Monday, January 28, 2008

Taking root..... A Birch Tale

photo from interenet search

Lady of the Woods is what they call the birch tree its a slender tall tree its the first tree to grow on bare soil and from that one tree it can birth an entire forest.

On one of the many journeys I walked insearch of balance. I was to meditate on the birch tree, there are lessons we learn on all paths, in every connection we have and everything and everyone we encounter on the path.

I went into the wild open space beside a river and where I had seen a small grove of birch trees, I sat there listening to the river, feeling the earth strong beneath my feet solid in my hand and I listened and felt the air around me. I watched it dance through the tall birch branches and heard it whisper softly in each rustling.

I wondered what I was missing the mediation was to see what insight I would receive what inner thought spoke to me.

I sat there for hours and wondered what I was missing. Then I got up and went home a few nights after that failing, when the night breeze drifted through my open window with the dancing chime of the wind chimes in the trees outside. I drifted off to sleep.

I am not strong in meditation in that I can sit and drift into it. But I am better at visualization of what will open before my heart and mind it will open before my open eyes as I walk, as I dance, and as I dream.

I was walking back along the river only this time I walked bare foot along the river to the small grove as I stepped beneath the birch boughs I saw scattered birch trees, some where young just starting out their life others were older I walked among them I laid my hand upon them and felt the life force that all living things have.

As I walked among the trees listening to the river and the wind I came to the heart of the grove the tallest tree as I got closer it was different it was not a tree it was a woman more brilliant and clear in my mind. She was smiling at me and she held up her hand to me and there was a silver thread in it. It sparkled between us and as I looked I saw it passing right through me, I looked and the silver thread webbed out passing through trees, rock, earth and river.

As I looked closer I saw faces old and young in the trees, rocks, earth and the river too. I looked back at the Lady and found the tree and the woods as it had been, and yet it was different I was connected rooted in a deeper sense of life and the connection I have with other living things.

I woke with an insight:

We may not see the threads of life that connect us , that give us our deep roots and beginnings but we can feel it within us and that is were in our deepest core of being we will find a way to see what our eyes may not let us see. We will take root sort of speak and we will grow into a forest, the thread that connects us will reach where ever we are it is never severed, even when we will not see beyond the forest.

Every new beginning is bare soil, like the Birch we too can and will take root strong and we will grow because our roots are a symbol of our life force, our faith and our strength.

We are apart of something greater and (thought at times it may not seem like it) it is secure and strong. We have to rid ourselves of negativity, unhelpful influences and bad thoughts which bind us and limit us and we need to tap into and hold on to the positive thoughts that will encourage us and breath through us like the wind and flow out of us like the river.

If we want changes in our lives well the Divine can only do so much, at some point we have to move the Earth (Ourselves) to build a future of hope, strength and growth.

this brings to mind Abby Willowroot's Prayer:

Make me strong in spirit,

courageous in action,

gentle in heart,

Let me act in wisdom,

conquer my fear and doubt,

discover my own hidden gifts,

Meet others with compassion,

be a source of healing energies,

And face each day with Hope and Joy.

May your journey in this world be blessed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shooting Dad or In My Case Dancing with Dad

Dancing with Dad

I read an essay by Sarah Vowell titled "Shooting Dad" it was an expression and detail account of her relationship with her father their conflicts and their realizations as well as a lesson learned.

We don't always get a chance to say the things we want to say and sometimes we say more then we should. My relationship with my father was far from the norm and the last things I said to him where based on the torments of a past not completely open to me.

My father use to hunt and fish, I was fortunately spared that ordeal. I enjoy the woods and lake just not the other and being a female it was not expected of me to indulge in this area. We often clashed on any number of issues. For the most part we shared nothing in common, I contributed very little positive to my father (or my mother) but in all fairness we did have a common interest a gift given whether by choice or by accident but given at any rate. Our passion for music and dance.

Sadly enough it wasn't until last summer that I could see beyond the shadows into a new light of my own past.

It was a beautiful morning in mid summer and the sun shined so clear it washed over the world with its brilliance, I had started on my way to work a normal routine day. When from off the top of Table Mountain a colorful glider burst into view it was red, blue, gold and green it glided into few and across the heavens blue.

I pulled my car over and got out to watch it (by now I had learned to leave early for work so that I might enjoy the little things like a rolling hill side of golden grass, or circling hawks.) as I sat there I began to notice the soft dancing motion of the trees which I was parked beside, then I noticed the song on the radio. "Kansas City" by Fats Domino.

As I listened I remembered old memories that had been locked away from me. I was 6 years old bright eyed blonde with the whole world before her, all legs and arms and still clinging to some hope of something better. I could see the room as if it where right there in front of me the old hard wood floor of the duplex we lived in on the SW 13Th in the "packing town" area of Oklahoma City.

The white walls scattered with photographs of family the main photo in our house always seemed that of my grandfather Floyd holding my mom age 3 and my grandmother holding my uncle Jessie age 1. The photo had been fading for years.

The tattered mix matched sofa and chairs, the cluttered yet clean mess of a two bedroom duplex home for two adults and four children, in the corner near the front windows the family record player and all the collected albums; Classical, Cultural, Rock and Roll , Country all at your finger tips.

And I saw my father and that little girl within me dancing he was teaching me to do the stroll to Kansas City, I smiled as I saw my smiling face, I heard the the laughter as he taught me to dance. and as I watched the images pass before me I saw another younger self maybe 4 or 5 years old, my small feet on top of his big brown cowboy boots as he danced with me during a waltz to Johann Strauss "Blue Danube".

"Close your eyes and see the music, feel it and let it move through you." he had told me several times through out my life when we danced or listened to music.

I later learned to dance to many types of music polka, the twist, Texas two step, and many more.
I learned to see the music, to feel it, to breath it in and to let it flow through me. In my waking mind music became vision, motion and emotion. Taking on form, color and expression. I learned to see the music as I would see colors and words later. It was a great gift to give a child.

That summer day, I wept for my father for the first time. The first good memory of a blocked 12 year childhood burst into view, into color and into music.

My father passed away 11 years ago unforgiven, unspoken to and unthanked for the gift he gave me, but that day I think I finally found that I could forgive him. I cant block out the bad with out blocking out the good. I have to be fair there were good moments and people in those 12 years that are worth remembering. Its not always easy to face the shadows but I have learned there is always a light at both ends of the corridor that leads through the shadows.

Forgetting is hard, forgiving is harder, and even more so when you have to forgive yourself. Don't hold on to the old patterns that will make you a prisoner of your own mind, its not easy by any means but you deserve to bask in the brilliance of the light within yourself and to see the world again with hope where the blue of the sky meets the sun.

Thanks Daddy for giving me this beautiful gift of seeing music.