The wild winds of change and storms overhead, this weeks #treeteaching and #forestbathing #meditation is about connecting with ourselves on a deeper level and learning how trees and woodland flowers weather the storms that we might do the same.
Below is the audio version of the blog article along with an audio forest bathing meditation.
This week I would like to start with the wise words from one of our members"
“Went out yesterday morning to see what damage had been done in my village. ...
It also struck me that these tiny, delicate little snowdrops sat through it all too and were still there looking just as beautiful in their resilience.
What I took from this is that you can be delicate and soft in the harshest of conditions but strong to your core.
I guess what I mean to say is when life treats you toughly the key is ... to stay soft ... not to toughen up ... but stay open hearted.” - AST member Rachel Gregory
I thought this lovely quote above was the perfect way to open this weeks’ tree teaching.
My heart sighs
At the thoughts in my head
Roaring over the rooftops, lashing down the lanes, whistling over the wild places. Trees heaving like muscles under fur. Broken boughs, brittle branches, snapped to tinder.
Breathing out, breathing in, limbs pushed down, and limbs lifted up.
The #wind hurled itself against the houses, screamed around the chimney pots, it lashed at the windows, and crashed against the walls.
It pressed down upon the trees with such immense pressure, flattening hope like ears against the head of a cornered animal, before lifting up entire woodlands threatening to throw them skywards.
Ruptured skies poured darkness down onto the earth, soot black like long dead fires.
I heard in the news that London had closed its parks for fear of falling trees. Did they also close the streets for fear of falling roof tiles?
I stood on a wild welsh hill once in a wild welsh storm. Facing into the force 9 gales and defying sudden gusts of fury to tip me downhill. Grounding myself by breathing deep down into my belly I faced down that wind. It blasted my face, I didn’t flinch, but leaned into it. It didn’t blow me away. It held me up.
These elemental forces that come and shake up our world and turn lives upside down speak nothing of humans. We batten down the hatches hoping our roof won’t blow off.
We speak of “gut feelings”. We are supposedly rational creatures governed by logical thought processes. Yet how often do #gutfeelings influence our choices? I find our culture interesting since we are often told that the #thoughts in our head are “wrong” and that we should be controlling them, which is all well and good but how many of these thoughts are the product of emotions and feelings? I have spoken of crow thoughts before. They come wheeling against the sky tumbling with with the wind. Have you ever tried to control the wind? What do you when you are caught out in a gale?
How often is it that you have a feeling and then tried to rationalise it with a thought? Try thinking about that for a while … you could be some time…
We are so logic centric that these ‘made up thoughts’ as I think of them can then go on to develop a story wholly and eventually unrelated to the original #truth of the feeling we started with. They become a poor description, if at all, to the truth felt in our bodies. No wonder then that we feel unhappy, stressed and depressed.
There is a whole side of our #nature that is intuitive, creative, intelligent, knowing and sensitive to the world around us, and full of feeling, that so often goes unacknowledged. There is also a whole world that lies unacknowledged because of how we have been conditioned to think. We are so often told not to feel, but to ‘get on with things’, and we learn more often than not that our feelings are not important.
Feelings are connections. How do you #love without feeling?
Sometimes, just sitting with what arises rather than attempting to explain and rationalise it is really helpful. You can’t always batten down the hatches, sometimes it is better to face the wind.
Trees have no choice but to face in to the wind. When we remain flexible like trees and the woodland flowers, we can bend with whatever #storms that come our way and though we may come out battered we are still alive and we still have the chance to grow and to live.
That bending and flexible nature of our soft animal bodies is part of being alive.
I really liked what Rachel said partly because of course flowers seem so soft and so vulnerable yet there they are there in bloom the very next day. In death things dry up and become hard and brittle and all colour drains away. How then do we retain our colours and aliveness? Desperately hard though it can be to remain open to what is happening around us, somehow it is necessary to avoid a hardening of the heart, #soul and our interior and exterior worlds.
Thinking of times in my own life where I have reached a point of despair, grief or anger it has only been when I am open to following these feelings down into my core that I begin to unravel them and see the truth of the situation. Resistance, in the end, only causes more suffering.
Sometimes storms, while appearing to have uprooted trees, clear the decks: whisking old leaves away and the deadwood and the black clouds looming overhead. They blow out and bring sunshine with them. Life is ever changing, nothing stays the same. The years roll by, the seasons change. In our core we too like trees have memories, our set of tree rings. We have our memories, but like Scarlet O'Haro in Gone With The Wind we know that "Tomorrow is another day".
As long as we are alive to beauty flowers will continue to bloom.
Amanda Claire x
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