Have you ever looked at a forest and noticed how perfect it all is?
How all the plants naturally fit together.
Some are big, others are scraggly; some are dead, others are young. Some grow slowly others grow quickly.
It’s like a genius interior decorator has matched it perfectly.
Which is what has happened.
None of us can plant a forest as well as a forest can. You never go into a pine forest and think, ah, yes, a cherry would be so much better here.
But here’s the thing. You are a forest too!
You fit perfectly in your own way.
We all do.
Our failings and successes all contribute to our canopy and undergrowth.
And all those craggy insecurities we wish would disappear, they’re what makes us us.
This is our magnificent wholeness.
On being someone else
It’s tempting to think our life would be better if we were someone else.
But when you think about it, would you really?
Imagine you had a magic wand.
And with one wave of your magic wand you could change yourself into someone else.
Forever. No going back. You would actually become this person.
Whenever I do this I find myself discovering aspects of myself I really quite like.
Not just because the people we think we might want to be have insecurities and challenges just like the rest of us – and for all we know they could be worse. But to be someone else, you’d have to give up you – not just the people you love, but you.
This little exercise makes the annoying aspects of myself not seem so bad.
Sure I tend to over-think things and get anxious and depressed easily, which is annoying. But then again I like having a brain that can write and draw a sandwich (see above).
I sometimes feel like I can feel what others are feeling, which makes it hard to detach myself. But then again I like that I connect easily with people.
I don’t notice details of my surroundings, but then again I like that I can sometimes see the bigger picture.
Side-note: I was watering a friends plants and it took me four weeks to see there was a third plant sitting next to the other two I’d been watering.
So if I could wave a magic wand I still wouldn’t give me up. If we’re all basically the same, I’d rather muddle along with what I have.
In a forest, some plants die early—maybe they get stomped on by a passing hiker, or maybe their roots were too shallow or the land wasn’t fertile where the seedling landed or maybe they live a long life but eventually weaken and die.
And we don’t judge that as bad. We know it’s part of life.
We grow up expecting to live a certain number of years, though no one has actually promised us this. Some of us die early, others live to be great oaks.
And it’s all OK.
People often say that when we die we’ve lost the battle. But we don’t lose. It’s just our time. And it happens to all of us.
Back to nature
Spend some time looking at nature. Look at the hills in the distance. Or go to a park and just sit. Look up at the trees. Nestle your toes into the grass.
Take time to notice the bug crawling past.
If you’re at home, go outside and sit on your back step.
Pat your dog or cat. Or turtle.
Study the house-plant that despite your best efforts continues to live.
Look at each leaf, and how they come off the stem.
You don’t need to verbalize how amazing everything is, just look at it. It’s no more amazing than you are.
You are in every way a magnificent a part of this.
So are all the people in your life. Everyone is a part of the forest. Seeing our part in this helps us see others with love too.
We are all forests. Coming together to make an even bigger world forest.
PS: If you’d like to say hi or share a story or thoughts about any of this, please do! I’ve love to hear from you. And I know others would too.
Thank you Lisa for making me laugh out loud! I am also capable of not noticing the 3rd plant! I am sitting outside reading your article and when I finished I watched the palm trees swaying in the breeze and closed my eyes to feel the cooling breeze on my face! Thanks for bringing me back to nature! Love….love your articles and your drawings!
Love and light…..Jamie’s mom
Loved the content of both thoughts and illustrations on your page.
Thanks Barbara! Are you a kiwi too??
Hi Christine – so nice to meet you! And good to know I’m not the only one who could miss a plant sitting right there. Funny how we all have certain bents for things, isn’t it.
Jamie and I are having so much fun recently organizing our first teaching class together (among other things) and she said you read my blog. I love hearing about connections like this – makes the world/country seem smaller. Thanks so much for saying hi:))
Thank you for your delightful words reminding us that we are all lovingly connected.
My pleasure:)) Thanks for saying hi!
