Choose life!

My crown and trunk have been severed and cut up, shredded, hauled away to be burned or used for mulch in someone’s garden … I am only a stump now…

…but my roots still live! New tender green sprouts rise up now, between my thick old bark and what was once my sapwood. Anyone can count the rings now in my exposed heartwood and tell my age.

Grandmother Cottonwood

My little shoots absorb the intense summer sunlight, growing taller each day, shooting up into the sunlit open sky. Trusting life again, fragile, yet stubborn.

I am a survivor!

Dear ones, does new life what to renew itself through you after the storms and traumas you’ve been through? What new growth, new ideas, new energy unfold into your consciousness and begin to move you? What new inner stirrings let you know you are not yet dead, not yet defeated, not yet ready to give up?

Contemplate this question: Is it time to recommit to your life here, to choose this life you’re living once again with full knowledge that life can bring hurt, pain, loss frustration, trauma, injury and also joy, happiness, contentment, blessing, wholeness, bliss, transcendence?

I know that you are stubborn, you endure, you are a survivor. Why do I know this? Because you are here now in a body on our planet Earth at this time. You are meant to be here! Somehow, for reasons we may never know, all living beings have chosen this life even in these difficult times.

Just when you think all is lost, pay attention to your inner world, your spirit and you feel the stirrings of renewed life and unfolding growth inside, the will to live. Give it time to grow stronger, to take root, to gain momentum.

GCW, new growth

You as a human being can choose life again and again throughout your span of years. With all its uncertainty and impermanence, choose life.

Trees and Patience

As trees, we must practice patience. We begin humbly, as a tiny fragile looking seed finding a home in the soil where conditions for life and future growth exist- moisture, light air soil, warmth… the sense of home and belonging.

Silver Maple seeds

Here our first roots unroll toward earths’ magnetic pull. Our precious seed leaves burst out and open, stretching to the light. This is our home for life, this patch of soil and sun.

We are settled here. We are content and patient in the place chance has chosen for us. We live lives of endurance, growing slowly year by year adding height and girth, our bark expanding and thickening.

Hackberry bark

We practice patience as our new green branches turn woody in months gaining in strength and size over the years. We stand tall according to our nature, we soak in light, pull in nutrients and moisture from the soil, feeding ourselves, providing homes for birds and insects, wildlife, tiny mammals, mosses, lichen. We do this for decade upon decade.

For generations, for lifetimes we thrive and survive.

You might consider us to be miracles! From fragile seedlings to magnificent mature trees, we have a strong will to live and endure, to take up the space we need, to soak in our share of sunshine and pull in the sustenance we need from the Earth.

We patiently endure droughts, torrential rains, lightening, storms, extreme cold and wilting heat. Year after year we patiently adapt to the conditions of our environment. Sometimes these conditions cause stress and then we benefit from your care concern and attention.

Trees and storm clouds

We are the calm green backdrop to your lives, providers of cooling shade, beautifying your neighborhoods and landscapes, holding the soil, clearing the air, sheltering your farms towns and and cities, greening your cemeteries, ranging over mountains and ringing lakes.

We lovingly watch your children grow from infants to adults, we witness with affection the growth and development of your grandchildren and great grandchildren.

We can show you what patience is.

A tree’s home

I am perfectly attuned to my chosen patch of Earth, my rooted place, my real estate, my home. I’ve gone all-in, set up camp, sent my roots deep, made a commitment.

I may be here longer than the longest human lifespan, so I must make my peace with my choice of growing site, make the best of it, learn to love it.

Grandmother Cottonwood, winter

To survive I must be flexible with the changes happening around my patch of earth and sky. If I am brittle and rigid, I might snap in two during a heavy windstorm, losing limbs right and left.

To survive, my roots must reach deep, for shallow roots would not hold my weight or counterbalance my majestic limbs, and I would topple in weather conditions that would undermine and weaken me.

I have made my stand, sent down roots, taken my place among the community of trees, knowing my interconnections with all the living beings of this place – those who rely on sunlight, water, earth, and air for their lives.

Grandmother Cottonwood, summer

Whatever happens, I stand strong and tall. I carry out my purpose; reach to the light and root to the Earth, my home.

Message from a tree

Stop awhile on your hike, your walk to work or school, lean against my trunk, absorb my loving energy. I have much to give.

I share my strength, my shade, my beauty with you. You can trust my solidity. My roots anchor me securely. I will not wobble or fall, back away or collapse as you lean your full weight against me. I am here for you, a sure presence.

Grandmother Cottonwood

I share my loving energy with you. What you might call my love is all encompassing. It does not question or expect or judge, it simply radiates like joy from the core of my being, embracing and enriching and interweaving with the entire web of life.

I share my tree wisdom with you. I have weathered many storms, many cold winters, droughts, floods, beating summer suns, loss of limbs, nearby construction projects that have felled many of my companion trees, yet I endure and thrive. I continue to send my roots into the earth for nourishment and reach my branches to the light life-giving sunlight.

Hackberry bark

Those of you who pay attention with your heart and your 5 senses can learn from the trees. You might learn patience in the face of change. You might learn endurance in all seasons, all weather conditions, You might discover a new way to think about unconditional love.

