We are swimming in the river of life, sometimes smack in the middle of the fast moving current, sometimes grounded on a sandbar for a time until the water rises again.
Life moves greater ease when we are immersed and surrendered to the flow. Fighting the current of the river of life depletes and weakens the spirits of living beings.
The waters of this river move with one purpose – to join with all waters all rivers streams and creeks, all lakes, inland seas. To become one water.
Allowing yourself to move with the current of the river, allowing it to take you where it wants and needs to flow; steering a bit now and then to keep yourself from running aground, your life will flow with more ease than you ever thought possible.
The gravity pulls all water finally, to the meeting place. This is the vast ocean where trillions of tiny water droplets that once fell as rain or snow, hail or sleet across our Earth merge and become one in a universe of surging and living and sacred water.
Let your spirit and the spirit of water guide you.
Our spirits expansive and unlimited, somehow end up coming to Earth in physical form with limitations, boundaries, and physical rules governing material existence.
As a tree spirit inhabiting the physical world, I was limited during my life by the depth of my roots, the height and weight and reach of my limbs, the nourishment available in the soil, the quality and quantity of available light each day, the length and duration of the seasons, the surrounding trees and their roots and branches, the rainfall and weather conditions in this place.
My spirit took a chance with physical life and took root many decades ago. My life was a magnificent work of art! Life was all I knew. And life was beautiful. My spirit could not be separated from my physical body.
Your basic human survival needs dictate the conditions of your life. You must have water, food, shelter, touch, nurturing from others as a child, exercise, a group to belong to… The deep longings of spirit will also inform and shape your life in profound ways.
Gravity holds your body to the Earth even as your spirit longs to soar sometimes and wants to be free, unencumbered by the confines and needs of the body.
Even if you are not aware of your spirit, behind the scenes it sets the agenda for your life and helps to guide you toward your highest good. It is the quiet voice telling you “there is more to life…” Pay attention!
This is the challenge of life on Earth for humans – creating a healthy balance between body and spirit
Rings on a tree stump, the moving hands of a clock, sun crossing the sky from morning to evening, the moon cycling through her phases, an infant growing into a child, a child growing into an adult, hair slowly turning gray over the course of years– all signs pointing to the passage of time, the passage of life from beginning to end.
When you live in a body, time measures out the moments of your life, the waking hours between sunrise and sunset, between birth and death.
In those moments when you are attuned to spirit, you know no time. All occurs in the ever present now. As you live in a body, you may experience this state of grace transcending time and space for fleeting moments.
You may know know this timelessness in meditation, or as you watch a magnificent sunset, walk along a beach as waves break, or witness the birth of a child.
Perhaps between breaths, as you sit in the sun with no agenda or plan, as you surrender to what is, you will experience a flash of oneness with all that is, an expansion, a sense of complete safety. Then life will soon crowd back in with all your noisy thoughts and worries and time will resume.
The timelessness of spirit underlies all experience, all existence. Time seems to stand still as you slip into the silence between breaths, between thoughts.
This is the silence at the center of your being that holds all possibilities.
As my physical remains crumble into dust and become food for the Earth, for the insects and worms, I enrich and feed the soil that once fed me. The decay of my physical being nourishes the soil that sustained my long and prosperous life. The rains, snows, ice, the freezes and thaws have begun to break down what is left of me.
My spirit, the energy that supported my physical being continues, as bright, as strong as ever. Now the “I” that was focused and centered in the once living tree experiences an immense freedom, an expansion, a lightness, a joy in knowing my oneness with all that is.
Gone are the days of knowing the baking heat and withering drought, chill winter winds, eroding washes of driving rain, the threat of lightening and high winds.
I loved my life in the form of a magnificent cottonwood tree in spite of harsh weather, boring insects, men with bucket trucks and chainsaws. I lived a beautiful life, connected intimately with the web of all-that- is.
My spirit endures!
And now from my new perspective, my spirit observes the manifestations, the ebb and flow, the dance of life on earth with deep gratitude and great love for all beings.