I love this one, Lisa! I really love the perspective on death and its greater context in nature – as it is one of my ‘anxious’ thoughts that pops up now and then. I can see more clearly now that it’s just a conditioned thought… and really it’s one of the most natural things in the world!!! You may like the Andy Warhol quote (which I can’t find anywhere but it was quoted on a documentary about him!) from when he was in Bali and he was watching a big group of people having a party for someone’s funeral. He said they were wearing bright colours and smiling and he realised then that everything is about perspective. I always like to remember that 🙂
Oh I love that idea. Perspective is funny isn’t it. Ideas that we have around things like death and sickness and, gosh, so many other things, are so proliferate that we don’t even realize they are beliefs.We think they’re the truth. And that we could equally think that death was something to celebrate.
Nice to hear from you!
Hi Lisa, when I was going through a really bad time and had depression I spent hours just staring/looking at the small things around me…a leaf, a tiny bug, ants, even spiders…I watched them going about their business totally unaware of me and became fascinated with them all. It was a healing time for me to concentrate on the little things and notice how they too are in a daily struggle and it put into perspective what had happened in my life. After all, life and it’s tragedies in whatever form, happen to us all.
Hi Pat, thanks so much for sharing that. I love how in a time of distress you were drawn to do something so healing. There is such wisdom in us isn’t there. Your experience reminds me of the movie “Microcosmos,” insofar as the movie is about a day in the life of bugs. Have you seen it? It came out about 20 years ago, I guess around the time that technology could get up and close at the bug level. And just like you said you saw, the movie showed all these little bugs doing what we do. Washing themselves, dung beetles pushing dung over hurdles etc. XX L
Thank you for this… insighttful, wise, sweet and kind. Thank you for illuminating the path for us.
You’re very welcome, Jann. Pleased you enjoyed this piece.
As someone into plants I can really relate to this.
> But here’s the thing. You are a forest too!
In this big world where we are trying to achieve so much, it’s important to remember where our roots are.
It really is, isn’t it. Gives us a more relaxing perspective I think. Thanks for saying hi, Leon!
Dear Lisa, I was just out on my back porch watching the wind move through the tree tops in my back yard. I noticed that although all the trees were swaying, they were all moving in slightly different ways, thus making each tree unique, yet a part of the whole – the forest.
When I came inside, I found and read your blog, and was fascinated that it related so well with what I had been watching outside!
We really are so connected aren’t we? Thank you for what you wrote. It was so lovely and peaceful. -Amy
Hi Amy, What a nice serendipity! How cool. We really are connected, aren’t we. Thanks so much for saying hi:))
The funny thing is when I read “If you could wave a magic wand . . .” I thought “I would want to be Lisa and draw really cool pictures!” Oh, how funny our minds can be. Keep drawing really cool pictures and I’ll keep being impressed.
Did you really think that?! Aren’t our mind’s such funny things! Thanks so much for saying hi and for your generous comments about my drawings! Always a pleasure to hear from you. Lots of love, L XX
What a lovely blog! I have no recollection of how I found you or when I signed up for your booklet, The Smart but Lazy Person’s Guide to Being Awesome and Ultimate, but what matters is that I did!
I love your kooky “lazy”way of getting such important messages across…and the drawings are brilliant!
I look forward to hearing from you regularly and spending some time exploring your blog.
Hi Sue, Thanks so much for saying hi. Isn’t the lazy way great. A little bit of understanding and it seems to balance out our earnestness and habit of trying. Look forward to hearing from you again.
First of all, thank you! Your words are very touching, I feel like you understand what goes though my mind. I got to know about you when I Googled “how to control my mind”, and your words are just what I needed to hear. I can’t wait until your new book comes out, I’ll be waiting anxiously!
Hi Diego! Sorry for my slow response, I just noticed that I hadn’t responded to your comment. Anyway, nice to hear from you. I love that you found me through Googling “how to control my mind” since my approach is completely the opposite, though I think so much easier and more effective! Did you sign up to my newsletter – there’s a free ebook you might enjoy and links to some other articles that’ll be sent out every Tuesday for 10 weeks. No worries if it’s not your thing, just thought I’d mention it! Thanks for stopping by!