40 Days: 022110-D5.0

(copyright rus vanwestervelt, taken at loch raven reservoir, 02.21.10)

Namaste. It is 10:46 a.m.

Day 5…I’ve been out already this morning, taking some photos around Loch Raven Reservoir (see above). Such a peaceful way to begin my day. While I was standing along Loch Raven Drive taking photos, my feet slipping on the icy road, I was struck with the beauty of each element comprising the natural scene I was suddenly a part of. A flock of Canadian geese stirred just below this island, yet each of them contributed a unique brushstroke of beauty. Suddenly the brittle branches on the island’s trees stood out, each reaching, stretching to the rising sun. The water, surrounding the island like a moat within the boundaries of ever-thickening ice, rippled gently toward the frozen ground. And the variations of blue finding their way subtly across the sky, offering hints and hues of hope for all of us, all of this. Each element contributed its part to this natural beauty, like an impressionist’s painting filled with thousands of tiny brushes of color, each an integral part to the bigger picture.

It was then that I was struck with another idea that nearly stole my breath entirely. I, like the stirring geese and the brittle branches and the ripples of water and the hues of blue, I was another brushstroke of beauty contributing to this landscape.

We don’t see ourselves in this light often, do we? We are made to believe that we are the problem, the intruder, or the conquerer. We are told very early on that we leave a footprint, we damage the earth, we endanger wildlife, we cause global ruin. We very rarely hear that we are a part of nature itself, and we have every right to live among the geese and the fish and the elk, to be a part of the beautiful landscapes that we try so desperately to preserve. We are no different than the branches that sway and reach and soon blossom in beauty. Yet, we have been told otherwise all our lives.

My life, as is yours, is a part of something natural and wonderful. Yet, we get so caught up in the emotional whirls of social networking and the opinions of others that we lose sight of our simple, natural existence. No goose or tree or cold, rippling waters ever told us we were insignificant, unworthy, or  stupid.

Our inner critics have been looping a soundtrack of negativity for most of our lives (created solely by other individuals that we’ve allowed ourselves to believe) to keep us from this simple fact: we matter in the natural world. We matter to ourselves, and we have the inherent right to stand along the shores of any land and realize the beauty we contribute to the bigger picture.

I invite you today to turn off the inner critic. Recognize the beauty within that transcends the critical voices of past and present, and see yourself in a brand new light.

With love and blessings, rus

3 thoughts on “40 Days: 022110-D5.0

  1. Rus, what a beautiful entry today. Many of us can learn so much from your insights and comments. That inner critic is indeed too strong and needs to be minimized or, better yet, eliminated. Keep up the fantastic writing and your beautiful, but sometimes trying, journey.


  2. Thank you, Mary Margaret. What an unbelievable experience this is turning out to be, and I have only just begun on this journey. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement.


  3. Hi Rus,

    As usual playing “catch up to blogs” and in reverse no less. Todays entry… not only a beautiful picture but beautiful words to match. Thanks for taking us all long on your personal journey. In various ways, its an eye opener for all of us taking the time to read them. It opens ourselves up to the realizations of our own trials and tribulations and our own obscurities.
    Keeping you in my thoughts.


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