This year, let yourself be soothed and calmed by your “Touch Trees.”
Last month I talked about Amanda Gorman, our Poet Laureate, and her Time Magazine interview about how she has found her “Touch Trees” this year of Covid-19 by writing and reading poetry. (See BLOG here) This concept of “touch trees”—what gives us meaning and calm in the storms of life —-aligns with my idea of “moorings” or tools that I have suggested as guideposts for grounding us to the present moment as we deal with major change. Self-compassion is doing what feels good and soothing to us. These “touch trees” can also be self-compassion practices.
I am so drawn to trees as resources in nature for me — they give me strength, love, stability and comfort in how they stand strong through so much of nature’s battering: wind, rain, snow, and sunshine. My nature practice has brought me to the experience of reaching out to them and hugging them — I feel a deep connection to their outstretching energy and love. Have you tried talking to trees? I find I can’t stop being grateful as soon as I walk into the presence of deep rooted and ancient trees especially, but for all trees I am eternally grateful and in awe of their presence and power in each moment as I experience them. Somehow this experience I have had with trees seems like something similar to Amanda’s. When we come close and touch the things that move us, we get moved into a meaningful action.
So how do you get moved into action? What creates this stirring inside of you? In these times of freezing and shutting down, when things are so constantly challenging around us, how do we stay open? I’ve seen that when I stay open I am fluid and soft and open to listening and learning. When I am scared, or challenged or hurting, I am more closed and rigid, unable to take in new information. I am not soft — I am hardened and closed.
Finding ways to keep you softer, to allow you to let go of the fear and the pain and open up to what is here—this is the work of “touch trees” or Moorings. I would define these as self-care practices that allow you to soften when it is fearful, to listen when it feels more safe to push back into silence and safety, to let go into trusting rather than fighting. For when we hold our anger and our reactivity, when we soften into a place of exploration rather than reacting, we can see things in a new way. This new way might be a new opportunity for connection and healing. It might lead us to new awakenings.
This past year of 2021 has been an opportunity for learning how to work with discomfort, constant change, and self-trust. When I find myself falling into grief, sadness, despair, I try to name it and allow it to happen.
I try to watch what I do in my mind when I feel lousy, lost and alone. I have definitely dropped into these feelings more this year. Each time I have explored this sadness or grief, I have seen how it activates so much of my past trauma triggers. Fear, grief, and all the stories start rolling out. When I realize that is happening, I try to slow down, meditate and just let go. It’s not always easy, but I usually ride the wave through to a more calm place. My mind settles and I’m here in the present moment again — open and alive. The deep mindful practice I have developed has helped me find that self-trust to know I am okay and I can feel okay. Even when it is scary. We can all find this in a spiritual practice of silence, stillness and mindful awareness. I’d love to help you find this practice for yourself.
I hope you will check out some of my practices on my website that you can download and use daily. You can find them here. Begin this New Year with intentional actions that you put into your week, your day, your year. We need them more now than ever before to stay alive, resilient and compassionate.