Trees are so loving and so wise. On a recent hike I stopped to connect with some of my closest tree friends. A grove of oaks with a range of generations.
On this visit, I was solo. So I took my time and enjoyed the experience of being with them for awhile.
After focusing on my breath for several minutes, I felt my mind calming and my ability to receive increase. My feet started to get very warm (this happens to me often when I’m connecting with trees). I started feeling energy spiraling up through the ground, through my body and then opening, unfolding as it extended out from the top of my head, my crown chakra.
I was experiencing a canopy of energy.
While doing this, a few people hiked, ran, biked past me. I no longer feel self-conscious. And I imagine it appears like I’m simply looking at trees. Most people probably assume I’m a birder!
In this state of being both grounded and expansive I asked if one tree in particular, I call her Grandmother Oak, had a message for me.
Even though I felt relaxed, the message felt slow in coming. I readily admit there are days I don’t receive any message in the moment. Or I’m feeling too scattered or distracted or impatient and decide to say goodbye for now.
This day, I was perfectly content to simply stand there. Observing. Actively experiencing receptivity.
My gaze was drawn to a nearby young oak.
I started at the base of its trunk, and slowly observed all the way up into its canopy. I did this with several of the younger trees. And I noticed how tall and straight they are. How their trunks are relatively unblemished. And how little they branch out in any direction. How they’re accessing the shaft of light that’s available to them. Making the most of it. They’re on a straight and fairly narrow path. For now.
Then I observed the mid-aged oaks. With more character to their trunks, more substantial limbs with curves, a few hollows and scars. I saw the connection between their canopy and how much light is accessible to them. And how that light enables them to grow even more expansive.
Finally, I beheld Grandmother Oak. A tree I believe to be around 200 years old.
Her strong and gently twisting trunk, her sloughing bark, and how she displays decades and centuries of life experience.
It’s clear that many events have caused her damage, and it’s clear that she’s healed well and gone on living. Not just surviving but thriving.
Her great limbs radiate in all directions, outward, upward, downward. The amount of light she has available to her far surpasses that of her family members.
Her canopy is luxuriant, exuberant, radiant.
And as I was in this beautiful moment I could feel myself slipping on my naturalist hat.
There’s nothing wrong with this hat. I could feel my brain calling up facts about oaks, canopies, photosynthesis. My thoughts started traveling down known neural pathways. Going all scientific.
I could feel my naturalist hat constraining my expansiveness, my canopy, my natural wisdom, my connection to Source Energy.
So I observed that temptation and simply asked that part of myself to take a break. I released it for the time being. I’m happy to say that becomes easier the more you practice it.
Soon after I released my naturalist part, I received a flurry of visions/realizations about how the oaks’ ability to access more light is directly tied to challenging life experiences such as:
The injury, illness or death of a family member (after all, a grove of oaks is a family), which opens up shafts of sunlight and allows neighboring trees to expand.
Or, their own injury or illness, when whole limbs broke off and fell to the ground, opening up opportunity for other limbs to branch out in new directions.
Or, failures in areas they attempted to grow, but things weren’t quite aligned and naturally came to an end, making room for new growth.
As I received this knowing I understood that when we experience difficulties the greatest way to honor what has been lost is to choose to receive the newly available light, and to expand.
We can choose reflection and then choose growth. Not just to continue on the straight and narrow path, making due with the light that was previously available to us.
We can choose to see our greatest challenges as openings, as the opportunity to receive an amount and type of light unlike anything we’ve yet had available to us.
The beautiful quote from Mizuta Masahide came into my mind:
“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.”
All of this moved me to tears, standing there on the hiking path.
I spent more time with the oak family that day. I sent them much gratitude for their beautiful, life-affirming message. And, I know they wanted me to share it with you.
You have such amazing capacity for expansion.
Open up to receive the beautiful light that’s available to you. It’s available right now. Today. Spread your canopy and take it in!
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