Like wild­flow­ers in Cam­bria’s back­coun­try, we should cel­e­brate our own unique­ness

The Tribune (SLO) - - The Cambrian - BY MICHELE OKSEN Spe­cial to The Cambrian From over the ridge and off-the-grid Michele Oksen writes her Moun­tain Mus­ings col­umn from the Santa Lu­cia Moun­tains. Contact her at over­[email protected] sbc­

“The priv­i­lege of a life­time is to be­come who you truly are.” — Carl Jung

Bees, but­ter­flies and bou­quet-mak­ers love wild­flow­ers.

When it comes to a gift from and for the heart, there’s noth­ing like a hand­picked mini wild­flower ar­range­ment to lift our spir­its. I say, “mini” be­cause when I was a child, my mom, Gayle Oksen, taught my brother Eric and me to be thrifty with the wild­flow­ers.

Mom ex­plained how the plants needed to ma­ture to cast their seeds. That way, na­ture’s dis­play was in­sured for gen­er­a­tions to come. Up here in the Santa Lu­cia Moun­tains, near Rocky Butte, we’ve picked a few wild­flow­ers for the fes­tive ta­ble in our an­nual Oksen Easter cel­e­bra­tions

Those flow­ers were in­evitably cov­ered with in­sects that con­tin­ued their own feast while our fam­ily sat and ate my mom’s cre­ative cui­sine. As we dined, the flow­ers drooped. The bugs va­cated the flow­ers and crawled or flew away to greener pas­tures. In a rainbow of col­ors, messy bugeaten, frost­bit­ten and wind-rav­aged petals and pollen floated down onto to the lace table­cloth.

Still, bugs and all, we ap­pre­ci­ated what the flow­ers brought to the ta­ble. If only we looked at peo­ple, in­clud­ing our­selves, with the same eyes. We quite nat­u­rally mar­vel at the essence of a wild­flower, so why don’t we fo­cus on and em­pha­size our own in­nate glory?

Why is con­form­ity still the pre­vail­ing ten­dency rather than unique­ness and gen­uine­ness? Bor­ing.

Sure, ex­ter­nal forces can in­flu­ence our true na­ture, but for many of us, de­vi­a­tions from be­ing au­then­tic are akin to self­s­ab­o­tage and self-be­trayal. Don’t get me wrong, I get why peo­ple fake it in the face of ob­sta­cles such as fear and in­equal­ity.

Some­times, it feels smarter and safer to pre­tend. It’s just that, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, when I trade my au­then­tic­ity for se­cu­rity, I endure all sorts of self-im­posed woes. Sad­ness, anxiety and de­pres­sion come to mind. When that’s the case, per­haps it re­ally is bet­ter to embrace our per­fectly im­per­fect selves.

If we fos­ter au­then­tic­ity and ac­cept each other as the evolv­ing and fal­li­ble human be­ings that we are, we may find com­mon ground from which to grow to­gether.

If we can agree to com­mu­ni­cate with the in­ten­tion to be real, truth­ful and kind, that is a sup­port­ive foun­da­tion that we can build on. Much like a Cal­i­for­nia poppy, a Johnny jump-up, a shoot­ing star or an In­dian paint­brush, when an au­then­tic per­son is deeply rooted in the rich­ness of grat­i­tude for life, he/she is a pres­ence that gen­er­ates an at­trac­tive energy and a de­light­ful aura.

So go ahead, let these hill­sides and fields of wild­flow­ers en­cour­age your au­then­tic self to bloom. Face the sunlight and show your true col­ors.

Reach for the heav­ens. Grow, ma­ture and spread those seeds of sin­cer­ity. Bot­tom line — just be real. You’re beau­ti­ful.


Ethan Oksen, nephew of Cambrian colum­nist Michele Oksen, picks wild­flow­ers for Easter.

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