I've been dreaming alot about trees lately. It began a few weeks ago with something that wasn't really a dream, but a waking vision. Something you see in your mind's eye as you begin to saunter back into consciousness. I was walking through a forest of silver birch trees whose leaves had left them for the winter. As I strolled through their naked presence, I heard them whispering to me. While I couldn't quite understand what they were saying, I knew I was amongst a forest of oracles. I've held tight and trusted that I would eventually get clarity on their message to me.
Since then, trees have been making frequent cameo appearances in my dreams. There was the willow tree standing solo in the gray mist beside a pond. There was the old oak tree summoning me closer to its trunk. Then there was the giant, banyan tree which grew up and over a towering gothic cathedral..that got my attention. And it wasn't just my dreams, I've begun to notice trees much more than I ever have. My attention has been drawn into them like a child drawn to something shiny. Why the heck were all these trees suddenly showing up in my psyche?
In shamanism, there are spirits in everything. There are the ethereal spirit guides in the heavenly realm. There are the power animal guides in the 'lower world'. And then there are the 'middle world' spirits who embody all the earthly elements, the water, the wind, the flowers, the rocks and yes, even the trees. I feel if trees were animals, they would be like the elephants or the whales. Gentle giants, the knowing elders, inhabiting this planet with so much ancient wisdom to share.
Trees are obviously very grounding. They help remind us to root in and connect with the deeply nourishing earth energy. Remember Buddha and his Bodhi Tree? And while I need all the grounding, earth energy I can get, I felt they were knocking at my door for something else entirely different. So after this series of tree 'visitations', I decided it was time to go have a meeting.
There is a century oak perched up on the rolling hills behind our home with a commanding view of Mt Tamalpais. Its branches reach this way and that while its trunk remains a solid channel for source. Its immediate ground is littered with acorns, leaves and scrub grass, but what's interesting is that just five feet out from its reach is ground embedded with quartz stone, quartz being traditionally known for its receptivity. It also shares this small plot of land with a thicket of bay laurel trees. Now laurel trees are known for their nobility and protection. Additionally the Oracle of Delphi was known to chew the laurel leaves to facilitate her visions. I suppose it's why I've intuitively inserted many of my written new moon intentions into the various hollows of these particular laurel trees over the past few years.
The first time I came upon this oak, I felt such humility as if I were entering the presence of an insightful sage. They say when you introduce yourself to a tree you don't just go and fling your arms around it like you're BFF's. You approach it gently, backing into it and letting it embrace you. I did this for the first time about 3 years ago and was overcome with tears for the love I felt washing over me...from a tree?! I've since dubbed this tree Ganesha because when I feel troubled or fragmented I can go to this tree for its embrace, wisdom and grounding.
After feeling loopy from the week, I hiked up to Ganesha one Saturday morning. I sat upon the earth, damp from the previous rains. The air smelled clean and fragrantly green from the bay laurels. Knowing there was a birthday brunch we needed to attend in a few hours, I knew I didn't have much time to stay. So I sat without any expectation or agenda, just to sit there and be in this grounding presence was enough. I felt myself coming back into my center rather than being at the forefront of my body. As I closed my eyes I saw an image of brain waves going back and forth rapidly and the message coming through was this:
"Humans are so consumed with planning or looking backward that you miss the flow." What flow? "The flow from Source. There is so much efforting to get what you want, to get where you need to go, to complete tasks. There is so much efforting around being purposeful that you miss the flow. The flow is feeding you all the time, it's giving you everything you need and if humans can just be in that energy and wisdom then everything will align for them."
And then I felt it...this 'flow'. It was palpable, too much to the front or too much to the back of my body and I wouldn't have synched up with it, but when my head and body were aligned to this invisible centerpoint, I felt it. The place where we source from a higher wisdom and a grounded place. The place where we are informed by our hearts and spirit rather than our egos and rational mind. It's a much more spacious, compassionate place to live, but we snap back into that loop of planning or looking backward and we become frustrated, reactive and exhausted.
Now I'd like to say I ran from the hills shouting this message to all who would hear, but in the 21st century, unless you'd like to spend the remainder of your day in a padded cell, that's not how you deliver such information. So I got up from this spot beneath the tree, thanked it, bowed to it, hiked home, got ready for this birthday brunch and enjoyed toasting our friend with champagne and eggs benedict without peeping a word.
The next day as I opened my studio to clients, the message of flow continued to come in various ways. "Tell 'em about the 'flow'" my guides were saying. And I did, and it was received the way they could receive it and now I'm sharing it with you.
If you think of a tree, its branches sway in the wind, its leaves soak up the light but its trunk remains solid and rooted deep in the earth. So there is a constant flow of receptivity along with a sourcing from something deeper.
Think about us. If we pause from our back and forth thinking, the constant planning and the constant remembering, we would be in the present moment. We would simply be thinking about this second...and this second... and this second. We would actually experience life from a whole different vantage. But not only that we would become more aligned with our center which is where our true state, our true spirit lives. This alignment would inform a new way of being in the world because our true state is naturally more loving, gentle and kind. And it's here where the wealth of our power resides. We wouldn't need to look outside ourselves for the answers. We wouldn't need to second-guess our decisions. We wouldn't feel the need to posture and position. We would inherently feel what is true and what is in our highest good and move towards it effort-less-ly. Think about when we react from the efforting place or the positioning place we exhaust ourselves, making us even more frustrated and irritable.
Get Shit Done!
I know you're probably rolling your eyes and saying, 'yeah right, but we'll never get shit done!' I know, because it's what I said too. But here's what...we will get shit done. And we'll get it done from a calmer place. Perhaps it won't be on the same warp-speed timeline, but it will get done. And if we're moving in the flow, we might just realize that a few of those items on the infinite to-do list evaporates. So practice this week. Catch yourself going back and forth and see if you can pause in the center, in the moment. See if your body eases and if you can feel the flow. Even if you can't feel it, trust me it will find you and point you towards your own true north.
When was the last time you sat beneath a tree? What was your experience? Tell me about it in the comments below!