Posted in love and appreciation for our friends the trees xxx
When we become parents, our worlds narrow and expand simultaneously whilst other lives play out separately, and yet wholly connected in a far subtler way. Even though we continue to be distracted with whatever dramas are requiring our attention, the truth is that we cannot parent separately to what's going on in our world on an ecological and wider social level.
If we're experiencing an absence of kindness at home, maybe it's an indication not only of an absence of kindness towards ourselves, but perhaps too, of a greater malaise: a lack of engagement with consistent acts of kindness towards others. An others that includes all beings on our planet we call home, not simply humans, but the great plethora of biodiversity that has the potential to bloom once more, if...if...if...
But instead of using our overwhelm - no matter how genuine, no state is fixed - as a breakwater to hide behind, what happens when we shift our attention from the distractions in our lives, no matter how viscerally convincing they may be, to focus on the love and appreciation we feel for the natural world? When we open our hearts to feeling the enormous gratitude we feel towards Gaia, we renew our relationship to the world around us. For what else is there that brings such wonderment, magic and nourishment into our lives, and the lives of our children?
And just as we find ourselves engaging with bold acts that step us out of our comfort zones for the sake of our children, this is what our planet needs of us now. We need to become boldly humble, expanding our appreciation and deepening our understanding of how much of our splendour rests not on our own divine intervention, but by virtue of the fact that no single act is an isolated event, but a part of such a beautiful whole, it’s a wonder we attempt to pretend life happens otherwise. We find ourselves alive on a planet spinning in a cosmos larger and more mysterious then we’ll ever fathom, but nevertheless that we have the collective priviledge of finding ourselves alive upon. If we were to contemplate more the exquisite miracle of our lives, maybe this would be the thing that gives us the clarity and discernment to cut through our collective ennui about what to do, how to do and when...
And yes we’re all tired and busy and who has the time, but also, what is it to get to the end of the life and look back not with a heart full of my god I loved courageously, but my god, I just got by on comfy?
I speak for the trees…
When my first child, Eve was young, there was a period when she was about three, when our current favourite book of all time was The Lorax. During one lunch at Pret when we were living in London, I was reading from the book whilst my daughter wasn't particularly eating, and I looked across at Evie, as she decided which morsel of food to not eat next, and I saw her there, and all that is innocent about her, and finally the truth of the Once-ler’s signing off to the young boy, that “Unless someone like (him) cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not," hit me.
It occurred to me that I was reading The Lorax as a desperate attempt to fill my daughter’s world with a meaning I worry was being lost in the fragmented and rushed life I was giving to her. Not so much a life filled with evenings around the campfire, around which are other members of our village grouped and where we howled, and stomped and ate and danced together, but one where so many of us have the same dissatisfactions, and often, inertia.
Trust your heart I tell my daughter. Trust your heart, even if an adult is telling you something else, trust your heart I say to her. But because I can only turn to my daughter with a hopeful heart than one completely identified with anything like the indestructible nature that it really has, so that I might more truthfully reflect back to my children their innate wholeness and goodness, I have taken her, and now my son outside into nature as often as I can.
Out to nurse under the trees when they were babies, to walk through the woods as they got older, and, with increasing frequency, out into our garden where we're surrounded by a myriad of trees of various girth and bloom that stretch into the open sky, enjoying perhaps the birds singing their chortled songs, all of which stir in me a reminder of a wholeness I must have identified with more certainly, not so long ago.
But although I forget and stumble, offering poor caricatures in lieu of simply embodying to my children the truth of who they really are - more portals into an experience of infinity then simple personalities, that we dare to “never change,” - nature intrinsically gets it. And so out we go, again and again, so that Evie and Jack can refamiliarise themselves with a state they started from, so that they can come to truly know what love is: not a thing that so much owns and possesses, but gives and creates.