Taking Time For Me, Oak Trees, & Shame

Kasey Loftin Photography

If you live in Charlotte or the surrounding area, Denver for me, then you experienced one of life’s many great perfections yesterday: the weather. In the midst of a lazy Sunday afternoon, with a lingering headache, I decided to forfeit any hope that the Steelers would make a come back, grabbed “Eat, Pray, Love” and made my way toward the hammock that’s been hanging in our tree all year and I have yet to take advantage of. Not without my camera, of course, which allowed me to take these photos from my comfy spot.

This book has been haunting me. One of my biggest pet peeves (I have a lot, and if you have been reading my blog, you probably know a couple already) is when a movie comes out for a book I want to read before I have a chance to read it. Well this is one of those books. One of the best things about reading is creating your own idea of a character’s identity as you make your way through the book. It’s like at the beginning they are blurry and by the end you know every wrinkle of their imaginary face. Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I really do this. So when the movie comes out first, it drives me crazy because all I can see is that actor’s face in my mind and reading it, hopefully finishing it, becomes a challenge. Because Julia Roberts isn’t quite the face I had in my mind, the last few chapters of this book have been right where I left them – to the right of my bookmark. Well, after prolonging it for much too long, yesterday was my day. I finally finished it. I just wanted to share my favorite excerpt from this book. I can’t stop thinking about these words:

Kasey Loftin Photography They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well – the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.

I think this is so poetic, the idea that the chicken can come before the egg spiritually even though logically we all know this can’t happen. Or can it?

It took me a long time to get to a point in my life where I would take 90 minutes and lay in a hammock. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what others expect that I forget to take time for me. Just me. And yesterday was the perfect day for it. The reason it took me so long to get here, this much more blissful state of mind, is because I spend 50% of my life worrying about everyone else – what they need and what they think – and the other 50% trying to stay caught up so that I don’t have to worry about everyone else, which leaves me with 0% time to just breathe and be me. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain to you how unhealthy this can be and how much of a downward spiral it can create for your well-being. I was so ashamed to admit that, God-forbid, I actually can’t handle it all, that eventually the me in the hammock pulled herself into being.

Shame can do a lot to a person. It can make someone feel like they have no voice. It can make someone feel like if they do find their voice, that no one will listen. And it makes someone feel like even if someone will listen, that they will also judge. No one wants to be judged, so they live with shame. I just want to say that after sharing a very personal blog post last week, I felt like I was able to punch shame in the face. With a sledgehammer. I received a lot of private feedback from individuals who shall remain nameless. To the nameless: I’m glad you were able to feel like you are not alone; I urge you to buy a sledgehammer – I’m pretty sure they sell them at your local hardware store – and swing away. Then, take some worry-free, shame-free time for you. Your future oak-tree-self will thank you later.