This is my third deep dive with White Pine in about as many years and as is always the case with the plant spirits my relationship with her continues to deepen.
This moon cycle felt like an initiation, a call to actively embody all the wisdom that I have remembered over the years on this Soulflower journey—to actually stand up tall and voice my truth and my understandings of the world around me.
“It’s time,” said White Pine. “It’s time.”
And so it is mud season here in Maine, the season right before Spring arrives, and each day as I walk in the woods I am overcome with the magic and beauty of Nature awakening. The smell of the damp soil, the droplets of water caught on the end of Hawthorn thorns, the busyness of the birds and the swelling buds on the trees all celebrating the return of the warmth and the turning of the wheel of the seasons.
Recently, on one such walk, I was reminded of a profound experience I had with White Pine a few years ago. Surrounded by Nature’s beauty and perfection I had stopped to admire the beautiful reflections of the tall White Pines in an expansive mud puddle at my feet. My heart full I said out loud, “Mother Nature, sweet Mother Earth, mood-enhancer, prospective-giver, healer, heart-opener. How can I serve you?”
Loud and clear, arising from within, I immediately heard, “Learn to see the same beauty and perfection in yourself that you see in me.”
It was the most amazing a-ha moment as the truth of this simple statement resonated through my body, and...it was also a simultaneous wake-up call to all the ways I was not aligned with this wisdom.
I saw clearly how I didn’t extend the same love and care to myself that I extended to all others in my life. Not even when my body was screaming at me that something was out of alignment.
I wouldn’t dream of giving my dog candy bars or dowsing my flowers in insecticides, so why would I eat food that made me feel crappy or take drugs that suppressed and masked the underlying health issues (mental, emotional and physical) that my body was trying to communicate with me? All good questions of course...and it was (and is) extremely hard not to go to a place of judgment in considering.
In fact, with much digging and brutal self-honesty, I eventually came to realize that the entirety of my self-care practice, which I thought was well established, was only shallowly rooted in the poor soil of wounded obligation and stemmed from me trying to fix all that I perceived to be wrong with me, rather than the tender loving care I deserved.
In that singular moment I remembered myself as fully Earth and I was asked to honor myself and my body as such.
That was the beginning of a journey I am still on today, where every moon cycle, every plant spirit deep dive, I come to deeper and deeper levels of understanding of myself and my life and the interconnection of all life of which I am a part.
And so this moon cycle, I’m sure it was no coincidence, that I was invited to share the wisdom I have remembered through my lived experience as a guest teacher in the amazing Deb Soule’s (www.avenabotancals.com) course, The Healing Garden.
Let me tell you, the process of showing up in front of so many people and speaking my truth, my understandings, was quite the initiation! I had to lean heavily on White Pine to support me and to help me embody and share all that I have remembered.
Most of all I had to remember to just be myself, that I can deeply trust my inner knowing and that living wisdom is every bit as valuable a credential as book or learned wisdom.
And so on this healing journey, what I have remembered and wish to share in no particular order of importance is as follows:
In other words, your wise heart and soul knows exactly the next baby step that will lead you in the direction of your highest good and greatest growth. This is the full acceptance and responsibility for your own healing journey.
There is no expert, no doctor, no teacher, no guru, no politician and no outside system or structure that will magically be able to make everything “right” in your life...no matter what sales pitch is used!
We have been conditioned from a very early age to think that if we just apply the correct formula that everything will be perfect AND if it is not perfect, well...YOU must be doing something wrong.
This is disempowerment of the individual and our heart’s inner knowing where we constantly second guess ourselves and abdicate our sovereignty to an outside authority.
I am not saying that we refrain from seeking outside help or that we have to do everything alone—I am saying that the healing journey (and life itself) is not some controllable, predictable process. It’s messy! And your journey is unique to you. You are your own expert and once you recognize that, you become a creative ally and empowered partner with your body, and with life, rather than always fighting to control what is essentially uncontrollable.
You cannot win, outsmart or fight life. In the Universe, everything is always moving, always growing and changing and what Nature shows me is a natural, divinely intelligent, dynamic tendency towards homeostasis. Your body, your life, all life is always moving towards “balance” naturally. We are not so special that the laws of the Universe do not apply to us!
We are only just beginning to comprehend the enormity of the power of our thoughts, our words, and our actions to affect our individual experiences and the collective and, outside of the controlled conditions of a laboratory, all bets are off.
