Ordinary Miracles and How to Observe More of Them
Today my thoughts are on ordinary miracles. A beautiful cyclamen plant was given to me last Mother’s Day by my partner’s sister — so sweet of her to think of me “because I had a mom” though no children of my own. It was in the teeny tiniest little pot with itty bitty leaves and bore four or five little fuchsia flowers. I soon put it in a much bigger pot and left it outside for the summer where the first blooms died, new ones took their place, and it grew to eight-inch diameter. I brought it inside last fall and it sits in a chilly window in a pot that cracked when I wasn’t looking. I do not feed plants in the winter and still I am now experiencing the second bloom of the winter, four bloom cycles in all for this sweet little plant being, in less than a year with less than ideal conditions!
I think of cyclamens I have had in the past. I tried so hard to get even a second bloom out of them; reading about them, feeding, trimming, and placing the plant in the “perfect” conditions. Never once, back then, did I consider how beautiful the leaves themselves are without blooms. This miraculous little plant reminds me of letting go and surrendering to the perfect timing of the universe. The plant also reminds me to remember appreciation for what is, even childlessness.
After I took these photos and realized the great lessons from this plant person, I walked outside and around my yard. From a distance the winter weary property is brown and dull and fifty or so trees still lay on their sides in the periphery, leftover from Hurricane Sandy seven years ago. Brown and dull is typical of early Spring but ridding the property of so many downed trees was cost prohibitive. Unraked brown leaves huddle in nooks and corners, some in puddles of mud in the low end of the property.
If I stopped there, I might drown in the human tendency toward negativity bias — the sneaky part of the reptilian brain that wants to focus on all the bad things, even if an equal share of good things are available to think about. You can read more about negativity bias here: https://www.psycom.net/negativity-bias
Here is where I reminded myself of the miracles. A closer look at the yard showed me the many shoots of crocus, daffodils, iris, and grape hyacinth popping up from the cool earth. Many trees and shrubs have buds and birds are gathering materials for their nests. In a month or less all of it will burst into a colorful display of life. I look forward to the wild phlox that cover much of the uncut land in May and June. Wild violets will take over the grass alongside white clover blossoms and the under-appreciated dandelion. Later, I will pick from a profusion of wine-berry bushes and turn the sweet red fruits into pies and jams.
On these last cold evenings my partner and I enjoy a warm fire in our wood stove, a stove that I put in to make use of all the available wood from that crazy hurricane. That crazy hurricane caused an acquaintance to become a friend because she gathered a large group from her church to come and cut up ten trees that fell in inconvenient places close to the house. She and her entourage saved me the removal costs of eight-hundred and fifty dollars per tree. None of those ten trees did a speck of damage to my home when they fell and the church folks hauled away half of the wood for use in their own fireplaces — a win-win! After we split and burned the remaining stumps, I began sawing off smaller upper branches from the fifty peripheral downed trees. Those smaller pieces start up and burn easier than large logs and provide a nice hot crackling fire.
Yes, I sometimes wish my property had not been turned into a lumber camp, but if it had not I would not have experienced all the good that came out of one crazy storm. If I spent too much time focusing on the brown and dull appearance of my winter weary yard, the hours might drag on and make me feel like Spring will never get here. Had I not appreciated and cared for an itsy bitsy plant, I would not be experiencing the joy I feel when I look at it now.
Ordinary miracles abound. All you have to do is take some deep breaths, slow your mind, lasso the part of your brain that promotes doom and gloom, thank it for sharing, and send it on vacation. Your brain has a positive side too and as you train yourself to focus there you will discover the grace of ordinary miracles every day. What miracles are you noticing today?
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