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Talking with Trees

I found myself consulting the cottonwood trees in my backyard this evening. Crazy? Maybe. But I'm ok with that.

I listened to a podcast this morning that talked about how indigenous cultures honor the life of everything around them. I also read about this in Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer earlier this summer. And this spring it was a foundational part of the Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide training that I attended.

Plants and animals are living beings. Not things. Not property. But rather, they are family. They are our teachers.

The idea is that we are not here to master or conquer them, but rather to be good stewards, to learn, and take only what we need. When that happens, when we live in harmony, we create natural wealth and abundance for us and for future generations.

While I don't expect a verbal response back when I talk with trees, I do feel seen and heard. Maybe it's the fact that they are always there, season after season. Maybe it's the wisdom from their years rooted in one place. Maybe it's that when I am outdoors, looking up, I have a better perspective of my place in the world and what's important. Maybe it's because I can feel safe in expressing whatever I need to without feeling judged.

There are a lot of maybes. What I do know is that I will keep talking to trees because I think we both benefit from the connection.

I invite you to befriend a tree this week. Maybe pause to place your hand on a tree. Feel the texture of the bark. Run your hand along the depth of the grooves in the tree. Who else is it a home for? What do the leaves on this tree look and feel like?

You could even hug the tree. Yes, really. Just look up all the great articles on the mental and physical benefits of tree hugging. It releases oxytocin, the feel good hormone.

If you want an even deeper connection, take a few minutes to stand or sit with your back against a tree. Studies have shown calming effects from this simple act of shared energy. See if you can let go as you lean against the tree. Allow it to support you. Notice how you feel.

Don't be surprised if tears well up. It can be a powerful thing when we reconnect with nature, and therefore with ourselves.


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