One summer day, in August of 2017, I was in my back yard meditation sit-spot, feeling the grass beneath my feet, the sound of the trickling creek in my ears, the wind blowing through the trees, and then through my hair. Yet, I wasn’t really appreciating any of that.
My heart was so heavy, the world seeming to be in such a state of chaos. My little town, where I was born and raised, had just been invaded by white supremacist Nazi’s who ended up killing one person and injuring so many more. A horror of horrors that I can hardly believe really happened here.
Added to that, there have been natural disasters happening, one after another all over the world, we have had a surge of human rights violations in this country, and we seem to have a mean-spirited, incompetent leadership, as I write this in 2017. People I love are struggling. There is just so much suffering all around me.
As I sat there, my mind felt stuck in a loop of hopelessness. As a person whose job since birth has always been to help make things better for the people around me, this was beyond my capabilities. It felt like too much to bear, too heavy for me.
Through my tears, I acknowledged to the Universe that I felt disconnected and afloat, with no clear way to get through it. I felt no grounding, no social connection, no spiritual connection. My mind was stuck in a loop of helplessness. I felt distressed, dissociated, anxious. I felt a subtle sense of dread that would not go away.
Asking for a new plant ally
In the past, whenever I have felt lost, the plants have always helped me to find myself again. So, I prayed fervently for a new plant ally to guide me through this. Believing that my prayer would be answered, I resolved to be on the look out for the special plant that I was sure would soon come my way.
Then I got up, wiped my tears, and began to walk along the creek bank. Moving my bare feet over the earth helped me to ground, to feel my body, to feel a little less lost. Changing scenery also helped break those defeating mental loops. I turned my mind toward the flora, looking to see what was growing as I walked along. I actually forgot about my intention to find a new plant ally as I began to be more in the moment and noticing all that was around me.
Then as I came around a tree, I saw the most vibrant red flower growing on the creek bank. I had never seen this flower before, but it demanded to be seen and heard, it could not be ignored. I first noticed that it was green and red, a color combination that I usually dislike. I thought, this can’t be the ally I just prayed for! I don’t want a green and red ally! So, I kept walking.
Seriously. I kept walking! WTF?
Then I thought, Tammy, you just prayed for a new plant ally and here comes a vibrant plant you’ve never seen before and you are going to pass it by? What is wrong with you? How faithless can you be?
So I went back.
Meeting Scarlet Lobelia
I looked at the flower again, but this time a little closer. There was a butterfly sipping its nectar. I saw that it had very unique flowers, and lots of them closely placed so that together they looked like a single flower from a distance. I put aside my aversion to the color combo and chose to accept this as the gift I had prayed for. I gave abundant thanks right then and there, and made a commitment to work with it. I took a picture of it and went inside to look through my references to try to identify it.
I learned that this showy plant is called Scarlet Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis). I have since spent several hours in observation and meditation with her and have learned a lot about her personality and her medicine.
As I got to know her better, I also gained some truly helpful insight on my own situation. I began to tell myself a different, more empowering, story about myself and this crazy, chaotic world I find myself in at the moment. I will write more about all these things soon in another post.