As you walk the Trail of Reflection, bring forth memories of your life and memories of those you love. Come back here regularly for new thoughts to ponder!
We speak of our past as if somehow it is separate from who we are.In reality, we are our experiences both good and bad. Our busy present often hides our past. We get caught up in destinations and forget the journey. The experiences of the journey are what is important. Our experiences, joyful and painful, become our memories and our memories guide our life. As you walk the Trail of Reflection, bring forth memories of your life and memories of those you love.
Is there anything more wonderful then hugging a baby after their bath. Water hugs children like the arms of a mother or father. Recall a child’s laughter at the beach as the waves touched their feet. Children love to splash in puddles and run through the rain because water is unbreakable and laughs back. To those parents who have lost a child; your tears of love are hugging your child and holding them close.
Children love to climb trees, particularly apple trees. They understand that being surrounded by blossoms, that by watching apples grow bigger and then eating the delicious fruit, is nature talking to us. Children are taller than adults when they are in an apple tree. With squeals of laughter and an apple in hand, they can keep big people away. Close your eyes, listen closely, hear the children playing in the apple trees.
Sit down, look out over Scales Pond. Take a moment to reflect. Who in your life gives you their love without any conditions? We spend so much time trying to "become", to meet expectation, to be valued by others, to be loved. Children don't expect parents to "become". For them, parents "are". A child's love has no conditions. Years from now, which will you treasure most, a child's unconditional "I love you", or the applause of "becoming"?
No one knows from one moment to the next what lies ahead in life. Ask a parent who has lost a child. When bad things happen to good people there is a choice. Choose a path of light or a path of darkness. There are no other choices. Both are difficult. The path of darkness is seductive because it can mask the hurt and pain, appear to keep it away. The path of light is sometimes more painful but it is built on truth. Truth allows you to face challenges. Truth keeps you from hiding. Truth sets you free.
Do you feel sometimes that life is flowing as quickly as the water rushing through the dam? Listen to the noise of the water, see how it collects at the bottom, swirls around and then moves on. We are put on this earth to flow through it. Sometimes we rush like the water below. At other times we meander slowly. Do both in good measure. Remember, it is the waters of our past and the water of this moment that make up who we are, not what is around.
Take a quick inventory. Name three people who consistently bring a smile to your face. What is it about them that brings out that smile? Are you known as a smile giver? To practice being a smile giver, spend one hour a week playing with children. Observe them in action. Most of the time they are respectful and cooperative. They share, use their imaginations, and build things. Most importantly they laugh and their laughter can light up the smiles inside each of us - if we let it.>
It can be magical to go for a walk by a stream alone, with a friend or a loved one. Streams, like birds, are nature’s voice. Sit by our stream, close your eyes, and listen. The stream will talk to you, the trees and bushes will surround you and the wind caress you. Look closely into the stream and see reflections of your past and your present. Think of loved ones gone and loved ones present. They are treasures, each one. Walk softly beside the Dunk River splash your hand in it. Bend a branch and for a moment allow your self to feel the strength that lies in weakness.
We continually cross bridges from birth to death. Crossing each bridge brings with it, its own wonder, times of discovery, times of joy, times of sadness. Don’t be afraid to cross life bridges. Some bridges need to be strong and well supported. Other bridges can be crossed by just taking the hand of a friend. Some bridges need to be crossed often. Others are used once but must be strong enough to support a weight so heavy that only trust allows you to cross. Surround yourself with excellent bridge builders. None of us can walk this life alone.
Like any magnificent tree, we all have within us capacity to shelter people from the storm...but it takes work. Accept that you are wounded and need, from time to time, an out stretched hand to build your strength. Seek strength from those whose life journey has been a challenge, for they have much to teach. Build your strength daily in little ways, so that when called on, your branches will be strong, your roots deep and you know how to bend.
We never stop learning. Think of the new born child, totally dependent on others, who two years later chases butterflies and says "I love you". We of the 21st century have access to limitless information. Our challenge is to turn information into knowledge for when we do, we have learned. Physical, social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual learning happens 365 days a year 24 hours a day every day of our lives. Look to children and the elderly for wisdom. Their wings are spread wide...and they fly with the eagles.
Stand here a moment, look around; imagine the tall pines that surround you are the people that love you. Who are they? Which of your pines understands that the joy of love is about giving it, not receiving it? Spend some time seeking love, receiving love from others feeds our soul. Spend more time, however, giving love. Nurture the people in our lives who are the red in our pink and the yellow in our green.
The young trees in the Ever-living Forest will grow and over time become old. Such is not the case for the Forest’s children. The forever young who are remembered here will not complete life’s cycle. Those who long to walk with them for a lifetime can but grieve for what might have been. Walk softly in this place, for each tree was planted with a love that is profound. Listen closely in this place, for the children are whispering, "I'm with you now, I'll see you, bye the bye".