‘… release all desire for specific agendas, befriend nature, open our hearts to a new kind of love, and see what happens.’
It is said that winter exemplifies the art of letting go, leaves have fallen and blooms not yet active. “Let go” is often referenced, yet what does it really mean? To find a definitions, I googled it and the lyrics to a song from Frozen were all that came up. For me, conditioned or true, the phrase has a painful feel of loss to it. Perhaps, it’s the word ‘go’ which sounds as though everything will take leave. I’ve come to prefer the word release. It implies an opening, a freedom. If we release that which is still appropriate for us, it doesn’t go anywhere, it is simply no longer tethered to us by invisible clinging. Back to the tree analogy. A tree releases its leaves, so that when the time is right the leaf does in fact fall, yet it typically lands just above the roots to decompose and nourish the tree’s future growth.
Last night Z, my dog, and I were walking down the driveway in the dark. The road was pure ice. Z had gone running off in excitement because we were headed to the neighbor’s where her ‘bffs’ live. I heard some scuffling and thought maybe Z and slipped on ice. I continued walking and also to hear the shuffling, so I turned on my phone’s flashlight and asked Z if she was ok. As the words came out of my mouth, a huge bird flew off the branch just above my head. It was slow and had food in its talons. Being that it was dark, my guess is that it was owl, which we have plenty of in the neighborhood. That said, it certainly wasn’t silent—as owls usually are, so perhaps a hawk. Either way, it brought me a great sense of honor—the kind the human world rarely does. Why? I don’t totally know the answer. It does touch a primal aspect of me that is deep and old. This facet of self is the one I hope to inspire awakening, for it knows the truth that humans are simply one part of a whole organism we call Earth.
In 2011, I did a month-long solo road trip. Solo meaning alone in the car, not alone the entire time traveling. I went to a conference and camped among 100s of women, having the pleasure of meeting some lovely ladies whom I’m still in contact with. While I had freeze-dried coffee to make wherever and whenever, I also went in to the coffee shop of most towns. The perfect way to get a feel for what a place is about, especially reading the bulletin boards. (Since then, I’ve had the idea of traveling the country stopping at coffee shops each day. Somehow weaving a story about the variety of people met along the way—similarities, differences and that one common thread.) Also, I met up with friends—new and old. Additionally, there were long stretches of time when I was my only company. That time was spent mostly writing, partly visiting the idea of fiction. Doing so intrigues me, yet I’m not sure of my patience and dedication to work through the large quantity of bad stories needed to reach a level of competency that feels worthy of my taste. That aside, for a week I sat and slept next to the Intercoastal Waterway, just north of Charleston, SC. This whole trip was spent sleeping outside; no tent, just out under the stars. Photo below shows where my sleeping bag sat during this stop, where upon waking I opened my eyes to witness extraordinary sunrises. During the day, I sat next to a tree that hung out over the water (also in photo) and started a story. It was about a maple that wanted, felt compelled to, find friendship with humans. This tree was always trying to woo people as they walked by on the path he lived next to. The humans never heard this tree’s whispers, too much were they in their heads. Trees don’t speak to thoughts, they speak only to hearts. After years of pushing with no reward, Tree pulled into himself, staying there for years—sad at his lack of success. Eventually, long after his discouraging release of an agenda, a woman came and sat next to him with her back against his trunk. Her heart was broken, for the man she adored had fallen in love with someone else. This woman did not hear the tree because he was currently silent, but each of their broken hearts responded to the other in their silence. The woman then started talking to herself out loud. Tree was still somewhat asleep, but with time he began to feel her presence and eventually understand her words as well. He sat quietly with her while she spilled her heart out, believing no one could hear but herself. The deeper the girl went in to her heart, the more awake Tree became, until eventually they were both aware of the communication between them. So began their long-term relationship. The actualization of two dreams took place the moment each dropped their agendas for other people. It was then that they found the relationship they longed for, though with a different species. Both hearts became full of and open to love.
I had forgotten that story. Then during two workshops I facilitated in January, it came up unplanned. Perhaps it is time to revisit—my own writing of it, as well for us as a collective. Are not many hearts breaking in today’s modern world? Perhaps not for an unrequited love, but for the death of what we thought was real and valuable. Maybe it is best to release all desires for specific agendas, befriend nature, open our hearts to a new kind of love, and see what happens.