“When you walk through a beautiful botanical garden, you feel open and light. You feel love. You see beauty. You don't judge the shape and placement of every leaf. The leaves are of all sizes and shapes and they face every-which-way. That's what makes them beautiful. What if you felt the same way about people.”
Michael J. Singer (The Untethered Soul, p. 177)
I love walking in botanical gardens. I used to go almost every day and walk on paths up into the woods and down into a pristine Japanese garden. There is a big flat rock on a back trail that was my wailing wall. I sat on it many a day to cry about things going on in my life. There is a small pagoda in the Japanese garden with various types of bonsai trees—maples, oaks, birches—all familiar, all tiny and perfect. Their little leaves turn brilliant in autumn and fall, just like any other. My particular fascination is with the multitude of seed pods—from the diaphanous tufts of the milkweed floating on air, to the woody sculpture of the lotus standing high above the water. Their abundance and diversity amazes me.
My former mother-in-law owned many acres of land that included a large flower garden. But she grew the same flowers every single year. Zinnia, cosmos, coreopsis, cone flowers. Her borders were marigolds and ageratum—always. While I love all these flowers, I wondered, with all this space, why not grow a wider variety. Why not experiment with some roses, some gladiolas, maybe dahlias or phlox. So many varieties, so many colors, so much beauty. But, she wanted her garden to be predictable. She didn't want any surprises.
Sometimes we're like that about people. We don't venture out, we don't want to feel even slightly uncomfortable or awkward. I get that, but I also find people from different backgrounds and ideologies interesting and provocative. They educate and inform me; they stretch me in unpredictable ways. They make me think about my own assumptions and prejudices. That is how we grow. Like the flowers in a botanical garden, we see that some of us are variegated, some are plain, some have lacy edges. It is the variety makes us beautiful.
In the Spirit,