Day 14 - One Breath a day
I shuttle between two worlds daily. The world of Doings, magnetized to a computer and the strange world of social media as I run the campaign for TreeStory. And the world of Being with the tree, a place where the senses are prominent, where dogmind and tree mind and my essential mind meet in a great quieted silence.
When I am with Madonna, my body goes through a period of adjustment. At first, I feel myself essentially leaning forward as if trying to rise away from my body. My breathing is shallow. It is the planning mind, the worrying mind, the future mind that forms into habitual patterns inside the body. An out of body experience. Too much of it is harmful to me, to others and to nature. So I breathe with the tree and feel myself slowly, slowly, settle back in. From the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system. From beta brain wave to alpha. From stressed to relaxed.
I remember this feeling from a pilgrimage across Spain when I walked part of the Camino de Santiago a few years ago. I noticed how often I was subtly hurrying forward in my body, trying to be somewhere else. Luckily there was nothing to do day after day but walk. It took three or four days to overcome the unconscious leaning forward out of my body. But eventually I shifted back in my body and walked. I lifted my heart and gaze up to meet the world. I walked more slowly and felt a deeper kindness toward myself and others permeate my body.
A similar effect is happening to me with the tree. When I arrive, I have to do conscious practice of attunement. I first feel my body against the tree. I breathe my energy down into its roots. I lift my heart up and engage my senses. Time becomes more timeless.
A friend of mine, a very talented counselor, Debrae Firehawk, once told me that a tree takes 24 hours to breathe one time. 12 hours of an in-breath, 12 hours of an out-breath. The average human breathes 23,040 times in one day. One breath a day compared to 23,040. Every day I come to Madonna she invites me in with the same opening message. Slow down.
It is why we pass trees by without a notice. It is why nature is becoming more and more a side thought, an afterthought to humans. We don’t have time for it. As we speed up, nature continues to breathe as it has always breathed. The trees hold space for us to come back. To remember. It is a slow, patient and determined calling.
I will say it over and over again. The primary purpose of this campaign is to ask people to slow down just a bit and notice or be with a tree every day. I think it will enhance awareness and presence in one’s life, improve health and sex life and help restore the balance between humans and nature.
Please slow down and be with a tree today.
Tree Haiku - Day 14 clouds held up by limbs swallows chase sweet spring delight no separation