Shelter or Box?

Winter has arrived, rather abruptly it seems. People, plants, animals all appear to be busy nestling in. I like the process of that and it brings a smile to my face when I see folks bundled up against the cold while continuing to do the things they enjoy outdoors.  It seems like somewhat of a statement of resiliency.

I took this picture a few weeks ago because it brought back memories of when my kids were in middle school.  Each of them had a project that involved obtaining pictures or samples of specific plants.  This was one of them.  I can’t recall the name of it or many of the details, but I do remember that these pods serve as a shelter for another living creature.  If my memory serves me correctly, I believe in spring, whatever is hunkering down inside there, finds its way out.  If I hadn’t been made aware of this as a part of that school project, I would never have looked at this plant and thought, “How cool is that!”

Sometimes we seek shelter like this, as we work on becoming what we are meant to be.  If it’s a nurturing environment that provides support while you are growing, lucky you! (Sometimes what we think is a safe way-station is actually a confining box) But in order for the world to experience you, and for you to be free to explore the vast possibilities for sharing who you are – stepping out is required. And that can be scary.  So we tell ourselves stories about why we need to stay where we are. “It’s fine in here. I know I’m feeling a little restricted but I should be happy that I’ve got this safe space to stay.”

My experience is that stories like that only last so long. The urge to reveal ourselves becomes stronger over time and often, when you least expect it, that desire to come out from behind the curtain gets out in front of you and there you are – exposed but free. 

If we do not let go, we make prisoners of ourselves.


PS:  My amazing sister just shared with me that this lovely plant is milkweed – essential to Monarch butterflies!

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