And now, for Nature. There is always so much support being offered to us from the “natural world”. It’s ironic – but helpful! - that we are going through this big contraction at a time the Earth is expanding into springtime. Nature and its forces are eternal, moving through seasons and cycles that provide us with continuity and define our activity. We have become more disconnected with our inherent nature in the modern world. It’s interesting to see nature taking a deep breath as human activity decreases - something we should be doing as well amidst the uncertainty of the times. One hopes that we will take this opportunity to rethink our societal structures, what we value, and what we need in terms of material resources. So while I am appreciating the grasses, flowers, and the greening of my world, I always look to trees as an anchor. In every season, I never tire of looking at the shapes and contours of the many elms as I walk my neighborhood. As they bud and bloom the shapes are changing, and it’s wonderful to behold. And yet, there is more to experience about trees then just the visual aspect, the scent, or the shade.
Over the years in my retreats we have done some deep dives in communion with trees. The first one was on Paul and Ellie’s WD Ranch, which had been devastated by fire; hundreds of ancient willows and cottonwoods along the river were in the process of dying. Our group dispersed and each person chose a tree to sit and communicate with. The results were profound, heart wrenching and inspiring all at once. Some were happy to pass and make way for the little ones sprouting, who needed the sunlight they were blocking. Others were wounded but determined to survive. And some were reminiscing about their lives, the birds that rested in their branches and the winds that waved through their leaves. One clear message was that we should come back and spread seeds to jumpstart new growth in that devastated area. We did indeed do a ceremony around that a few months later. What an amazing experience it was for us all!
Another year Debbie Mikels did her Graduate project on trees, and we did an exercise in conjunction with her presentation that I want to share. Here it is! Communion with - Trees
One reason I love teaching at the Mercy Center are the giant oaks there (lots of other trees on that 40 acres as well.) The ancient ones that have grown heavy horizontal trunks actually have U-shaped metal supports! I loved climbing trees, even into my teens; at Mercy I climb up onto these big limbs and rest into the energy of the tree.
Look to the abundance and beauty of Nature and be sustained – physically, energetically, and spiritually - in a way that nothing else can provide. We have forgotten how interconnected we are with all that exists. Maybe it’s become a concept or theory, but it’s time to literally get back to our roots.
Take refuge in the ultimate healer, Nature!