• Matilda Butler

Writing for Inspiration Wednesday: What in the World is a Clusia Pod and Why Should You Care?

Updated: Jun 5


Do You Have a Favorite Connection or Treasure that Brings You Inspiration?

When we think about our lives, when we look back as well as when we look forward, we seek connections. We look for the threads that can inspire us.


An important connection (perhaps the most?) is the connection with ourself. Although seeking inspiration from others is valuable and leads toward a better life path, today I'll focus on an internal connection...on finding inspiration around us.


A Treasured Connection with Hawaii and Its Continuing Inspiration

When I started going to Hawaii more than 40 years ago, I became fascinated with the variety of pods hanging from trees everywhere I went. Over the intervening years, I’ve collected these pods and used them in many ways--in multimedia art projects, sprayed gold and displayed as place cards, tree ornaments, gift-wrapping decorations, etc. My grandchildren even like to tease that I’m the Pod Person.

The Clusia Tree

Although each pod and its tree is unique and fascinating in its own way, my longtime favorite is the pod from the Clusia tree, also known as the “Autograph tree” and the “Scotch attorney tree.” But I like to call it the “Story Tree,” the “Clue Tree,” the "Inspiration Tree". You’ll see why below.


The stages of the Clusia tree and its pods can represent our lives. Our lives change as we mature and as we are influenced by life experiences.

The Beginning of Inspiration

Why do I call this the Inspiration tree? Look at the photo of a Clusia bud on the left. See how it is small, barely open to the world. The tough surface protects the fragile interior. Perhaps the bud reminds you of a time when you were just beginning a new endeavor. When you are vulnerable, you need to assume a harder exterior than usual to protect the new you that is forming. Sometimes you can provide that yourself. Other times, a friend or colleague can give you a protected space so that you can grow.


Opening Up and Testing the Inspired You

Hard to believe, isn't it? Just look at the photo to the left. Eventually the closed bud with its touch outer petals opens into this delicate blossom. As we move out into the world to achieve our personal goals, we open ourselves to new experiences. But we’re still fragile. This experience happens over and over as we grow in our lives. The "open yet delicate" phase is there. We need to respect it and take care of ourselves during that time.

You Are Sturdy Now

Although it is hard to believe, the delicate blossoms turn into these sturdy green pods. Similarly, we can look at our lives and recollect times of our own sturdiness, our strength, our toughness, our inspiration that let us grow, mature, and prosper even in the face of difficult situations. Wherever you are now in moving toward a goal, remember that you can move from a delicate phase to a study phase -- one where you are sure of your goals and can acknowledge your achievements.

Give Your Goals Time...

Give the pod enough time, it opens and drops from the tree where it dries to a gorgeous rust-brown. Those are the pods that I pick up and cherish. Some have opened in seven places as you can see in the photo. Others open in eight, some in nine. I’ve counted as many as 11 separate splits. It is the uniqueness of these pods that again reminds me of our lives–many similarities and yet differences that make us who we are.


Reflect on the stages of your life in your own stories while thinking about the Clusia tree and its marvelous pods.


Inspiration Writing Prompt Inspired by the Clusia

1. Choose one of the stages of the Clusia pod…bud, blossom, closed pod, open pod, mature pod no longer on the tree. Look again at the photos above as you choose.

2. Determine a specific stage of your life's aspiration that you can associate with the phase of the pod that you choose.

3. Write for 10 minutes reminding yourself how the stage or specific event relates to earlier and later stages in your life. What we do today influenced the outcomes tomorrow. There are many connections. Find yours. Pursue them. Find inspiration. Move toward the life you want and deserve.


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What's the Point?

This is your life and you can live it in a way that satisfies you. Don't get hung up by other people and their expectations. Find the inspiration you need to reflect on your life and to move forward.



One More Thing...Just for the Fun of It

Oh. One more thing…I mentioned that the Clusia tree is also called an “Autograph tree” or a “Scotch lawyer tree.” From the photo on the left, you can see what I mean. The leaves are thick and can be written on. Usually just names, but it’s fun to see where the name “Scotch lawyer” came from. This would be a cheap way to write a contract and then sign it.



 

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