At the end of January and early this month my sleep schedule went out of whack. I’d either find myself sleepless until 3:00 or 4:00am, or if I managed to fall asleep at a reasonable hour, I’d inevitably wake up around those times. During that period I had been feeling a lot of unfamiliar energies coming in and they were keeping me up at night. I wasn’t alarmed because I had been working with an intention to open to new energies since the beginning of the year, but I did want to figure out how to make the process a little more comfortable.
I checked with my Akashic Records and they suggested I stop trying to understand the energies, because I was giving myself headaches attempting to analyze every little bit coming through. Ah, my mind was up to its old tricks! My Records recommended surrendering to the flow and trusting that I would be aware of whatever I need to when the timing’s right.
So when I found myself awake at 4:00am early one morning, I decided not to fight it and used the time to connect with my heart before getting up and enjoying a nice, slow morning. I felt motivated to go to the park, but when I left my building I was surprised to feel a spot of sadness in my heart. I had no idea what it was about, since I had no immediate reason to be sad. I just held it lightly with curiosity and compassion, knowing that a walk in the park would set me right.
As I neared the park, the feeling of gratitude kept building up inside me. I looked back on how all the beautiful creatures in this marvelous park overlooking the Hudson River have held me for the last twelve years. They have seen me at my happiest and most bereaved. And I felt so blessed that in this metropolis I had managed to find a beautiful haven that’s taught me so much about birds and plants, and how to notice them. It’s even encouraged me, a perennial city girl with a black thumb for house plants, to become a gardener.
I started down the main path of the famed Heather Garden with my heart full of love and gratitude, when I felt compelled to ask, “Who am I?” Immediately, a hawk flew across the sky at an unusually fast speed. I am generally watchful of augurs because I feel a special connection to birds, but I wasn’t quite sure if this one was for me, so I asked again. Who am I? Again, the response was instantaneous: another hawk appeared overhead. Then just as suddenly, it stopped in mid-air. I thought it would swoop into the river for a meal, but it continued to hover, as if to say, Hi, I see you! Do you see me? When I acknowledged its message, it continued on its way.
At this point, I am on top of the world, and I pull that twirling move that Maria in the Sound of Music does when she feels the hills come alive. I catch sight of a nearby elm tree that I’ve walked by hundreds of times. I tend to have a lot of favorite trees, and I’ve mourned the loss of a few in this park over the years, but I can’t say that I felt particularly connected to this tree, even though it is notable for its size and location.
For some reason, I felt myself drawn to it in that moment. I wondered if I could talk to it, or if it would be asleep on account of it being winter and its branches being barren. But my curiosity kept me buoyed and I decided to lean against it. As I grew quiet, I became aware of my heart field engaging and expanding. Then I started wondering if the energy I was sensing was indeed my own, the tree’s, or a combination of both. Tears started flowing and I realized that the tree was helping me release that sadness I had noticed in my heart when I first set out for my walk.
I also came to the understanding that this was an old, OLD sadness I’d long carried. Through my work in the Akashic Records, I’ve come to know that we are all connected. I’ve also learned that connection is always available to me, it was just a matter of opening to it. But even this, the simplest of things, is easier said than done. And though I accepted the idea intellectually, and even held it in my heart as a deep truth, I knew that it hadn’t sunken into the hardest to reach areas of my being. That feeling of disconnection would rear its head periodically. Though I’d been able to release a little bit here and there over the last few years, it always felt like I was chipping away at an iceberg.
This encounter with the tree felt like a major release of this old belief. If I reached for the nearest phrase, I’d say that “it felt as if a massive weight had been lifted,” but that doesn’t begin to capture the transformative character of the experience. It’s not as if I was suddenly able to come at that proverbial iceberg with a sledgehammer. In fact, it felt more like a thawing so gentle and so loving.
I’m trying not to wrap this experience up with a bag of mixed metaphors, but I’m struggling to find the right words. I don’t want to talk about tips of icebergs or mountains made from molehills. I wish, rather, to describe how I felt that kernel of deep knowing that had been locked away or quarantined to certain parts of my being…how I felt that come unlodged. And when it loosed itself with the help of the tree, that knowing washed over all levels of my being and seeped into all the cells of my body, and I knew—I finally knew—that I exist, along with everything else in existence, in an ocean of love.
I can’t quite explain exactly how different it feels receiving love from a tree rather than another person (loved one or perfect stranger) or another animal (wild or domesticated). Perhaps it has to do with how implausible it seems to me that this tree, going about its own tree business (which is not a trivial thing), has time and energy enough to notice me and to care. I don’t know if I will ever be able to understand this tree’s love for me, but I do know this: I belong to the wildness of the world just as much as the tree does.
We all belong to the wildness of the world. All it takes is for us to quiet down enough to notice and to open to it. Though I would love to go back, I now know I don’t need to fly all the way to Peru and do a plant medicine retreat to experience this level of oneness with All. For even in New York City, we are surrounded by living things that look upon us and know us, and what’s more love us for no discernible reason. And we have access to this field of joyful connection through our own hearts.
As you might imagine, I was tearing up from all these realizations, but they were tears of pure joy. I understood that one of my longest held prayers had finally been answered and I stumbled around the park laughing for no communicable reason for some time after. I continue to visit what I like to think of as “my tree friend” regularly. In a way, it fills the hole my dad’s death left, because I visit it when when I’ve something exciting to share, and I also continue to turn to it when I’m feeling a little off.
My life has felt incredibly magical for over a year now, but I feel like I see the world with fresh eyes, and I show up to meet life on entirely different terms. And it’s largely thanks to this amazing tree.
Today while I was leaning against its trunk, soaking in the setting sun, an old lady ambled up to us, looked me in the eye and smiled. She said, “That tree belongs to you!” I laughed and replied, “I really love this tree!” And I do. And while I can’t fathom the reason, I also know for a fact that I am loved right back by this wise old tree. I’d like to write more about what I’ve been learning from Tree and how I connect with it (because it isn’t the way other people teach and write about tree communication). But for now I’ll leave you with a photo of me by my very favorite Tree, which is great company even on a rainy, gray day.