I have a new viewpoint on the web of life, or the web of spirit, if you like. For in my new reality I know without doubt that all things are one.
I am filled with gratitude for the long and beautiful life I lived under the sky, rooted to the Earth in this place.
I remember the first burst of life within me. I felt the swelling of my tiny fluff encased seed, resting in the mud, taking on moisture and warmth many decades ago.
My embryonic roots slowly unrolling as has been the pattern for all those who came before me for the entire history of this Earth. My roots obeying the ancient call to life, pushing my seed open, surprisingly strong, beginning to grasp the soil to reach downward as if pulled by a magnetic force, to draw in nourishment, and sustain my life, to hold me here.
Now my tightly folded seed leaves, pale from their time in the dark enclosed seed space soak in the first particle of sunlight through the crack in the seed casing. They reach out as though starved for light and unfold and harden and reach upward and multiply under the sun’s life giving love, with nourishment and moisture from my roots.
This is how my life began, dear ones. The ancient will to live and survive and thrive on this planet was encoded in my seed as it is in all living beings – those that move freely about and those rooted to the Earth.
What love, what gratitude I feel for the magnificent web that connect us all in the never ending dance of life on this planet.
When winter knocks on the door and you are snowed in, you can’t leave the house, can’t escape yourself. All human movement in the white world ceases for a time as the wind roars, snow swirls and drifts pile up against all obstacles.
Here you are in the house, cozy and warm, yet there remain many long weeks until the spring thaw comes. You will endure the cold, the wind. You will survive this harsh and bleak time of year when life seems to have abandoned the world.
Winter strips bare the bones of Mother Earth, lays the reality of the frozen world before you – the tree wraiths with their black branches dancing in the gusting wind that cuts like a knife.
Many compare winter to death. But, dear ones, life waits deep in the roots of the sleeping trees and grasses, Deep in the soil below the frost zone, beneath the blinding drifts of snow. Life bides her time, resting and waiting for the warm mild days to return, the bright spring sun that draws all life upward to his life giving light.
When winter overtakes your being, find time to rest and go inward. Connect with the spark of existence that is deep within your being and know that life will return once again when the season turns.
Here are several humble and easy tips from GCW based on her tree wisdom and observations of humans during her long life.
Tip #1: Spend time in nature every day to renew your relationship with with the web of life. In nature, you can release human caused worries, tensions, anxieties and find the peace and calm at your center.
Here you can walk and move your body freely. You can swing your arms, you can run, you can sing to your heart’s content. You can catch a snowflake on your tongue. You can climb or lean against a friendly tree. You can sit on a rock and soak in the sun, observing the life surrounding you and the beating heart within you.
Everything you experience in nature can be seen as a mirror of your inner self and you can learn from this; the dark forests, rolling prairies, deeply rooted grasses, feathered creatures of the air and treetops, grazing animals, fur bearers, scampering tree dwellers, the moods of weather and sky, the quality of light, industrious insects, magnificent spreading trees, tangled undergrowth, flowing streams, silver ponds, changing seasons…
Nature places no demands on you, makes no judgments about you, has no agenda for you to follow. Here you can be yourself. Here you can reconnect with the carefree and happy child within you.
Tip #2: Hug a tree now and then. If you are tuned into your body in a sensitive way, you will notice a change in your energy as you hug a tree. You might also notice the energy of the tree. It may feel loving, welcoming, vital, peaceful, calm, patient. As you hug one of our representatives, you connect to the grounded earthy energy of the tree, and that will energize you!
Tip #3: Root to the Earth. You’re in a body and thus you belong here. You are meant to live fully in your body, not spending the majority of your time in your mind. If you do, eventually you will crash like a weak rooted tree in a high wind. To root yourself, visualize sending your energetic roots deep into the earth so you are anchored to the soil and bedrock. Now you can pull Earth energy into your body through your roots and know that you belong here.