You might learn that to be strong and stable you must develop deep roots and connect with Earth energy. You might learn how to gracefully claim and take up the space that is yours and spread your branches to the light, because it is your birthright.

You can learn much from a tree. Trust, root deep, love, endure.

Like a tree

Like a tree you can send down your roots and draw energy and nourishment from the earth, trusting in your ability to feed your body, live in the light, and anchor your spirit.

Like a tree, you can grow toward the light, straight and true, with no deviation to the left or right, trusting in the life-giving light of your true purpose to guide you and inform your growth.

Like a tree, you can reach out toward the heavens, connecting with all that is, trusting that you are one with all things, trusting that your roots will hold you.

Like a tree, you can send out new growth, trusting in the process of life to bring you energy, creativity, and soaking in the sustenance of light that is your birthright.

Like a tree, you can develop your seeds for the future and scatter them when they’re ready. Trust that these seeds of love, kindness, connection, hope, seeds of possibility and creativity and ongoing life will take root and grow where they are most needed.

Maple seeds

Like a tree, you can experience seasons of rest, seasons of regeneration and growth, seasons of letting go, trusting in the great rhythms of nature, trusting you are where you need to be.

You are more like a tree than you can imagine!

Patient like a tree

Can you be patient like a tree?

Can you stand steadfast when the storms rage? Can you set forth leaves blossoms and fruit when the season is right?

DSCN5031 (480x640)

Grandmother Cottonwood, dormant

Can you let go of the old, the superfluous, last year’s leaves when they no longer feed your heart and soul? Can you rest and sleep and pull your attention inward during the long winter, gathering strength for the growth to come?

Can you feel the magnetic pull of mother earth in your roots, allowing them to be pulled into the soil and subsoil so you will be anchored deeply to your home? No matter how high and wide your reach, your deep roots will keep you secure through all seasons and all weather.

Can you allow your branches and leaves to reach and turn to the sun, to soak up and absorb the life giving light and warmth? These precious gifts are freely given to you!  They are your birthright!

When you stand tall and steadfast, when you live according to your life’s rhythms, you bless this earth with your presence; you know you belong here, a vital element in life’s tapestry. You will endure!

Healing with a tree

When despair or sadness come over you, take a walk – find a tree and sit at her roots, lean against her trunk.

DSCN5031 (480x640)

Grandmother Cottonwood, morning sunlight

Now see yourself rooted deeply to the earth. Nothing can topple you. You are flexible and you sway gracefully with the wind, safely and securely anchored.

With the tree’s help, you can release the feelings that drag you down, and know yourself as a powerful being!

Let the despair, the fear, the grief you feel drain into the sweet earth where these energies will be transmuted, neutralized, and healed. Let your feeling be carried down into the earth on your out breath, through the trees roots – for your energies intermingle and become one.

Now imagine breathing earth energy up into your roots and bringing it into your lower body. Allow it to fill you with its calming and peaceful frequency. Allow the gentle tree energy to clear and renew you.

Now with your roots firmly planted, let your energy rise and expand with the trunk, branches and crown, taking in the sunlight and joy of living in this place at this time. Divine energy will fill your being as you allow it to pour through you.

Know the peace, solidity, awareness, and love of your chosen tree. Breathe healing energy from above and below as you merge and experience for a few moments what it feels like to be a column of light, rooted to the earth and reaching to the heavens.

Commitment

2013-01-01 00.00.00-83

Grandmother Cottonwood, evening sunlight

Sending down roots is making a commitment to life! I commit to this life, to this place and time, for the seasons, years and decades I’m blessed to live. My roots reach deep and wide. My roots and presence are my pledge of participation and involvement in the here and now – in the life of our beloved earth.

I take what I need from the earth and the atmosphere. I feed and sustain myself and allow the development and unfolding of my being from a tiny seed. I do not need to give myself permission to take the sustenance I need. My existence is permission enough. I am here to expand into my life’s design and purpose.

If a choice was possible, I would choose once again to be what I am now. I am blessed in this life to send my roots deeply into the soil and raise my branches and leaves, to scatter my seeds proudly.

In my home, a wooded margin at the head of a grassy flood plain, I make a commitment to live with my whole being, my entire spirit, to send my roots deeper and wider each year so I might know my part in this exquisite web of life and add my unique tone to the harmony of all that is.

Have faith, spring is coming

2016-01-07 12.03.03

Little snow monkey

Hang on, winter weary humans, spring is coming! In the meantime, don’t wish your life away! Have faith like my roots that reach deep into the soil below the place where ice and cold and snow can touch them – deep into the warm dark earth, our home.

Have faith and trust that all is well! Behind the heavy cloud cover is the blue sky, beneath the snow, the grass waits, beneath the dead leaves and frozen soil, all manner of living things sleep, ready for the return of the sun.

Do not despise this time of year. Do not hate your circumstances. Do not live in the future imagined sunny day; for when you live in the fantasies of your mind, you negate the only thing that really matters, your most precious gift, the present moment!

You make yourself powerless when you live only in your head! It is your body and heart that live here and now. Find a way to fully inhabit your body, for then you will find true joy. Find something to take pleasure in each day, even if the snow lies until June!

You have been given a treasured gift- life here on earth. Use it wisely