Waterproof Leaves: something of a ramble

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?

Water on leaf

Water on leaf

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.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Waterproof Leaves: something of a ramble

  1. Does it matter what type of leaf I am?

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  2. I wish I could write as beautifully and eloquently as you do. I truthfully feel intimidated when I read your blog, but also enjoy its substance. This is a wonderful post. I wish it were easier to put what you said into practice though. I often find myself influenced and directed by what others say. I think I place my own self worth on the chopping block of the opinions of others. I all to often judge myself against others, and I often times the entails me feeling inside that I don’t meet the mark and that the person I am comparing myself too is better than I am. The self induced intimidation I mentioned is a perfect example of this.

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    • Thank you for the compliment! Very kind. You’re right, it is hard to put this stuff into practice, isn’t it? I think the key word is practice – to just keep on trying. That’s where I’m at, anyway.
      Be well, and I hope this week is a good one.

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  3. Thanks so much for the virtual shout-out! πŸ™‚ I love your leaf analogy. I’ve always found it so interesting that each leaf is like its own little ecosystem – making its own food, controlling what goes in, controlling what goes out. That’s a useful image for me when I struggle with the same issues as the commenter above – comparing myself to others and almost always falling short. It’s up to me to take care of my little leaf – without worrying or caring about what the rest of the leaves are doing. Oh, and long live your umbrella tree!

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    • Thank you! The umbrella tree has lived through, let me see, 3 moves, 6 hospital admissionsa (gorblimey, I really didn’t want to type that! I started at 4 and then remembered the others …) and 2 heatwaves! Its poor little trunk has a right-angled dogleg in it because during one interstate move it got bent over. Still, it is like us – a survivor!
      I’m with you. All we can really do is take care of our own little leaves.

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  4. Since I am so far behind, how is your week going? I hope you’re remaining waterproof my dear.

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