Dear friends, it is time for both Grandmother Cottonwood and I to pursue new adventures in life, so this will be our final blog post. Since the tree herself was cut down last June, I feel that her spirit is finally ready to move on.
It has been a great honor to translate the communications of GCW into words and pictures. We’ve worked in partnership to bring you over 500 posts since 2015. And now, we say a loving goodbye.
Please enjoy GCW’s offerings from our archives. Thank you for your kind attention and support throughout the past five years. Dear readers, you have been much appreciated!
Remember Grandmother Cottonwood when you need to feel grounded, when you desire inspiration, when you find yourself off balance or living in your head, or when you want to connect with the spirits of nature.
We leave you with a final practice to help you live connected to the Earth, centered in your body, and aligned with spirit
Visualize your energetic roots anchoring you to the Earth, drawing in vital Earth energy. Visualize your awareness centered in the trunk of your body, your heart and belly. And finally, see and feel your energetic branches reaching to divine light, pulling in life giving nourishment and inspiration from the heavens.
(If you have children or grandchildren, they will love this visualization!)
Here is a daily practice for connecting your purpose with the web of life.
Begin by sending your energetic roots deep into the earth and ground yourself. Bring your awareness to your heart, take a few deep breaths through the center of your chest, and reach your arms toward divine light.
Now, ask spirit what work is being called through you today. This will be your true work, not mundane tasks or chores on your to do list, but something deeper and more meaningful. This will be work that energizes you, satisfies your spirit, lifts you and others up.
Now, with your voice, using drums, rattles, bowls, or other sound instruments, describe the work you are called to do. Speak, sing, let your body and the space around you be filled with the vibrations of the sound your create as you lift your voice to the heavens.
Let the sound of your voice rise up and join with the web of life. You are sending the frequency of your wishes and dreams, your unique offerings into the universe.
The frequencies you create rise up and join with the web of life, affecting the vast network of energetic filaments in unique patterns and ripples. As you do this practice, you are creating and inviting new possibilities, healing rifts in the fabric of life, focusing your mind body spirit and emotions on the work that only you can offer, creating new connections in the web of life.
As you send your hopes intentions and dreams into the web of life and receive guidance from spirit, you strengthen build and rebuild the network connecting all living beings.
High anxiety and stress seem very common in the human world. What is anxiety but an energetic message to you that your life is out of balance in some way?
Can you live more simply and more in tune with your body, more aligned with the rhythms of nature to bring yourself back into balance between body mind and spirit?
Rushing, worrying, trying to beat the clock and cram many activities into a finite amount of time, constant busyness, constant pressure to look “good”, to measure up, to perform to even higher standards, to acquire and organize and clean more things, to ignore your feelings, to attend to your shiny beeping and blinking objects, to allow those objects to dictate a measure of your reality – these and similar habits cause anxiety to root even deeper in your life.
Can you catch yourself as you buy into black and white thinking of should, ought, or must have, must do? Pay attention to these traps of thought that increase your anxiety levels.
For the health of your life and the life of the planet, slow down, pay attention to yourself, your body your senses. Pay attention to the healing and calming vibrations of nature.
Learn to get real!
Breathe mindfully and create space in your day for the real and true you. Discern your true needs and wants by quieting the mind and listening to the voices of your heart and spirit.
Give the voice of spirit attention for this is your best guidance for a balanced life. Your heart and spirit will not instruct you to go along with current trends, crowds influencers, glossy images you try to live up to. Spirit will show you only what is right and true for you.
In this way, you can access the deep liberating wisdom of your heart that knows only how to be real.
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.
According to the calendar, the stars and the angle of the sun, the waking and greening life all over the northern hemisphere, spring is here. The Earth wakes finally from her long winter’s nap.
Nature supports your movement toward renewal and restoration during this season of growth and expansion.
Spring is the time to remove those impediments that have kept you from living fully and from enjoying life fully. Now’s the time to let the energy of your life flow freely.
Remove or change what is bothersome, old, ugly, broken, cluttered, or unused in your surroundings and in your life if you can. Find new colors to live with, new arrangements of objects, give away those things you no longer find joy in.
This is the time to refresh dirty paint, replace threadbare clothes with dull and faded colors, fix and mend broken or scratched surfaces.
It is time to renew and restore the weed choked garden, to haul away last year’s dead leaves, to create compost from the old matter that will feed and nourish new growth. It is time to plant seeds and watch the miracle of their development throughout the growing season.
Now’s the time to explore new interests you’ve been putting off, allowing yourself the luxury of new creative ideas, new projects that will excite and enthuse you.
It’s time to refresh, renew, and clear the decks for the life that is waiting to be born through 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
One day as a child you woke up to the awareness and consciousness of yourself as an individual human being – that you have a body, that you breathe, your heart beats, you can move and speak and think and act with free will. You realized that you seem to be separate from those around you.
You spent some years early on learning how to master and live in your body. Perhaps it was an adjustment for your spirit, learning to live within the limitations of the physical world.
Somehow beyond your conscious awareness, you spirit ended up inhabiting a body at this time in the history of our planet. You ended up in this place. It was no accident!
You as an individual may not yet know the larger meaning of your own life or how it fits in with the larger patterns and connections between events and peoples and living creatures, the land and oceans, the big picture of life on Earth.
Know this: The web of life is the big picture, the universal pattern composed of infinite smaller patterns and connections that interweave, interact, and overlap with each other creating an achingly beautiful tapestry of the whole.
Even if you consciously did not choose this particular life or the conditions of your life, you have been blessed with a span of years to live.
You have been given the opportunity to experience joy and laughter, to know grief and heartache, to heal from grief and heartache, to seek and maintain connection with others, to learn about love, to experience growing older, to become a grandparent one day perhaps, to develop your talents, to do those things that satisfy your soul.
All that you do with kindness and good intentions blesses and strengthens the web of life.
Think of your life as a gift – the greatest gift you did not ask for. You are here now, so make the most of it!
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.
Messages given by spirit ring true to heart and mind, resonate deep within the human heart. Spirit speaks in symbol and metaphor. Spirit communicates with you when you ask for guidance. Spirit reveals how all beings depend on each other.
Spirit heals, it does not judge or curse. Spirit reveals oneness and belonging, not division and separation.
Spirit selects no enemies, no villains, no fall guys, deems no one less worthy than another.
Spirit knows and sees the wholeness of all that is. Each living being is accounted for in the web of life, each blade of grass. Spirit does not focus on flaws or faults or rain punishment upon those deemed unworthy by human decree and practice.
Spirit reweaves the tapestry of life when it becomes worn, torn or ripped by those who separate themselves from the fundamental truth of all existence, We are All One
All humans are given countless opportunities throughout life. Each requires that you make choices.
You are given free will to choose your path, to step into the light, to make the first move toward healing and wholeness for yourself, to make amends for mistakes, to develop your talents and skills, to reach out in friendship, to take a chance on your dreams.
You choose whether to smile at another or turn away. To speak kindly or destroy another with words, to hide behind walls or come out into the sunshine, to take a chance on your dreams or give up on yourself, to reach out for help or tough out your problems alone, without support. You have the freedom to choose whether to speak up when you witness injustice or be silent
There is no escape from the responsibility of making choices large and small each and every day. As human beings the quality and direction of your experience depends on your choices.