Dancing Trees Acrylic on Canvas 2017
The light shown brightly through the trees at dawn. It flowed through all the various layers of trees, making some look transparent and others very dark and prominent.
How could they get to that island of trees from here? Those were the trees Kelne said they must get to - the trees that danced. Looking at the light rays had them convinced those trees were dancing with the sun. The trees looked like they were having fun. Getting there though... Was that water or ice? Was it a crystalline substance they might never understand? Could they fall through or was there a way across?
Sam felt weary. This trip had definitely helped him overcome his resistance to new places. It was exhausting. He wondered if his anxiety was visible to his companions. They seemed so cool and calm - even when it was really hard. When they first arrived in Kalendra Jaime hid in his journal, writing and drawing because he didn't want anyone to know how anxious he felt. His journal helped. Kassara managed to accept the challenge every time. Tahendra went from being very unsure to trusting herself.
Sam, on the other hand was sure he'd either blow it, as in slip through the ice, if that's what it was or cause harm to something or someone. He felt anxious. His 'don't blow it' voice was going off in his head yet again.
Tahendra came up to him - "What do you think Sam? Can we get there by crossing this stuff?" "Oh, um..... don't you know how? I was hoping..." "I think this one is yours to navigate. You have the perfect amount of cynicism to figure all the ways we can't get across. We need that right now. Leadership with strong skepticism." Sam paused and looked at her, then quickly away and down at the ground. "I always mess up." He finally said, mostly to himself.
"When I was with Beacon one day he taught me something I'll share it with you. Take that idea, that you always mess up and feel it in you. Where does it live? Feel it strongly, as strongly as you've ever felt it. Listen to it with your heart. When was the earliest time you remember feeling it? Take your time." Sam looked at her while she nodded, while they met eyes and she showed she understood. Sam was not reluctant to take advice like this from Tahendra - especially if it was something Beacon had shared with her. He nodded and silently agreed, then closed his eyes. He was such a mess when they got to Beacon's he thought he was going to be sent home and kicked out of the travel group. Beacon had assured him but also kept him at arms length. He remembered telling himself he always messed up then too.
Sam closed his eyes and put his hand to his heart, like Tahendra said so his heart could remember the first time he felt like a mess up. There were so many that came to mind as he went back through the years. The earliest one that stood out was a day he was at the park with his family for a picnic. He was the 'big brother' but he was small, five at most. He was helping to carry the food and felt very proud. They were just arriving at the picnic table and he was about to set the food down when a big red recess ball hit him in the back and he fell. The bag of food spilled open and the sandwiches fell on the ground. They weren't wrapped very well (he had wrapped them himself and felt very ashamed that he did it wrong). Sam's dad was not a patient man, and the whole family was hungry. "What'd ya do that for! You always mess things up! We were going to have a nice picnic!" his dad had yelled. Sam was horrified. He hadn't meant to ruin the meal. He was taken off gaurd by the ball kicked so hard. "Foul. Try again." he had heard someone yell. His mom was quickly picking the sandwiches up and brushing them off. "I should have helped you wrap them but I wanted you to do it yourself while I got the baby ready. I'm proud of you. Look at all the places you protected them?" she had said. It was too late though. His dad had already thrown out the blame and it had landed squarely on Sam.
"You holding that little Sammy memory?" Tahendra said. Sam nodded. I want you to take that little boy and imagine giving him a hug and accepting him like you're the dad instead. It hadn't even been his fault he realized. The ball hit him hard and he was small. Of course he fell. His dad acted like he spilled the food on purpose. That was wrong.
He looked at Tahendra in wonder. "Wow. It wasn't even my fault. Dad was always so angry, ready to explode whenever things weren't perfect. I did mess up. He acted like it's what I was." Tahendra looked him in the eyes and nodded. "I know. I spent hours with Beacon and we went through my memories. A lot of people called me names and I thought there was something inherently wrong with me. He taught me that my way was my super power, not the part I needed to hide. "Your way is the right way," he had said. It really changed my outlook. It made it possible for me to lead. When the eagle first mind spoke to me and told me to lead I didn't do it. I was holding myself back - or rather some old memory inside me was holding me back - if that makes sense. That was how I changed, doing just exactly what I had you do. It takes time and awareness."
"Not too long ago I would have thought you were nuts and there's no way I would have tried this. If I can separate myself from those words about messing up..... it'll change my life!" She nodded. "I know. It's hard. The good news is that it's only a little shift. You say that mess up thing all the time out loud. Imagine how much you say it to yourself. Now you know what to do. Love yourself hard. You get to change and those words will disappear. In the meantime, we need you at the shoreline."
"Oh man....," Sam said as he took a deep breath to calm himself down and climbed down to the shoreline. "Can you guys help me? I think we need a bunch of ideas so we can think this through. Let's figure out how to meet up with those trees." As he spoke he gained confidence in his words. How long he'd been telling himself what a mess up he was? He was ready to let that one go.