What really matters to you in your life? Amanda Gorman, the Poet Laureate who read her poem at President Biden’s inauguration, told Time Magazine that this year of Covid-19 has brought her closer to finding her “touch tree.” When asked what is a “touch tree” Amanda replied,
“When we’re lost in the forest, one thing we can do is to identify a tree that we will revisit as we wander and try to find our way back. For me, this year has really meant identifying my Touch Trees, and nourishing them and revisiting them. My TouchTree is poetry. It is significant to me so I must write it.”
As a woman of color and our Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman’s experience is significant for all of us. I encourage you to listen to her and others who are sharing their experiences of Covid-19.
At the end of this year of Covid-19, our second year of this pandemic, there are many lessons to learn if we are willing to stop, look and listen.
In my experience of these two years, it has been helpful to have to stay inside, to not be able to connect outwardly, in order to see what needs to be attended to more closely inside—within my own home and my own heart. Our inner worlds can be a powerful focus of our lives to find our “touch trees” and what I have called our “Moorings” in my own memoir
A Midlife Voyage to Transformation. These tools or self-care practices, are ways we can ground ourselves when things are constantly changing — when we experience our lives shifting in powerful ways that are usually out of our control. Moorings help us find our way when we are Lost at Sea, the first stage of my 5 Step Voyage for women in midlife transitions. The second stage, Finding A Mooring is just what Amanda has talked about—finding what gives you grounding, support and nourishment as you struggle and wander to find your way through the forest.
So Amanda writes poetry, I practice mindfulness and yoga. Coming back to these practices and letting them nurture and support you as you find your way is key. Only when you begin to feel your wholeness again — the goodness of who you are when alive and healthy — can you know your next step. Sometimes, we have to stumble with what seems right until we feel more whole. That’s what Amanda is doing with her poetry.
What do you do to find what is most important to you and bring it into your life? Have you found through this experience this year what really matters to you? Many people have left their jobs, stayed home to teach their kids, moved or changed their lives significantly. The Great Resignation is a significant social shift we are seeing. What’s happening in your family, your work-life, your world?
Taking action when we see we need to make our lives more meaningful is a powerful step. It is also what we can all do to feel better, to move our lives into a place of freedom and clarity. Being in the forest of our lives is an opportunity — a chance to look deeper at what we need to do for ourselves so that our lives are more meaningful; and it’s also a chance to heal by giving care to ourselves. When we notice we are struggling, when we are in pain, it is the time to offer our Moorings or our Touch Trees. This is self-compassion and it helps us find our next steps — it gives us a warm and caring embrace with love and hope that life is still here and we are ok. Touch Trees are about giving us this compassion that is always here for us.
But the most important next step is to decide what is your next step out of the forest and into the world. How do you need to serve yourself and the world next? Only when we give ourselves Moorings or Touch Trees can we make the changes we need to find our path out of the forest.
The future of our humanity lies in our ability to find our self-compassionate path out of this forest and into the world we want to create for ourselves. I’m here to help us do this together.