For the last year I’ve been working on creating a line of spirit-centered apparel based on the hidden messages of the natural world. Native traditions have long held that the natural world is ripe with guidance. My own belief system, the Bahá’í Faith, tells us:
“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.”
With this as the bedrock of my new line I turn to the trees as my guidepost. Many moons ago I stood in the shadow of the majestic Sequoia of Northern California and felt as though I was walking with giant emissaries—messengers with a secret mission to remind us all of our humility and nobility. This past summer I was blessed to return to Northern California to walk with the mighty Redwoods. Of the lessons I’ve learned from trees, none is more timely than our dependence on them. Trees act as air purifiers and creators; they remove carbon dioxide from the air, store it, and, in turn, produce oxygen. They also act as “straws” drawing moisture from the soil and replenishing it in the atmosphere, thus ensuring an equitable distribution of moisture.
In addition to the physical health of our planet, trees also provide silent wisdom—reminding us of the significance of seasons as we move gracefully through our own lives; modeling how truly letting go requires acquiescence, not effort; calling us to remember that under the surface we are all connected in a myriad of ways, growing as one organism; standing as examples of the truth that if we are patient and discerning, the troubles we face shall pass; and illuminating that every action—even and especially those that go unnoticed—is imbued with meaning that ripples through generations, into the future.
This international conservation organization was started by a man of great vision and insight, Richard St. Barbe Baker. His organization has worked to carry out “sustainable community forestry projects which protect, regenerate and cultivate trees and forests to conserve habitats rich in biodiversity and to enhance human and environmental well-being.”
My aim is to follow suit and put forth artwork and apparel that supports the cultivation of a spirit-centered community, a community with both the intention and the volition needed to transcend divisive thinking so that we may find common ground, literally, upon which to stand and face the future with full hearts—hearts capable of seeing and valuing the beauty within and surrounding us.
With a full heart,