Recently, a storm came through my area bringing with it gusty winds and heavy rain. Where I live storms are commonplace especially in the spring. That period immediately following a rainstorm is one of my favorite times to go outside. If you have never experienced nature immediately following a rainstorm I strongly suggest you give it a try. Personally, the air seems clearer and fresher, and there is a distinct smell of cleanliness permeating the air. It’s nature's way of cleansing the Earth. When you do venture outside you will most probably notice debris on the ground consisting of dead twigs, branches and anything else that has fallen from the trees. Cleaning up after a strong storm is not typically a favorite pastime of mine, but recently when I was mowing the yard I noticed this pile of dead twigs which had fallen over the course of many storms. I took this picture as the positioning of the twigs gave me pause and a moment of reflection.

twigs close upI wasn't planning to reflect upon fallen tree limbs and twigs, but after noticing those branches and taking the picture I couldn't help but to reflect on them as I continued to mow the lawn. The first thought that came to mind is that of the circle of life. I reflected on the purpose of those twigs and how those twigs perfectly performed the function they were meant to perform. These twigs grew as the result of the tree, gaining sustenance from both the tree and the land around it. These twigs not only took from the tree and land, they also contributed to the further growth of the tree by sprouting their leaves. Those leaves provided sustenance to the tree, shade for those who needed it, and precious air that we all need to live. But now those very twigs lay dead on the ground taken from the tree by wind and rain.

As I further reflected on the twigs I realized that even though they are now lying on the ground it wasn’t necessarily a sad moment, even though the twigs no longer brought light or shade or air. Nature not only washes herself clean, she is also a great recycler. Those twigs, although dead and lying on the ground, continue to bring forth life from the land. Those twigs will be food for some creatures while other creatures will break down those twigs into nutrients needed by the soil for new life to spring forth.

purpose in lifeSo, what have I learned from my reflection on the twigs?

  1. Periodically clean the clutter (the dead twigs) from your life. Discover in yourself those thoughts, actions, perceptions, etc. which do not bring you life but instead wear you down. Shake them free from you! Get rid of anything in your life which is not life-giving or supportive of your needs of happiness, growth and peace.
  2. Take the time to recognize your need to slow down and become mindful of your surroundings. Change your perspective to realize the good in a situation. I could’ve either not noticed the twigs, or become upset that I now had more work to do by needing to remove the twigs. Instead, I fortunately chose to pause and simply notice the twigs. In that act of noticing without judgement, I ended up learning from those twigs.
  3. Recognize that no matter your situation, you do have a purpose! Even though dead and plucked from great heights to now lay on the ground, those twigs continue to serve a purpose. Granted, the purpose has changed, and most likely not the purpose wanted by those twigs, but an essential purpose nonetheless. Discover and embrace your purpose in life!

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