Journal

Education | Inspiration | Earth Love

The Truth of Trees

mythic quest shamanic healing Sep 05, 2020
 

For the past few summers, I have received a calling, an invitation, to return to the forests of California to reconnect with the trees and land I grew up with. Every year my mind would fill with excuses from the ego-self: too crazy an idea, not enough time, too far, too expensive. This August the mythic call was so magnified that it was impossible to obscure with any logical reasoning. The old growth Redwoods and native California trees called, I must go, and it must happen now. 

I went back and forth on how much to plan out, and how much to leave to the Call of Spirit. The California wildfires ultimately decided for me, as one of my bookings was evacuated and others were at the unfolding mercy of the elements. I loaded up my car Chamak with camping stuff and food, let Spontaneity take the driver's seat, and embarked on an unprecedented solo road trip.

The first part of the journey unfurled on a route bound for the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. When I unexpectedly drove through my first grove of Redwoods, I experienced a feeling being instantly transported into the Realm of the Known. I simultaneously couldn't make sense of where I was and how I got here, but I knew that I had been here before.

The sense of euphoric timelessness was accentuated by the magnificence of the setting. Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest living being in planet Earth, and when they cluster together, only the smallest shafts of sunlight can dance on the forest understory. And the understory is verdant with so many layers of plants, flowers, wildlife, and moss, which co-exist peacefully. In old growth forests, it is said that some species of animals and plants only know life a couple hundred of feet above the earth.

How could one possibly absorb all this divine beauty?

I took a few days to be with different groves along the Northern California coast. I had come with ideas of ceremonies of communion, but when I was there, all I desired was just to be in the presence of my very ancient friends. To visit, to lean against their trunks, to lie on any fallen giants. To live in nature time, with no agenda, where time stretches & bends. To listen to the quiet wisdom that was palpable in every corner of the forest.

The Redwoods have this special knowing from standing in Truth for their entire existence of thousands of years. To be with this community was to be in a vast field of unconditional love as the ancient groves embraced & accepted me into their midst.

Stay as long as you can, they said, and take us with you when you leave. When you come back, whether in-person or in-journey, we will remember you and welcome you backWe are your tribe and you are ours.

The next part of my quest took me to the ecological Golden Cup Homestead* in the mountains of Ukiah. The property houses a smattering of redwoods, many live oaks and douglas firs, and a few manzanitas. But the showstoppers are the madrones - kin with so so much personality. Madrones are apparently not bound by any rules to grow vertically, or grow in any perceivable pattern, as far as one could see. Rather they curve and bend and twist towards each other and the sky and the earth. Madrones also engage in elaborate rituals of shedding their bark, and during August their discarded papery skin can be found everywhere.

I glamped on this property in the sweetest of domes. The dome had clear plastic windows behind the bed, so the trees were the first beings I saw in the morning and the last beings I saw before going to bed. And these playful friends carried a different message from the majestic Redwoods.

In their light-hearted way, they asked me for the Truth. They asked me to face up to what I wasn’t willing to. These honest and shedding trees were holding up a mirror and asking, encouraging really, that I do my part. Could I really say I loved trees & call them by best friends if I couldn’t love myself as reverently? Surely in the woods of unconditional and endless love was a place to remove some armor and touch the vulnerable and hidden places inside.

So I did. In that safe space, I took off the cloak of old hurts. I wiggled out of the layers of ancient pain. I shone my heart open. I remembered that I was, indeed, created from the same love of the Divine Mother. That which I adored about trees I could also adore about myself. That which I adored about trees, I could also adore in others, particularly those I tended to harden up around.

In the forest I remembered the teachings of sat-chit-anand, or truth-consciousness-bliss. The sentient beings were the representation of truth through the portal of my consciousness. The end prize was supreme bliss. I could choose to get bogged down in the illusions of life, or I could lighten the load and live in the higher consciousness of the primal sphere. I could value my incarnation in this lifetime and be a Beacon of Bliss. The ripples of Truth and Bliss within me would surely flow into the world in which I was in integral member.

When I spoke with my mum during this retreat, she said she had been remembering me when reflecting on a stanza in her daily reading of the Bhagavad Gita. She read me the translation: For, I am the substratum of the imperishable Brahma, of immortality, of the eternal Dharma of unending immutable bliss. Sat-chit-anand.

The endearing synchronicity of these teachings provided more fuel for this quest of love. I could, with the trees bearing witness, surrender & trust in the metaphysical unfolding of my life.

 

 

 

* The land I stayed on in Ukiah was stewarded by the most generous and committed family: Adoración, Clark, and Xavier. I found a home of boundless love in their hearts, emulating that of the land they so carefully tended to and cared for. 

 Inspirations:

  • The Overstory by Richard Powers
  • On Being Podcast on The Intelligence of Plants with Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Awaken & Rebalance Yourself & Our World Through Feminine Alchemy Course with Ariel Spilsbury

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