Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nature's Pruning

Rain at 32 degrees last night coated all the tree branches with ice. The morning sun shining on the ice-covered forest makes all the branches twinkle as if elves have covered all the trees with fairy lights. Spectacularly beautiful.

On the other hand, the ice becomes so heavy that branches break off wholesale, littering lawns, paths, and roads with tree limbs as Nature does her pruning. Perhaps reminding us that it's nearly time to prune our own shrubs and fruit trees (or the ornamental varieties--crabapples, flowering cherry trees and such).

We might also consider pruning some of our so-called "bad habits"--irritation, impatience, spending too much, gossiping. You well know your good old friend--the habit that bugs you.

The first step in pruning is simply mindfulness. "Oh, there it is." (Begin by pruning off the word "again.") Professional pruners stand back and look at the tree. We stand back and look at our habit in action. "Oh, i'm gossiping now." Feel how it feels in the body; feel the sensations. Listen to yourself; hear. Notice how you feel emotionally. Becoming aware is the first step.

The second step is loving yourself like you love a puppy whom you are training. The puppy has its annoying habit of barking or jumping up, yet you calmly train your dog to lie down--and you love your pet. Bring this same love and calmness to your own annoying habit. "Stay. Stay. Good dog. Good for me."

The third step is to refrain from the action while practicing mindfulness of the sensations of the body and the feelings of emotions. Count to 10 AND notice how irritation feels in the body. Zip your lips AND notice the pressure of words wanting to come out; notice the busy mind.

Step by step, we begin to prune our internal landscape

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