Nature, Mother Earth, is the most benevolent, wise teacher there is though and for sure she is chuckling at our immature arrogance that we know best.
Our bodies, just like Nature’s larger biomes and ecosystems, are always showing us where we are out of balance and what needs our loving attention.
We are not separate from each other or the Earth and using our minds, cause and effect thinking, battle mentality and our stubborn will to navigate our lives will only get us so far. Like any relationship, in order for there to be a lasting and loving connection, there has to be give and take, we have to go deep.
Of course, if you cut yourself, you know the source of the seering pain, but...and this is where you have to go deep...what was distracting you so that the universe had to get your attention? Where were your thoughts?
Or, without going to a place of victimhood, what deeply held beliefs are unconsciously causing your head to throb? In my case, it took many years to unwind the stories that I was unlovable unless I made choices that were socially acceptable, and the depth and scope of that awareness and understanding is still unfolding. As is the unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion for my humanness...for all of our humanness...as we learn and grow into the next highest and the next highest version of ourselves. Which brings me to #4.
Honestly, it is a rare person that doesn’t deeply believe that life is hard, a struggle even. You only have to look at all the pain and suffering in the world to see this truth...and again, we are drip fed this story from an early age.
What if we believed that life was a gift, a blessing bestowed upon us so that we could experience the world of form and get to know ourselves and each other better?
What if life was not something to be won or conquered? What if all of life was simply conspiring to help us grow?
Life is heart work, not hard work.
This is the work I call tending the garden of your soul. It is the curiosity, humility, patience and courage to lovingly open to and discover the why within everything we experience, and in so doing build a deeper relationship with yourself, with all of life.
Understanding yourself is the work of your lifetime, your heartswork, your purpose.
This is a huge reframe that means we can no longer blame life, or our lot in life, for our experiences. It means that everything arises for you—even the really painful, challenging bits.
We are truly just like complicated houseplants, and our wise bodies—which hold the divine intelligence of Earth, as Earth—are simply asking us to remember this truth so that we come into right relation with ourselves, so that we can remember ourselves whole and perfect in every moment, just as we are.
And isn’t that what we all want? Peace?
We are so absorbed in figuring everything out, fighting change and controlling life that we have forgotten the peace that can be found in every present moment. That singular moment where we stop all our doing and just take a deep, life-supporting breath.
Our nervous systems are in a permanent “fight or flight” state. In all our doing we have forgotten the simple practice of how to be. And who better to teach us, to remind us how to be, than the incredible trees. Their collective loving, calm, meditative presence silently watches over us as we hustle around our busy lives.
I lean up against the strong, straight trunk of White Pine and let her support me, let her hold me. I breathe in deeply remembering the oxygen that is her gift (one of many) to me and exhale deeply in reverence and gratitude, my simple offering to her.
What is actually happening? Right now?
In my imagination White Pine carries me high up into her canopy so that when I look down I can see how small, how insignificant my human worries and fears are.
What does it matter how many people I have to speak in front of? Who cares if I don’t have degrees and certification letters after my name, if I fumble my words or lose my train of thought or who likes me or who doesn’t? I deeply trust my inner knowing, and that is all that matters.
And that peace, that trust, that security that I feel...that is what I want to share with others. That is what I desire us all to remember—the perfection of life and the Divine intelligence of Nature of which we are all a part.
I am fully Earth and fully Soul and I am exactly where I am meant to be.
This practice is sacred gardening and I tend to it daily, some days better than others of course, but I return again and again to my heart and my deep belief that caring for myself in this way, taking responsibility for all my thoughts, words and actions and all my choices in how I live my life is the best way to care for this beautiful planet I call home.
So take a moment if you feel called to send gratitude to White Pine, and to Mother Earth, for her wisdom that you embody as you awaken and remember that you are worthy of your highest hopes and dreams in this amazing life.
May your next steps, even your next breath, be the baby step you need in this moment to tend to the garden of your soul. And if you feel like sharing in the journey with other like-hearted women doing the same, do join us in the Soulflower CommUNITY Garden.
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Perceiving a different relationship with our bodies and our world. There is nothing like pain to help us understand what it means to be present and in this dense world of the physical, pain is a most powerful teacher. Have you seen the thorns on a Hawthorn tree?