Wednesday, April 8, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I received a mysterious gift! I had just finished talking to students after teaching a group yoga class, and I looked over to where my bag was and saw that a shopping bag from Anthropologie was sitting on top of it. I was astonished. There was a box inside, wrapped in a ribbon, with the gift tag shown above signed, “Your Student.” It wasn’t Christmas or my birthday, and I had received an anonymous gift!
I was reading The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter at the time. There is a part of the book that explains that the best way to give a gift, according to Cherokee tradition, is to just leave it for the person you are giving it to. So receiving the gift like this at this time had a tang of relevance it wouldn’t have had otherwise. So my mind reeled as I accepted the gift as mine.
Inside the package was an elegant spring sweater-top. A nice gift!
My mind enjoyed this thrill for some time. Then I let it go.
The following week in the hallway of my apartment building there was an empty basket outside of my downstairs neighbor’s door. It seemed like a metaphor. …Or a tradition I heard about once. So I went upstairs, into my place to choose a gift for the basket. I chose a beautiful hardcover book about birds with a bright pink cover. It was fun to run down the stairs to place my mysterious gift into the empty basket! At the time I didn’t connect this act of giving with the mysterious gift I had received the previous week. It was a spontaneous act.
Earlier this week, at the end of a class I taught, a student asked me if I had received the gift she had left for me a couple weeks ago. I was dumbfounded. Here was the giver of the gift! She was wondering if I had received it. I told her that I had, and that I liked it. “Thank you,” I said. And I found myself speechless to describe how wonderful it was to receive that gift.
Afterwards, as I was walking in the cool, high-energy, early-spring air outside, I felt high with the wonder of a mystery solved.
Thank you (I thought) for the mysterious gifts of nature. Thank you for my life, and the flowers, trees, and animals—all mysterious gifts!