Trimming Trees #givingthanks

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

It’s that time of year, again. At the end of the driveway, the machine is parked. The man who drives it has had to move it twice. First for my daughter on her way to class, then for my husband on his way to work. Each time the bucket descends and the engine roars back to life. It’s now blocking the entrance and exit, again. Parked at the end of the driveway it has better access to the maple whose branches are threading the electric wires.

Who was there first? It doesn’t matter. We humans have taken over time and place to claim them both as our own. I have been reading a lot of nonfiction these days. Books about the land and our relationship to it. Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer took much longer than its short length would insinuate. It was not an easy read, just like Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass was not. The words both beautiful and heart-wrenching, reminding us that we are a part of this living land. Stewards, if we choose to be, but always Earth’s children.

I can see the workers outside the dining room window. They lay their tools on the snow bank. A red metal can holding gasoline lifts to fill the chainsaw. I can hear its whine getting ready to work. I recall Sue Vincent once remarking, “I like to think of it as a haircut” when trees and bushes are being trimmed. Her comment was filled with empathy, but also reason. When we take away the guilt and the sorrow, we can move into the space of gratitude and abundance. Limbs grow back, just as hair does.

Yet, we also know that plants, in their own way sense pain. They send out warning signals to their neighbors when they are in danger. Their energy spikes into a wavelength that indicates panic. We cannot truly know what a tree feels. We can only guess. We can take scientific readings of chemical reactions. Infuse our own emotions upon their bodies.

And, we can always move into the space of gratitude and love. Science has shown us what we already know, that all life responds to love. And so I find myself residing with intention while the maple outside my window is getting its branches trimmed. I am thinking of the tree, but also of those tasked to trim it. They are both worthy of my love and gratitude. Working, in their individual ways, to support life. I am grateful it is winter here. The live force within the maple less active than during the growing season. Hibernation, I hope, is a type of anesthetic to the cut. And, perhaps, so is my love.

Another Morning Has Broken: Grow the Light #GivePraise #Gratitude

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I woke with the lyrics of the hymn playing  inside of my head in the voice of Judy Collins, even though I grew up listening to Cat Stevens singing “Morning has Broken.” I have not heard the song in years, but there it was, singing inside a mind that refused to fall back to sleep. In my dream, I had been writing this blog post while the beauty of the song played on repeat.

Before I went to sleep last night, I watched most of the U.S. democratic presidential debates. “Are they still on?” my son asked when he came downstairs in preparation for bed. He had suggested we watch them, and together we had for about an hour.

“Yeah, I told him, but they haven’t even gotten to the environment yet.”

“Maybe it’s not on the agenda topics,” my husband replied.

Instead, the focus was on healthcare and gun control. Two topics I will not deny are essential to individual wellbeing. But, if we don’t tend to the home we all share, we won’t have individual selves to care for. Eventually, the morning light will not break into a new day on Earth.

16-yr. old  Greta Thunberg is now famous for telling us, “Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, but I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”

The truth is, most of us are more concerned with our own houses, than the home we share. Neglecting to realize that our individual houses are irrelevant if we don’t take care of the planet. Simply put, our house will burn if we continue to ignore the fact that our collective home is literally on fire. Immense forests, the lungs of our Earth, are burning because of climate change. While the land burns, the waters are rising. In attempt to shake us awake, our home is self-destructing with our help.

I realized as I was waking this morning that the song playing on repeat through my dreams was not a song, literally, of mourning, but a hymn of praise to the new day. It is also, though, a praise for union and the truth that we are “born of one light.” The song is incredibly beautiful, and it is no wonder it has been sung by various artists throughout the years. It may have originated as a Christian hymn, but it has a universal appeal, as Cat Stevens, also known as Yusuf Islam, has shown us.

Although I don’t adhere to a religion, I believe that we are all birthed from the same light. A light that weaves through all life, including this living planet we call home. We have, collectively, over many years, but more so in the more recent past, worked more to break this light than to honor it and nurture it.

Science says we are creatures of habit. It can take an individual two weeks to a year to break an old habit and form a new one.  Sadly,  we have made a global habit of looking out more for the individual self than our selves as an integral part of the web-of-light/life that we are all a part of.

The other day, I watched a brief clip of Greta being interviewed by a morning show on a major network here in the U.S. She had just traveled to the states via a zero-emissions boat. As her visibly uncomfortable interviewers also pointed out, she has also walked to their studio.

It takes a fair amount of discomfort to welcome in a “new morning” in favor of the one we are used to greeting. It takes a stretching of the eyes and mind a little wider to really see what exists beyond our myopic field of perception. But, the rewards are infinite. Imagine, for a moment, a new morning breaking into day. Imagine your beautiful light weaving into the light around you. Imagine what you can bring to this new day.

