Periodically, my girl Marva will send me a "brilliant carat" newsletter from business and life coach Simon T. Bailey. More than a month ago, she sent me this one—which I forwarded to firestarter Danielle. For some reason (kismet?), D sent it back to me today. Clearly I was meant to read it again. It was good the first time, but a lot can change in a month. Today I'm "standing in a different river" and this message struck me in a way that it hadn't before.
"His eyes on fire, Robin [Rampersad] explained that when a tree is going through its winter season, it is denied the ability to produce food through the process of photosynthesis. Everything changes for this tree because it is accustomed to trapping sunlight in its leaves via chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their green pigment, and transforming that chlorophyll along with other viable ingredients into food. This is normal for the tree, and it doesn’t have to think about it. It’s second nature. Yes, this is third grade science but it is so cool.
"In the winter, though, these normal functions are no longer an option because there isn’t enough sunlight to produce food, nor are there any leaves on the tree to trap the light. The tree, at this time, becomes almost dead on the outside, but internally, it begins to search for answers. As a result, it is forced to find food another way. And here’s the brilliance of God—the tree must push its roots deep into the soil to find enough minerals, salts, and water to sustain itself.
"Because the tree has spent the winter anchoring itself deeper and deeper into the soil and finding sustenance in a time of scarcity, it will be able to grow and thrive in the spring and summer months. Its fruit will be of a wonderful quality because the nutrients that helped produce it have come from deep within the recesses of the earth."
I'm struck, today, by the idea that sometimes it's necessary to rely on new and different means of sustenance. We often literally have a favorite place to go for our food. The farmer's market. A favorite bakery. The local burger joint. We rely on that spot to fill us. But what happens when the farmer's market closes for the winter? Or you realize that, for all kinds of reasons, you should probably leave the $8 slices of white-chocolate cheesecake alone for a while? What feeds you then? You have to find another place to forage.
It's true of all kinds of nourishment—physical, spiritual, emotional. Sometimes the thing you've always relied upon to "feed" you—the job, the lover, the church, the ego—can't fill you any longer. Maybe you've entered a dry season. Maybe your field is fallow. But one thing is certain: A sista needs to eat. Another thing that's sure: Spirit will make sure she does.
When you start to fear the haunting "lack" and begin to listen for the hungry moan rising from your belly, reflect on Bailey's story of the trees. Remember the parable of the manna. Believe, if you will, that Spirit always provides. (Kismet.) Believe, if you can, that what comes next may be even more delicious and nourishing than what you've had.
Maybe Marie Antoinette had it right. When your bread is gone, start looking around for the cake.