Our stories are marked by rhythms of life and death—or to put it simply: everything changes. Connecting to the rhythms of nature grounds us in a larger, collective story and empowers us to honor the more personal patterns of our individual lives. This post is the first of a four-part series in which Mandy reflects upon the pattern of nature and its relevance to our personal development.
“Some say that wisdom is simply innocence seasoned by experience.”
Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind
Where I live, it is currently springtime—a season of increasing light and rebirth. So a few weeks ago, I celebrated new life by getting up early to see the sunrise. Looking east, I thought about what it means to come alive. I thought about what it means to see more light, and to be reborn. As I watched the world turn orange, I remembered that light and life both begin in the east, where the sun first appears above the horizon. I remembered that enlightenment and rebirth are bound together:
As we become wiser, we also become younger.
A few years ago, a couple of robins built their nest on the windowsill above my front door. For weeks, it wasn’t safe to leave or enter through that door, because a robin parent was always guarding its eggs—or later, the babies that hatched from them. (One day I came home just as a delivery person was fleeing my front yard with a package held high in the air and a raging robin circling his head.) Then one afternoon, just as I approached the top of my staircase, I saw four young robins awkwardly pacing back and forth beside the nest on my windowsill. I quietly sat and watched with bated breath as each bird took its first leap into the air. The entire process took only minutes—but for those few moments I was filled with both awe and fear: “How do these little ones know to jump? How do they know how to fly? Are mom and dad watching? What if this bird doesn’t make it—what if she falls?”
There’s something these young birds possessed that I wanted—something that tends to weaken as humans age but will strengthen as we mature: faith. Nature made these young birds trust that something would carry them through the air; they had faith that something would provide and care for them. My adult mind could hardly fathom such a depth of trust; to me, the innocence of these birds looked something more like foolishness.
We often assume that wisdom and innocence are opposites—that as we grow in experience, we must (in order to survive, of course!) lose something of our more trusting nature. But what if growing wiser means we are so connected to the voice of light within us that we are no longer bound to all the other voices that remind us of our reasons to fear? And what if this kind of wisdom actually makes us less attached to any particular outcome, and instead more present to the current world in which we find ourselves?
What if becoming wiser means we also become more trusting of the goodness and care that are available to us?
Is it because of their innocence that the wisest people I know are also the most playful and young at heart—and why the wisest among us so often appear, at least by conventional standards, to be the most foolish?
The wisest among us are like Master Yoda, who chortles as he rummages through Luke Skywalker’s possessions, unceremoniously flinging each precious item into the air. They are like Dumbledore, whose eyes twinkle as he tells Harry Potter, “One can never have enough socks.” They are like Gandalf, a “disturber of the peace,” who conjures magical fireworks resembling dragons. And they are like Gramma Tala, the “village crazy lady” in Moana, who dances to a rhythm no one else can hear. I long to be like each of these: old and wise—but mostly, young and free.
At the end of my life, I hope to be more like I was at the beginning—only, seasoned by experience. I hope to return to the east, just like the sun seems to do every morning.
I want to grow younger as I grow up—how about you?
If you’re interested in receiving future Artisan blog posts by email, CLICK HERE to subscribe to the list. We publish new, free, and (hopefully) helpful content every other Friday, and we’ll never try to sell something to you. Therapy is the one space in the world you get to receive without feeling compelled to give in return. We want the Artisan blog to feel the same way.
Disclaimer: Posts on the Artisan Clinical blog represent a combination of our therapists’ personal opinions and professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with a therapist via the blog post or the comments section does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more familiar with your specific situation. While all blog comments are read and appreciated by our therapists, the blog cannot be monitored continuously, so if you have a need that requires immediate attention, you should go to your nearest emergency room for assistance. We do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists, you can do so on our "make an appointment" page. We respect the privacy and confidentiality of our clientele, so we write about ourselves, not our clients.
Latest posts by Mandy Hughes (see all)
- Looking East: The Wisdom Of Foolishness - May 19, 2017
- Healing By Subtraction: The Key To Overcoming Life’s Obstacles - March 10, 2017
- The Art Of Blessing: Creating Something New - January 13, 2017