Admittedly, most of us will not change all of our habits, and certainly not at once. I know I am not ready to give up travel by plane to sail across the ocean, but there are choices I can make in each moment to dim the light, or to grow it. Here are a few that we can all consider each morning after we wake:

  • Skip the K-cups or the Dunkins run and brew a cup of fair trade, organic coffee or tea. (If you really want that Dunkins or Starbucks, bring your own reusable mug.
  • Gather a full load of laundry before starting the washer, and use warm (not hot) or cold water to wash. The next time you buy detergent, choose one free of harsh chemicals and dyes in the most environmentally friendly packaging you can find. Just say no to those hard plastic containers! If your washer kicks the bucket and can’t be fixed, buy an energy efficient one. When your load is done, hang it outside in the sunshine and save some money by using free, fossil-free energy! If you must dry it in the dryer, use an eco setting and wool dryer balls in favor of toxic non-reusable dryer sheets.
  • Likewise, run your dishwasher only when it is full on the energy-saver setting with eco-friendly detergent in eco-friendly packaging.
  • Make the choice to eat low on the food chain, and finish what is on your plate. If you can’t eat it all, save it for another meal. Compost what you must discard. Grow what you can, or buy it locally and organic.
  • Water the lawn only if you really need to, and tend to it with organic lawn care. Better yet, grow more plants and trees that don’t require maintenance and nourish your body, wildlife, and the lungs of Earth in the process.
  • Carpool to work or school in the most low-emissions vehicle available. Or, better yet, walk or ride a bike when the weather permits it.
  • Skip the hair dryer, iron, and curler, even if it’s just only weekends.
  • Unplug appliances that are not in use.
  • Turn off lights and heat in unoccupied rooms. (And when they are in use, make sure your using the most eco-friendly options available to you).
  • Support local business and farmers who are working on, or using, sustainable practices for the planet.
  • Invest your money in the future rather than the immediate pleasure of instant gratification.
  • Teach your children that caring for their planet will ensure they have a planet to care for them.
  • If you want to add a child or a pet to your home, consider rescuing one from a life of poverty and homelessness.
  • Wear your clothes until you can wear them no more, then use them as rages, make something new out of them, or donate them to someone who can use them.
  • Buy local. Buy eco-friendly. Buy used. Buy only what you need. Use a reusable bag to put your purchases in.
  • Support zero-emissions energy sources whenever you are able to.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. Turn down the water when you shower.
  • Skip the plastic whenever possible. Use refillable containers. Buy zero-waste products. Remember most of our waste is no longer recycled, and when it is, it takes large amounts of energy to do so.

And, most of all, breathe in the beauty of each morning. Breathe in joy and gratitude for the new day. Breathe in light and Breathe it back out. Imagine a new day where devastation is replaced with joy. Take at least one action each day to co-create another morning for all.

 

Flying into Fear #dream symbolism

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It was an interesting night in the world of dreams. A night filled with a whole lot of flying, but for a very apparent reason. To fly into my fears. It seems my mind had decided to show me every fear I am holding onto at the moment, while my soul decided, you’re ready, let’s go. 

There is that saying that you see all over the place, “Whatever you fear most, do it.” Sometimes, for practical purposes, we simply should not do what we fear most. Say, for example, we harbor an intense fear of fire and being burned. Should we really step into a furnace? Probably not if we don’t want to seriously harm our physical bodies. What, though, of the metaphorical furnace?

If we examine the roots of our fears, we can arrive at a greater awareness of self. Sometimes what we fear can seem irrational until we realize why we are harboring it. An intense fear of being burned alive might lead us to a past life in Pompeii. Whereas an over-whelming aversion to speaking in crowds might point us back to circumstances in this lifetime when we were rejected for speaking our truths. There is always an origin to our fears, and it is worth exploring the roots if we want to heal and release that which is holding us back from living fully.

Fears lead to growth, when we allow them to. When we open the door to our fears and fly into them, examining all their nuances as we face them head-on, we can discover the core of our being. We are not here to live small, wrapped in the cloaks of protection that are so easy to don when life presents us with defining moments.

In each moment, we have a choices. We can live in stasis, or we can allow the true self to spread wide our wings and fly. Recently, I have made two choices that I would have shirked in the past. At the end of the month I will be vending at a local Paracon fair, where I will be promoting my new visionary fantasy series for kids and teens, Warriors of Light, and its companion teachings. This takes me out of my comfort zone, but instead of being afraid, I’m filled with excitement.

Next month, I’ll be flying across the pond. My soul is calling me back again to a place that feels like home, but for different reasons than my previous visits. In what might appear like a whim of fancy, there is wrapped within a nest of fears that I have decided to unweave. I have, over my years of self-investigation, discovered that it is not easy for me to receive. As I work with the truth that “I am worthy,” I have begun to allow myself to accept the hands that extend in offer to me. There doesn’t, I have come to realize, have to be a string attached to it, just an open-hearted gratitude to receive the gifts of love.

I have been so utterly amazed by the out-pouring of love that is offered when the heart is open to receive. It is a huge obstacle to overcome when one is used to conditions. Yet, so wonderful to free the tethered heart and fly into trust. I don’t know what I will meet in the hills of Cumbria standing among its ancient stones, but so many hands have extended their offers of love to help lead me there. My husband and children, who without even batting an eyelash, have accepted that I will be gone for a few days. My mother-in-law, who has offered to clear her schedule to be with the teenagers, should they need her, and the pets. And, once again I am amazed, humbled and filled with gratitude for dear friends who live in the land of Albion, some of whom I have only known for a few years. It is one thing to accept the offers of one’s family, it is quite another to accept those of friends and strangers. Yet, I have come to realize how much love there really is in the world. How much abundance housed within our hearts.

So, I am flying into my fears, literally and metaphorically, and instead of trepidation, I feel joy, excitement, and a wellspring of gratitude for all the hands that are lifting me into flight.

What are the fears that are holding you back from flying into joy? Perhaps it’s worth taking a moment of self-reflection and examination to discover what is weighing you down at this moment. Release is often much easier than you might expect.