well or they would not be alive in their harsh environment. They naturally attract what they need and those they can benefit because they are clear about who/what they are. It works the same for humans. The more clear about who we are and are not, our needs and what we have, and do not have to offer, and the more accepting we are about that, the more we will attract those with whom we can have a mutually beneficial relationship.
It’s about opening our minds and our heats in gratitude for who we are and what we have; accepting what is, and letting go of what is not. In doing that, we discover more ease, forgiveness, compassion and love in life. Being okay with who we are does not mean that we don’t continue to grow, change and evolve. With acceptance comes the opportunity to evolve. A lack of acceptance is what keeps us stuck. Setting intentions and staying focused on the heart (and perhaps exploring our own roots in the Earth) we find ease of being, like our friends in Nature appear to enjoy.
photos by Carolyn Ringo