The We of a Tree: A Story

Photo on 2018-03-29 at 6.48 AM #2

Often, when I do yoga here, at home, on the seventh floor of our building, I wish I was closer to the ground, so that I could feel the earth below me, rather than sort of hovering over it – grounding is so important for everyone, especially “airy, in-the-head” people like me! But today, after a particularly intense practice, I was lying on my back at the end, and suddenly a vivid image came to me, of the six “layers” of people below me, and we were sort of forming the trunk of a tree, so that the nourishment of the ground was coming straight up though this “tree of people”, supporting me, my life, my journey, and I was also receiving, from the sky, and this was flowing right back down through everyone back to the ground. We were a tree, the spine of a human body, connected, working together. I was such a beautiful lesson.

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Remembering and Forgetting

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The art of remembering, and forgetting … like all binaries, it has to be all about balance. We don’t want to remember so much that our entire world becomes a recreation of a past that doesn’t exist anymore, so that we become incapable of living in the present moment. But we don’t want to forget so much that we lose the context for our being, the heart and bones of our ancestry that fills our vessel with so much of what makes us who we are. We don’t want to cling to what has caused us pain and give this too much potency, nor to an overwhelming nostalgia for a time we will never have back and that never quite existed. But we don’t have or want to condemn ourselves to being completely unmoored, either. We can allow ourselves to be rooted in the nurturing ground that gave rise to us without being indebted to every detail of our history. We can work toward finding freedom within the form or shell that is the life we came in to. We can work toward honouring the past and finding it it the many valuable and necessary lessons for a more hopeful future while working our hearts out to cultivate, forge, pioneer, and create the unimaginable gift of an open life for ourselves.

Finding Heart

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Maybe I’ve been looking
at the wrong things,
and for too long,
and in places not meant
for our communion.
Maybe there’s not
so far to go, to do things
like watch every flower grow,
the seasons come and go.
Maybe this is where
we find the time we fear
is running away from us,
while we’ve been fleeing, madly,
in every direction from here.
I want to watch every creature
take their first breath this world,
see the fledgling growth,
the wide-eyed wonder,
the absorption of everything
we will choose to give it.
I want to sit outside
and watch wind become rain,
and sun become life.
I want to feel with my fingers
how trees age with grace
and how the earth
harbors seed and root,
which provide so much.
I want to witness
the life cycle of a cicada,
and contemplate eternity
flowing in the breath of their
short-lived song,
and marvel at perspective.
I want to be so still
that I can hear
every heartbeat at once,
loving and doubting,
in honour and in strife,
from beginningless
to never-ending time,
giving everything,
needing only this.

Tomorrow

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t has never been the same,
but still we have fallen into
our comforts, taken to the belief
that things get better, that
there is a sheen on the horizon,
which is always, deliciously, ahead,
and if we stopped here, maybe,
in the playground of our versed hopes
and our deepest wisdom,
our steps would graze the ground
lighter, a golden future we’d make
from the firm beingness of now.
But what of the other side,
the way we turn to the past,
not with our bare feet on holy ground,
but with our eyes turned inward,
fixed on an object that never, really, is?
The happy-laced, the moments receding,
buried so in a fortress of our love and
desire, that it changes colours, hardens
and turns without our ever knowing,
and we intuit that we must leave
them where they are, but
we build altars and shrines
around them, with our tenderness
but also our fear, for we know
that in their unveiling, there would
be a disappearance, and a shudder
would pass through us, like lightning,
as though nothing remained, as
though we were not here, blood
and bone and hope on sacred
ground, still moving toward
the beckoning hues of tomorrow.