I had trouble falling asleep the other night, and my mind wasn’t easily settling into my usual ‘body scan’ regime, so instead I imagined I was the leaf of a tree. I visualized the full life cycle of the leaf, imagining each sensation in my body: the energetic bursting forth and growth spurt, drawing on energy from the mother tree; basking in the sun’s light, creating sugars and nourishing the whole; the slow depletion of chlorophyll as the leaf turns brown in autumn; that moment of disconnection, as the leaf is plucked away by a brisk wind; landing on the surface of a running creek; reaching a waterfall, and being flung once more into the air; landing on wet soil beside the creek; being picked up and used by an insect to fortify its home; slowly disintegrating, and returning to the soil; and, finally, fertilizing the plants nearby.
It was a lovely meditation, and very soothing.
Regular readers will know of my great love of plants. One of my favourites is my crooked umbrella tree, which adorns my livingroom. Occasionally, one of its large glossy green leaves will fall. Two days ago, I placed one such leaf face-down on the soil, and – just out of interest – put some water on top of it, when I watered the plant. I wondered how long the water would remain. Would it evaporate before the leaf decomposed sufficiently to allow it to drain away?
Leaves are interesting. They are porous to air and water, but also – as the above photo shows – waterproof. In other words, they allow water out when it suits the leaf, but otherwise produce a barrier against its passing. They are selectively porous.
Being selectively porous sounds like a very good mental health strategy: allow in those things which are helpful, and deny access to others; allow out those things which it is useful to release, but hold close those things which nourish you.
I had the opportunity to exercise both practices yesterday. Someone questioned my motives in running the short story competition I’ve set up for the mental health community on WordPress, and that hurt – but the pain didn’t turn to suffering, because I let it go. (OneDM knows what I’m talking about, when I refer to the difference between pain and suffering!) On the other hand, I rejoiced in achieving a goal I’d worked towards for a long time. Nothing was going to steal that feeling of achievement from me.
This week, I am determined to behave like a leaf: waterproof against barbs; open and receptive to the positive and helpful; releasing the no-longer-helpful; and, always, taking in good energy and creating metaphorical sugar from it!
Wishing you leafiness in the week to come.