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Adulting: Feeling Hollow....Like Bamboo?

I’m taking a life lesson from bamboo.

It started when a friend gave me a card gift set* that explains how bamboo is a “symbol of resilience.” I read the card multiple times, trying to really learn what I could from the chunk of text:

Zhen Xie is said to have painted eight hundred pictures of bamboo forests, seeing in them the perfect model of how a wise person might behave.

Um…800? That’s a lot of bamboo. But Zhen Xie was a poet. And apparently bamboo is pretty amazing:

Unlike tree trunks, the stems are hollow, but its inner emptiness is a source of its vigor. Bamboo bends in storms, sometimes almost to the ground, but sprints back resiliently.

And I had to pause for thought. Actually, multiple times. Because I’ve been quick to associate the feeling of “emptiness” as undesirable. We humans have multiple ways we describe our emptiness. We say we feel hollow inside. We talk about feeling gutted. Other times we describe ourselves as being absent of feeling.

But by having space inside us, can we be like the bamboo plant? Bend and not break?

An empty room, an empty house, an empty area has so much potential. Being empty of ourselves can be a good thing. Then we have room for thoughts about others to freely flow. We have time for solving problems. We have space to fill ourselves with good things – like nutrients to an empty stomach.

I often feel like I have nothing. Like I’m a hollow tube that has little to offer the world. But oh that hollowness brings humility. And when we have humility, we have so much potential to not only survive in the world, but to change it. (Think how obnoxious a proud person can be and how little we want to listen to him?)

I’m not a licensed therapist or psychologist, so I may be missing something here. But I’m starting to think that a lot of things I’ve shied away from in life, like not being filled with the answers, the wisdom, or the perfect strategy is actually more beneficial than I first realized.

But back to the bamboo:

Its emptiness is its source of vigor.

Let’s allow our times of emptiness to do the same for us and be a channel for vitality.

I don’t know about you, but I will never look at bamboo the same way again.


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