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30 Days with a Madrona - Day 2

I woke too early in the birthing soft light of predawn. Because the campaign was just starting, I had to go on the computer right away for a half hour or so. Starting the day that way made me feel disjointed and jangled, a state I carried with me along the half hour walk to the Madrona.

I lay my body against her smooth trunk and did an exercise I call “tree breathing.” It is a way I greet a tree and a way to settle my energy down if I need it. It takes six breaths. The first three you breathe up from the earth through your body and out your heart into the tree in a full cycle. This lets the tree know who you are and what the condition of your emotional state is. And as trees absorb our energy like food they can take our disharmonious feelings away. The next set of three breaths you go the opposite direction, drawing upwards from the tree and into you through your heart then down your body into the earth. A cycle of breaths.

Try this cycle, three breaths up and three breaths down. You may find as I did in that moment your heart settling down a bit. I lay on the ground and looked up through the winding paths of limb and leaf, the sinuousness of madrona arms stretching toward the sun. I had to continuously settle my mind back from its jangled computer thoughts. Be here. Tree reality. Lying on earth.

And slowly I came back into my body and let my eyes and imagination just float with the tree limbs reaching for the sky. I began to wonder if part of our mind sometimes NEEDS to just watch clouds, to watch tree limbs swaying, to watch light flickering on restore itself. We aren't meant to be doing beings so much…rather we should let our being be our doing more. The tree reminded me that. Being more.

And looking up through the limbs, I found myself in a reverie about receiving. I saw that the tree was receiving and giving continuously in balance. Receiving nutrients and water from the soil. Receiving the carbon dioxide of exhaling mammals, receiving the energy of the sun, and giving shelter to animals, food to insects, giving oxygen to us…all in balance. Never depleted, like we do to ourselves as we work, as we give in a way that leaves little in reserve. We often need to go off somewhere and restore, if we do at all.

After an hour with the tree, Dolly Parton dog led me down to the beach where it so happened that Jo, tree medicine sister and team member on this project, was sitting meditating and she had been reflecting on the art of emptying, of emptying the mind. And that reflected back to my revelation of the tree in its giving and receiving in harmony, in balance. That to empty ourselves first allows us to receive the energy and support we need which leads to giving, which leads to emptying, leading to receiving. A cycle…That is what the tree breathing exercise was doing and I hadn’t realized it.

I could hear the computer calling, this new world of tweets and instagrams and facebooks and blogs and emails for the trees..."Want to go swimming?" Jo asked. The sun beckoned like a siren over the sea. Being more. Tree tweeting could wait...

So ended my first morning with the Madrona. I have decided to hold tree hours, one hour in the morning and one in the evening as I can every day for the remaining 29 days. Empting, receiving, giving…

Day 1 haiku

Roots unseen hold us The winds of the world come, go... Calm, sway, no effort

Check out the What's Your Treestory? campaign here.

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