Have you ever had a moment where you stopped dead in your tracks and all your senses came alive, heart fluttering as you look around to ask “what was that?”
This morning, in the crisp fall air, I was walking alone. in the forest noticing how wonderful it felt to breathe the clean, fresh air, to feel the sun on my face and to have nowhere to be, and nothing in particular to do. That is certainly a rarity for me, and as I was sinking into deep gratitude for the moment, I stopped suddenly. It was as if my feet were made of lead and I couldn’t take one more step forward…I was anchored in place. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t alarming, it just got my attention. I looked up through the bare trees to the blue sky overhead and that’s when I felt them.
I felt the trees.
I felt the depth of their roots as they descended deep into the earth to support the journey towards the sun.
I felt the strength of their trunks as they supported the branches and boughs.
I felt the raw vulnerability of their nakedness as their foliage re-nourishes the earth at their roots.
I felt the audacity of their authenticity.
And I wept where I stood. A beautiful wave of emotion came over me as I became one with the trees.
I felt my own roots connected to Mother Earth.
I felt the strength of my body, mind and Spirit as I looked towards Father Sky.
I felt the raw vulnerability as I was stripped bare of all illusions of separateness, layers of ego, wants, needs, attachments and expectations.
As I stood there, I felt, in my place of knowing, that it is only without those very things that I embody my authentic essence.
We cannot BE one, without the other. Authenticity and Vulnerability go hand in hand.
Trees have it figured out.
A seed makes no noise as it grows. It doesn’t complain when it pushes through the dirt or when it gets trampled by careless passerbys. It quietly heals. It quietly adapts. It quietly continues its journey to the sun.
A tree doesn’t fuss or discriminate over who finds rest on its branches, a home in its boughs, shelter in its bark, comfort in its shade, or nourishment in its fruit, buds and blossoms. All are welcome.
A tree doesn’t fear losing its leaves as the season changes. It releases with grace and ease showing us how beautiful change can be. It welcomes the vulnerability that comes with transformation.
A tree doesn’t worry about its survival through the depths of winter. It pulls its energy within sending all that is needed into its roots, preparing, spreading and growing below the surface as it anticipates the season of growth ahead. It maintains its faith that the sun will return, and the cycle of life will carry on.
A tree bends and moves with the winds, flexible to the weather and the storms. It knows that if it resists, it will break. It also knows that sometimes breaks are necessary for new growth, and that’s okay too.
A tree welcomes play at all ages and loves to celebrate life with its leaves and branches dancing in the wind loving its uniqueness and authenticity.
A tree cleanses, purifies and produces perfect oxygen to support all of creation. And it doesn’t brag about it.
A tree makes great noise when it falls – in celebration that it’s journey isn’t over. For there is new life, new purpose in its death. It’s branches, boughs, limbs, trunk and roots will still be a home and shelter for many. It’s decaying body will be food for the birds and insect kingdoms and nourishment for the soils. The environment it creates will allow for the vibrant growth of moss, fungus, plants and even it’s own seedlings that will one day stand tall, strong, vulnerable and authentic in their own beauty.
A tree knows that its existence matters. It grows for its own journey AND it serves all along the way.
Indeed, trees have it figured out.
As I stood there, rooted in place, breathing in the gift of the trees, I heard the trees say:
“I AM you and you are me.”
And I felt that.
I AM you and you are me.