The Frangipani tree was utterly bare and withered, its trunk and branches gnarled with age and neglect. For three months we watered that thirsty tree, and in the spring, a single flower emerged from a tiny cluster of buds. Hidden within that half dead tree, was the potential for renewal.

When trauma and crisis enter our lives, we often shut down, dropping everything we consider unnecessary to survival. Perhaps we no longer stay in touch with friends, or cease walking along the beach in the mornings, or stop painting, or singing, or laughing. We let go of the frivolous and fun things in our lives, just as an untended tree abandons its own flowers. Yet the ability for renewal, is as inherent in our spirit as it is in nature. All that’s required is attention to the moments which nurture and sustain us.

Within the cycle of every human heartbeat, is a brief intervening period of inactivity called ‘Diastasis.’ Within the cycle of the human breath, is also a tiny pause. The pause is barely noticeable, unless we focus on it. However, if we were to count the total seconds our breathing was at rest each day, it would constitute a large portion of our lives.

Renewal asks only that we shift our focus, from what overwhelms us, to the small, and seemingly inconsequential joys, found outside our pain. Renewal asks us to become aware of our world, not as a spectator, but as a participant. To experience with all our senses, and to embrace again, that which we loved as children. To renew our hope through fleeting joys, through small and sudden moments of beauty, for solace will be found in them. These moments, taken in their totality, are also a large part of our lives. They are vital, as vital as the space between our breaths, as the stillness between the beats of our hearts.

Kay Sharp. ©2005

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