• Tamara S. Graham

Our Body is Just the Wrapping Paper - the real gift is inside!

You may have heard many analogies of why we should get to know something or someone in order to fully understand them - discovering for ourselves if we resonate. Best not to make judgements in general, but for sure only when we have experienced it for ourselves! And even still, it's more about our own perspective - the lens we see the world through - rose colored glasses or dark sunglasses that disguise the light of truth.


"Don't judge a book by it's cover"

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"Beauty is more than skin deep"

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"Can't judge the fruit by the look of the tree"

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"Walk a mile in another's man's shoes"

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"The body is just the wrapping paper - the true gift is inside!"


When was the last time you were surprised by what was inside, when the outside led you to believe something completely different? The same way you cannot judge a book by it's cover, you can't judge a person by the body they inhabit. That is to say, the body is really just the "wrapping paper", and sometimes the plain every day wrapping covers the most beautiful gift - a radiant, loving soul inside!


Of course, that's easy to say when I was blessed with the "attractive" gene and passed that on to my children. But, when you grow up with everyone telling you that you are "pretty" it does twist the way you get validated, superficially. I was surrounded by people who saw surface limitations and expressed major prejudices. I was not acknowledged for my intelligence3or revered for my compassion, patience, or nurturing tendencies - or anything deep like that.

I am grateful that I came to this lifetime with a strong sense of positivity and compassion or I could have been vulnerable and easily swayed into accepting others' opinions. It was a bit exhausting to work daily to stay positive amongst all the negative, superficial comments of my family and peers.


I find that we as a society have spent too much time trying to alter the face we show to the world - trying to measure-up or impress everyone but ourselves. Whether it be by using make-up or wearing expensive, or outrageous clothes to get attention - I think people just want to be noticed, valued and heard. But, we have gotten way off track on how to do that. The saying "be who you want to see in the world" was not meant to conform us to what others want to "see"... it's truly about how you wish to be treated. We all crave to be heard and seen in a way that society just doesn't value enough.


I also think on many levels, the lines are thinning between the things that separate us. Gender, age, physical attributes, career choices and even sexuality are all getting more widely accepted and even swirled into a blur and being less defined. The newer souls are not resonating with the old ideas of separation and supremacy. The younger generations are showing us that it doesn't matter what your human body projects, your value is how you express your heart. Love is love, no matter who we choose to share that with. Staying true to our hearts and seeing the commonality of our souls is what will change this world. Caring about each other and our environment is exactly what is needed right now and I feel like that shift is coming.


I think we are moving more towards the "alien model" - of being more similar than different. After all, they are perceived to be the all-knowing intelligent beings - and yet you cannot tell them apart when you look at all the artist's renditions. Generic faces with large eyes - the windows to the soul. Whether there really are extraterrestrial beings or it is a projection of our future selves, there is much to contemplate as to generic bodies and having higher intelligence. Perhaps aliens are really our higher selves occasionally showing up to redirect our current lives in order to accomplish more acceptance and value our similarities.


I am surrounded by daily reminders to work on acceptance and not judge a book by it's cover. I appreciate them because no matter how open-hearted and compassionate I think that I am, there are underlying seeds that society has planted. I have worked hard my whole life to not be tricked into being prejudice with people. But, I often wonder about these two gnarly looking fruit trees in our backyard. I have to admit that I am quick to judge them by the way they look. I often feel torn about eating fruit from them. I have been pleasantly surprised each time I do indulge in their fruit.


Apple Tree

There is a very old apple tree that I am told may be one of the last of it's kind, as far as apple varieties go here in far northern California. I think it looks haunted and half-dead and the apples are irregular and odd looking. Thanks to Disney, I always had this sense that it was a witch-tree offering apples and I didn't allow myself to trust it. However, these apples do have the most delicious apple meat inside. I was shocked the first time I actually tasted them. Looks can indeed be deceiving. I was looking with my eyes and not my heart! Arrgh, I thought I had already learned that lesson!

Part of the reason I did not embrace those apples is because I assumed they would taste as unattractive as the tree they came from. That old tree was in desperate need of support due to the heaviness of life, fighting to stay alive during snow storms, drought and the winds of change. I have learned not to judge people that have lived a full life and use a walker or a cane for support - so why did I judge this tree? I felt like I needed to change my perspective... so I began watering it every day and enjoying it's setting with the old lawn chairs and the haphazard wild vines of sweet peas. I adore the birdhouses we have collected and decided to decorate this old classic with whimsy. By doing all of this, I gave it the much needed love that it needed, and frankly deserved. This year we have ten times more apples, and they are plump and overly abundant! Love wins.


Plum Tree

My favorite spot to sit and drink my coffee is on our back porch with it's weathered old wood and view of some beautiful trees. There is a tired looking old plum tree that is so close to the porch that it's younger branches can reach in as if to prove to me that it is indeed friendly. The love and appreciation I feel for my favorite outdoor spot must be attracting this new growth. I didn't see it that way until I took this photograph. Why did I feel a dark energy from this tree previously? It looks different today, or perhaps I am different, and the lens through which I see the tree has changed.

I previously had an unappreciative relationship with this tree. It also repelled me a bit because it houses a number of very large spiders. My boyfriend pointed out that they are proof that it bares organic fruit since they wouldn't survive if there were pesticides. Good point! Perhaps my love/hate relationship could shift. It has many dead branches reaching out in Halloween spooky style, yet it flowers with refreshing plum-colored buds every spring for what seems like only a week. It brings such an odd juxtaposition of beauty and creepiness. Just like the apple tree, the way it looked repelled me from partaking of it's fruit. I found the fruit to be too small, bug-ridden and bitter.


This season I saw so many tiny plums seemingly calling for nurturing to grow larger and sweeter, so I have been watering it every other day. I have been seeing this tree through different eyes, and sending love. As I was preparing to write about all of this, I tried to take photographs to show the gnarly-ness I once saw, but I have not been able to capture it. My heart has changed and therefore the lens of perception in my eyes and camera have too. Today, I harvested about a hundred little delicious gifts from this surprising old tree. I was consciously staying in a state of gratitude as I picked the love offerings she was giving. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," was my mantra.


So the moral of my story is that life is always showing you something if you are willing to look, listen and feel. As much work as I have done on becoming my best self, there is always more to learn and aspire to. I appreciate when life shows me examples of what I must have come here to learn... compassion, acceptance and living your truth.


If you don't like what you see, perhaps it is mirroring something deep inside that needs discovery and your lens of perception needs a good cleaning!


Thank you for hearing and seeing me!



About Tamara S. Graham

Tami is grateful for all of her Highly Sensitive Person traits because they have made her who she is today: an optimistic, nurturing soul, full of great compassion. Being a mother has been her hardest and most rewarding job since her unique and sensitive children have been her greatest inspiration and teachers. She is currently writing a series of children’s books for HSP families. Follow this blog for more of her heartfelt ponderings about life and love. Or sign-up above for her weekly emails as she continues writing from her heart.



{Copyright 2020 - Most photos are the property of Tamara S. Graham unless noted otherwise}

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