last twenty years or so, spiritual/new age authors have
sent this message
to readers: "You have something broken about
you and I can fix it."
Now a newer, truer message must be heard:
"You are here to deliver a beautiful gift to
the world - and it's
a gift that benefits everyone. Remember it, and get on with it."
In teaching this work, I like to use the metaphor
of fabric, because it is easy to understand that each of us is
born wearing an invisible garment, woven of spiritual threads
that holds us and protects us throughout our lives, whether or
not we are conscious of it.
If you haven’t already done so, I hope you’ll
get a copy of the book, The Invisible Garment, and look
up the principles that apply directly to you. However, even if
you just read these articles without knowing your unique weave,
you’ll recognize these spiritual energies as vital, informative,
involved aspects of our culture.
This month, let’s examine the principle of
FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS, the consciousness
that now lives in “you” has studied, mastered, and
participated in the principle of Regeneration. On the deepest
levels of knowing, you are aware of the constant rebuilding and
replenishing aspect of life. You are a master of recreating yourself
and your world. In a very real way, your gift to life is the gift
of hope and awe. You never tire of watching life recreate itself
in multiple forms and multiple expressions. You have a very deep
bond with the Great Mother – she who constantly gives birth
and nurtures newness.
This principle may or may not be a thread in your
personal invisible garment, but it is a thread in the single garment
of destiny into which we are all woven. If it rings especially
true for you, then it is most likely a principle that lives in
Most of these principles, since they are simply
ideas or concepts, are hard to recognize in our daily lives. However,
Regeneration never stops showing itself to us, if we have the
eyes to see.
Regeneration appears as a force that continually
renews and repairs. I think of Ground Zero in New York, or of
the areas of Indonesia and India where the 2004 tsunami flattened
entire villages. If you watch the people in those areas, you see
that the earth herself seems to call for rebirth. After a period
of mourning, the people get up, clean up, rebuild, and continue
Regeneration seems to rise up from deep within the
earth herself. It’s as if Ground Zero said, “Now,
rebuild.” It’s as if the tsunami lands said, “Wait
a while, and then rebuild. You’ll know when.”
Regeneration shows itself most clearly when destruction
has wreaked its devastating path. Isn’t it true that human
nature seems to become more generous, more courageous, and more
enthused about life after a disaster? We come to the rescue, we
step up to the plate, we lend a helping hand much more quickly
in times of extreme distress than in the more “mundane”
periods of our lives. We’re often much more able to participate
in the Regenerative process of someone far away who has suffered
than we are able to see the suffering around us. Isn’t that
interesting about us, and silly of us?
Of course, Regeneration is always at work, whether
or not there has been a tragedy, because it doesn’t need
human hands to activate it. Life longs to heal itself, to re-write
itself, to re-seed itself. Regeneration is inherent in life itself.
Eco-theologian, Father Thomas Berry stated in his
book The Dream of the Earth, that due to the strength
of Regeneration, it would only take the earth twelve years to
completely restore her ecological balance, if humans were eliminated.
Sadly, 100% of earth’s ecological imbalance at this time
is directly due to our exploitation of her gifts. And yet, Regeneration
runs in the waters (the intelligence) of this planet, as she continues
to give, to rebuild, to re-seed, to re-write her story.
Our most obvious lessons of Regeneration come from
the plant kingdom. We eat plants to nourish our bodies. We heal
ourselves by ingesting them or rubbing them on our injuries. We
use them to build our homes. We weave our cloth out of their fibers.
The plants give us the three basics of life -- food, clothing
and shelter. They also give us oxygen, and they show us how to
rebuild when we’ve collapsed. If Regeneration is a part
of your life’s matrix, you have a unique and powerful connection
with the plant kingdom.
I have a porch in the back of my house where I sit
almost every morning as I pray and do my spiritual practices.
The porch is covered by a glorious fifteen-year-old wisteria plant,
which changes radically and magically with every season. I’ve
considered that plant to be my teacher, as she continually shows
me how she generates new life every spring when those boney, dried
up limbs burst, it seems overnight, into a magnificent canopy
of purple energy.
This year, just as my wisteria bloomed, very heavy
rains fell in Southern California for a solid week. The intensity
and fury of those raindrops literally stripped her limbs bare.
At the end of that downpour, all the flowers lay beaten and rotting
on the grown below.
Usually right after the flowers bloom, the wisteria
bursts with green new-leaf energy, and suddenly my porch is a
haven of shade. But this year, no leaves came. Her thick, twisted,
gnarly, naked limbs just glared at me all through April, May,
June, and July. Late in June I decided to call the tree man and
tell him to come take my beloved dead wisteria out. Clearly the
flooding had killed her. Literally, as I stood up to go inside
to look up his number, I heard an interesting sound above my head.
There, virtually hidden in the twisted branches, I saw her. A
mourning dove’s head peered out from her nest. She was sitting
on her eggs. She had chosen these naked limbs as the haven for
her offspring. Had she heard my thoughts? I’d been on that
porch every day (well, every day it wasn’t pouring rain)
this spring and summer. How had I never noticed her before? Why
did she cry out at that moment?
Clearly the dead plant had become home to new life.
I saw the metaphor, and silently assured my new friend that her
home was safe. I postponed taking the wisteria out until I was
sure the birdies were hatched and flying.
When I returned home from a trip late in July, I
went to check on my mourning dove. Her babies were hatched. She
was busy flitting here and there bringing food, looking for more.
Regeneration had done its work. I love the sounds of those baby
The next morning I stepped out on my porch and sat
in my favorite chair, cuddling in for my delicious sitting and
staring time. Do you already know the end of this story? Yes!
At the base of the wisteria, there were brand new branches. .
.new growth. . .that shade of green that shines so brightly that
ecstasy seems to leap from it. She hadn’t died at all. Perhaps
she went through a wisteria depression after the rain took all
her flowers. Perhaps she was in post-traumatic shock. But she
lived. She thrives. She will shade my sacred prayer spot again.
And the mourning dove can come back next year, as her nest will
Regeneration works in the dazzling darkness of mystery.
It works its magic high in the branches, and deep in the earth.
My impatience has no place in the regenerative process. My time-table
simply did not have any correspondent in Nature’s reality.
In fact, in that moment as I stared at the new branches, I wondered
whether I know anything about how life works at all? I thought
the birdies were chirping for food, constantly reminding their
mother to come back, but for all I know, it was the sound of their
song that called the new branches out of the roots of the wisteria.
In fact, that seems as likely as any other answer, doesn’t
The earth and all her babies regenerate themselves
according to a timing not controlled – indeed not even comprehended
– by humans. It’s the sub-atomic clock at work in
the wisdom of the cells that keeps time for the principle of Regeneration.
Look for signs that Regeneration is at work in
Start with nature. Look for the many ways
that the plants, the animals, the creeks and rivers, and the
soil renew themselves. How does your garden grow? What are
the forms of life that function as your (metaphorical) composting
And then look in your home, your family,
your workplace. How does the frequency of Regeneration operate
in your mundane life? Are your “good-byes” sad
and sentimental, or do they contain an excitement about the
And finally, look in your heart. Are you
exhausted, or are you refreshed? Are you in love with life,
or are you dragging through life? How can you invite Regeneration
to spring the new branches from your roots that give you a
whole new perspective?
© Connie Kaplan, 2005