When we talk of trees, we honor several qualities our human friends might not understand or apply quite so readily.
We honor quiet listening, listening like the tree listens.
When we listen like this we listen without giving advice. We give complete permission for the other to speak, just say whatever is longing to be said.
When we listen as trees, we aren’t thinking “Do I believe the same things? Do I agree with what she is saying? How can I argue with their point in order to make them agree with me?”
The tree does none of that. The tree isn’t planning to speak when it is her turn. She isn’t being dismissive because our opinions differ.
The tree stands beside us, patiently, without judgment, without rushing in to offer “magic bullet” or the latest hack or portion that will be what finally convinces because the tree recognizes it is connection, rather than convincing, that allows us to grow and flourish.
When we listen as the tree listens, we honor shadow – which sometimes makes the living more comfortable when it is too warm in direct sun though at other times, we may become downright chilly in the shadows. In those moments we may choose to step back into the sun.
The tree stands and offers us to gain comfort in her shadow and learn to relate differently to the shadows we bring with us. She reminds us sometimes it is cold in the shadow and the sunshine brings warmth. This doesn’t make shadow wrong, it just makes the shadow different than the direct light.
Sometimes in the shadow we fuss and squirm and sometimes we stay dryer and warmer because of her shadow-protection.
The tree teaches us to honor shadow.
When we listen like the tree we honor rootedness – staying in place – without wishing, wanting or moving to another destination.
We learn from the tree to honor rootedness – staying in place – without wishing, wanting or moving to another destination. It feels so good when we stand, rooted, with the tree and allow ourselves to lift up with our arms – exposing our heart and giving our face to the sky to be kissed.
Can you feel the hugging back when you do that, when you stay delightedly in place?
I feel so full and rich and treasured when I allow myself to fully understand what it means to feel this rooted, this grounded – as I’ve discovered my place and space in the world.
Do you have a tree you especially admire or enjoy?
Stand with the tree, or stand with me, right now – under this tree.
Breathe with the tree.
Quietly allow the tree’s presence it’s due attention.
Return to your notebook or keyboard and allow the words to flow from your fingertips. Yield your stuff – the gunk and the muck and the sticky repetitive thougths – in honor of the tree.
Write a thank you note to the tree you most admire. See if you may craft your gratitudes into a poem.
Inspired by the Poem What Kind of Times Are These by Adrienne Rich.