Friends Like Trees

trees.jpeg

At somewhere around the age of 50 I began to remember my very first friends.

The trees.

For my younger years, many weekends were spent up north at our cabin in the woods. In the front of the cabin was a river, and the backyard was all woods. I could play in the back all by myself but could only go out front if supervised.

Trees were the first to listen to me, without interruption, advice, or judgment.

The first to accept me as I am.

To calm me simply with their presence.

They give the best silent advice, allowing you to figure it out from within.

Looking back I realize they never tried to be anything other than what they were. They remained solid, strong, truthful always.

They didn't try to make me like them or try to be something they were not, just to fit in.

They didn't change themselves when someone new came along, so they could impress.

They didn't say all the right things to make me happy then turn their backs on me when things got rough.

They didn't be nice to my face and say mean things about me when I left.

They never tried to make themselves feel better by making me feel bad, or by judging me, or comparing me to others, or ridiculing me.

They remained loyal even when I strayed. Even when I made mistakes.

They held space for me. That is what true friends do.

We should all be more like trees. Like the kind of friend a tree is.

Loyal

Accepting

Understanding

Faithful

Truthful

Patient

After nearly 50 years I have come back to my tree friends, and I am grateful they have quietly been awaiting my return.

If is as if no time (and all time) has passed since I have spoken to them.

Years of life lessons have made me wiser, and also shown me how little I really understand.

The trees hold many answers. After all they remain rooted in this earth long after we leave it.

We should all strive to be friends like trees.

 

 

Is This Your Season?

Every spring I come back to Big Star Lake and its surrounding areas with a sense of anticipation. Not only for the warmer weather and the summer of fun to come, but to see spring renewal at its finest—or what I call the pop-up swamps. Low lying areas in the woods where the spring waters pool and become instant swamps teeming with new life and sound.

This year there were fewer pop up swamps for me to enjoy on my first walk through the woods. Maybe because we didn’t have a lot of snow to melt along with the first spring rains? Everything looked a little different to me, and yet a lot remained the same. The sounds around me for sure alerted me to the arrival of spring, as did the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, so welcome after winter’s chill. 

I wrote this blog post last year and never posted it, so I thought I would share it now.

Pop up swamps teem with the sounds of spring.

Amidst the frogs, birds, and insects I hear the wind whisper: Renewal. Resolve. Rejoice.

I feel it, too in my bones. Renewal, I mean. I feel freer as I walk down the dusty path my cloak of troubles billowing out behind me.

It can happen overnight this change from the quiet and safe of winter, to the jubilant and wild spring life.

The shift from hibernation to growth and change.

Like people, swamps house crazy potential within.

In just moments they can leap forward and take off, nearly out of nothing, to become vibrant pools of life.

The quiet work that has gone on underneath during the quiet of winter, paves the way for quick spring expansion.

If you listen closely you might hear the question in your ear: Who Are You Now?

Like the pop up swamps that form from the spring’s heavy rains and winters quiet snowfall—you are ready to burst forth in all your alive glory.

Don’t hold yourself back. There is no time like the present to burst forth with the real you.

Conditions are right for forward motion and incoming joy.

The lowlands are the birthing spot of the swamps—just like the low times in our lives are opportunities to learn soul lessons we not only recover from, but flourish from after we get through the tough parts.

Without darkness there would not be knowledge of the light.

It helps if you stop resisting or constricting during times of darkness and instead allow yourself to be open to the feelings that come. Scary, yes. Uncomfortable, yes, but it is not necessary to rid yourself of them immediately. Accept the emotions, sit with them for just a little to uncover their true lessons. The heartaches of your low times will help you appreciate the upcoming moments of joy, and help you fully understand your journey later.

We build things from the ground up for a reason. Rock bottom is, if nothing else, SOLID ground to grow from.

When you feel stuck in life or in your progress:

1). Do not be afraid to ask for help, to take help or to offer help.

2.) Be open to other perspectives on your situation but remember no one outside of you can “fix” you.

3.) Expect to have some internal work to do to be able to let it go and get through to the forward motion part.

4.) Let go of all planned outcomes and surrender to organic change.

5.) Give yourself a break.

Maybe this spring will be the season of your renewal, your growth, and your expansion into the best version of you. I am eternally hopeful that it will be mine.

Reflection: One Year Ago

One year ago today I wrote a post announcing Phase 2 of my dream, the opening of a space where I felt comfortable holding workshops and making connections, and the beginning of Soulistic Sisters, a partnership with two crafty and artistic friends offering opportunities for others to come create with us. A year away seems like a long time when you are in the planning/idea stages of a dream, in reality it flies by, each month going faster than the next.

I wouldn't exactly say the past year has been easy, yet in reflection, it also has not been hard. I suppose as with any new venture, there were highs and lows. The highs for me were the times my workshops and classes filled up with people eager to learn and create, and/ or the times where I felt what I offered helped someone move forward with a new understanding, a new resolve to make changes to be happier, or to see things differently. The lows of course, were the times when no one showed up or no one seemed interested and we had to cancel (and yes there were plenty of those). It is normal to take it personally when something doesn't go as planned, to think you are the problem or the reason, and yet I know how silly and unhelpful that kind of thinking is in the long run. Throughout the year I clung to the thought that what is supposed to happen, will happen, even if it was just me and one other person who showed up for a class.

Working around our full time jobs has meant our offerings were hit or miss with our audience. We played around with days, times, and new ideas to attract more people to our studio. We repeated some classes that were popular the first time around, and stopped offering the ones where no one seemed interested--even if we ourselves still loved the idea. We tweaked, refined, and retooled and asked for suggestions as if searching for a magic formula of success, finding in the end, there really isn't one. We just have to trust and believe that what we are doing, we are doing for all the right reasons, and that what is supposed to happen, will happen.

The encouragement we received from those of you who frequent the studio has been great fuel for us to continue moving forward and to keep believing that if we "build it, they will come". To the many of you who have supported, shared, suggested, reviewed, and encouraged others to join you at our studio, we are so grateful to you. Growing our reach (without spending a lot of marketing dollars) is not easy, and it is only through word of mouth and your help, we have been even a small bit successful. Thank you for the love. Thank you for your trust.

Believing that each person who walks through our door is a uniquely talented artist (in some medium), and that every artist needs a group of supporters and challengers to learn from, is what will keep us going. I believe that our mission to bring people together to explore, connect and create is so important. I know it has moved me out of my comfort zone while at the same time helped me find my groove. I have found an outlet for a creative spirit I didn't even know I had. I have learned to manage chaos with mindful artistic activities and I relish the opportunity to share more of what I have learned with others.

I love our little space, I love the variety of things we offer, I especially love the unique and beautiful souls who come through our door to learn, to teach and to share. As I begin to plan another year of activities I will be leading, and look for areas in which I can grow my own knowledge base, I trust the universe will help it all come together. Just the way it is supposed to.

We must all believe in our own abilities, to seek new ways to work from our place of ease so that we can shine our brightest light, without fear, without regret, and by doing so help others begin to shine theirs. I hope our studio continues to provide an outlet for others to shine. To help them find their tribe and their supportive accepting community. To expand horizons. To open minds. To help everyone begin to believe in their own unique, creative, beautiful spirit.

Namaste. Cheers to seeing you at the studio soon.

Terri