Tip #4: Reach to the Light. Take up your allotted space in the canopy, so to speak. Soak in life giving energy that is your birthright and grow toward the sunlight. A tree will never turn away from the light, but grow always toward it, reaching and reaching and soaking in as much as possible every day of the growing season.
If you are alive and reading this, you are in your growing season. Make the most of it! Claim the light that is yours without apology.
If others are overshadowing you, find safe ways to find the light that is yours. You might start small and build on your successes over time.
When you are rooted and reaching to the light, when you spend time in nature, when you hug a tree now and then, you fully alive in body, mind and spirit. You are free! You are participating in full spectrum of human possibilities from the earthy to the sublime.
In this way, you connect and know your oneness with the web of life.
Bare branches shiver in the roaring winter wind; air heavy with blowing snow, the sun dimmed, sky heavy with impenetrable clouds. All the world softened, hazy and indistinct.
Pitiless wind ripping and tearing across the land, scouring everything in its path. Wind forming snow into drifts of sculptural beauty near buildings, fences, trees, shrubs. Like smoke from a furious fire, snow pours from roof peaks and slopes.
All perennial rooted beings sleep under the cold blanket. Their life retreats inward to the roots, waiting for spring to rise again, oblivious to the wind and cold and the shifting drifts covering all the land.
All fur bearers are safe within their burrows or weather tight nests, snuggled together for warmth. Winter birds fluff their feathers under cover, cold blooded creatures hibernate in their earthy dens, sleeping deeply beneath the frozen mud.
Dear ones, remember the wonder you felt as a child your face pressed to the icy window, watching the snowstorm rage, joyful at the school cancellation?
You were safe and warm in your lighted house, watching the fury unfold outside, feeling the fierce beauty, the raw power of wind and snow.
There are times in life when humans who live through freezing winters must walk on ice. It cannot be avoided.
To walk safely on the ice, total awareness is required in the present moment. Each movement and each step forward much be considered, balance maintained.
Those who have no choice but to walk on ice must have an eye for the safest places to place their feet. These are the spots that will provide the most traction. This knowledge and body wisdom is based on a lifetime of walking on ice.
Sometimes the path ahead is clear for easy walking without the walker having to consider each step. Then once again there may be packed snow or glassy ice patches on the path. It is beautiful, yet potentially dangerous.
You who walk on ice must know when to walk flat footed, when to shuffle, when to stride forward without planning your every step. Thoughts of fear or anger will deflect your attention and bring you down.
Such is life in a human body, dear ones. Sometimes you will have to carefully pick and choose your steps, slowly making progress through the dangerous places, finding traction, trusting the Earth will support you.
You must do your part as well and listen to the wisdom of your body, earned through many years of experience walking on ice.
Yes, dear ones, I return to a favorite theme. I speak of grounding once more because it is so vital to your well-being!
When your body and mind are exhausted, when you feel as though you can’t take another step, when you are depleted, shaky or frantic, recharge your power supply by reconnecting with Mother Earth.
Plug in and let her entrain your energy to her heartbeat, the rhythm of our planet, to the reality of her loving support.
When you are ungrounded you may seem to float away like an untethered space walker. Humans ungrounded deplete themselves and try to compensate for a lack of Earth energy, try to find a power supply elsewhere – food, drink, drugs…?
When you are grounded, you are filled with Earth energy pulled in from the chakras at the soles of your feet. This energy rises up within your body to anchor and root you to your home. This is mother Earth’s way of telling you – you belong here, this is your home.
Rediscover your power supply in the most simple and natural way.
Walk stand or sit with your bare feet on the earth, on grass a beach, in mud or soil. Lay under a tree. Hug a tree and lean there for a few moments. Visualize yourself as a tree and send your roots deep into the Earth. Gently massage your feet. Walk in nature. Rub the soles of your feet with a stainless steel spoon.
As you are here in a body, you are meant to live fully within the parameters and limitations, joys sorrows and challenges of this physical existence. Getting grounded will help you be here now and experience the fullness of life.
Practice simple grounding daily and recharge your batteries. Live in your body. Live more fully as you are meant to.