No Ordinary Weed

Once upon a time the thread of my life was worn thin. During this time I found safety in the youth writing workshops I initiated. Yesterday, as I continued the process of creating a home, I came across a journal where my imagination and thoughts were formed into stories. As I resume my passion for Literary Art, this piece confirmed how the stories we create influence our lives.

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“Life will never be the same” Juliana whined. Her complaint went unanswered because she was alone. Totally alone. Her older sister, Janet, was working which left Juliana in the house, alone, after school, for the first time. She felt betrayed. No one was there to help her with her homework, or prepare a snack, or make her laugh as she went though her routine of playing back the school day. Instead, she could feel the darkness of the winter evening surrounding her. As Juliana spread out her books on the kitchen table, she chose to join in the darkness of the descending night.

Her first assignment was science, something about plants. It began with one line “Choose a plant and write why you think its beautiful”. Juliana got up and looked out the window. All she saw was concrete and fences. Beautiful – huh – plant, you gotta be kidding, she muttered. There isn’t even a dandelion out there. Then something took over her, and she responded to the rebellious spirit rising in side. “I’ll show that teacher something about beauty.” She went to the computer and began her search. No adjectives, or broad search, just right to the proper name, Dandelion.

She hadn’t reached a point where she had expectations on what she would find, yet was instantly amazed by the hundreds of sites that popped up. Maybe something in her had hoped for sites promoting weed killers. Instead, there were choices for medicinal, edible, poems, and artwork. She went through one site after another, amazed at what this common weed, what many people considered a nuisance, offered. She took the information she found most interesting, saved it, and began putting a file together. Pictures, words, definitions, scrambled together. Then, Juliana got a large poster board and began to create a response to the assignment. A salad recipe, a picture of coffee, medicinal benefits, and quickly filled the board. At the center, she pasted the headline:

The Beauty of

No Ordinary Weed

Just as she stepped back to admire her work she heard her sister walk up beside her. “I thought you might miss me” she said.

Juliana stood tall, pleased with what she had created, content with her project.

Without and Within

As a child I learned the meaning of words and how to use them in a sentence. As a teenager, I discovered identities could be made or destroyed depending on the descriptive words chosen. As an adult I witnessed how words can create peace or start a war, welcome a baby or condemn a person to death. Words are extensions of our breath, intentions and actions. I believe Literary Art can help develop our connection with words, increase our awareness of the beauty without and within us.

As a child, the ritual of

            making the sign of the cross

                         repeating prayers that I had no connection or meaning to

                                      and being forced to follow requirements

like wearing a hat when

                                                    inside a structure that was designated as holy

were just some of the rules which disconnected me from the

beauty within and without.

My breath does not allow me to disconnect from the beauty of truth. At times my breath is momentarily taken away by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Sometimes my breath resorts to short, quick pulses preparing for a new experience.

Each day is a mysterious gift filled with opportunities to express joy, gratitude and peace. There are also options to cause pain, harm the environment, and disconnect. Just as there are numerous decisions each day, there are infinite ways to help us remain on a spiritual path.