I glanced out my window at a beautiful sky. The sun was setting and the combination of cloud effect and angle of rays brought a rose softness to everything—as if the air itself were tinted. I went outside to experience the beauty. Rolls of clouds wound from one end of the sky to the other and one behind the other, like waves on a beach, acting as prisms to the light from the sun.
Gazing up, I noticed the barren tree limbs plastered black against mauve and pink clouds. Not a leaf. Not a bud. No sign of life—as if they were forever dead. The contrast took my breath away. I wish I identified with the colorful sky and warm air, but truth be told, I felt like the barren branches reaching for the light. Shortly, everything returned to the usual dusk grey and the branches blended into the sky. For the rest of the evening and ever since I’ve been unable to shake the image of the tree limbs against the colorful clouds, knowing it held a message for me: an internal awareness of my own barrenness and the spiritual life I missed and yearned for.
The last few weeks, my days have been full of deadlines: speaking engagements and the necessary preparation, the effort to keep up with the bare minimum in my home obligations and financial responsibilities, book signings and media marketing. These opportunities make me feel blessed, but I miss writing, prayer and meditation time—and puttering around my home. When I lose my spiritual and creative rudder, I am disengaged from my Creator and myself.
There is only one thing to do: find my balance again and rededicate my days and time to God’s will for my life. Not that I discontinue speaking and marketing. However, I need to daily set aside time to empty my mind of pressure and open it to God’s voice. It strikes me that I often go through this process. Every few months since my latest book, I find myself untethered, and something like the barren branches comes along and reminds me to slow down and reconnect—this time not only on a creative but also a spiritual level.
While writing this, an image of a leaf-filled tree and bright sunshine entered my head and left as fast as it came. Leaves appeared on my mental branches–a signal to myself that I am on the right track. I must judiciously nurture both my creative and eternal self.
Experiencing the beautiful sky and warm colors leaves me feeling grateful; but I am also grateful for the empty branches and the stark contrast they bring to the picture. Without the one, I would not have noticed the other. It’s funny, isn’t it, how we learn a great deal from the experience of contrast. This contrast is a gift—a reminder of the necessity of regaining my balance and leafing out my barren branches.