I come to this blog out of a desire to share an important part of my journey. It is my hope that you will find things here that will enrich your journey. My basic tenet is that we are all spiritual beings have a human experience in this cosmic universe that was created by the Holy One billions of years ago. As I look back on my journey, way back to when I was a child, I have always had a special connection with creation. Whether it was removing the slats from my play pen on the front lawn so I could go play with snakes on a hillside, or as a school age boy going off by myself into the woods and sitting with my back against a tree and observing the movement of the water and its creatures in the creek below me, nature held my spirit. It was the Spirit of God that called to me in plants, animals, rocks, water wind and sunlight. I now know that the awareness of the Spirit in all aspects of creation is known as panentheism. That is a big word that I only came to know in recent years as I have read and studied many spiritual writers and speakers. I thank men like Chris Glaser and Richard Rohr and Bill Plotkin for helping me discover this important understanding of God and of God’s Spirit. Many times people think I am talking about pantheism, but I am not. The images below explain the differences between theism, pantheism and panentheism.
So from a panentheistic view of the universe, I come to you writing this blog. I have entitled the blog, “Talk to a Tree” because that is what I do…and then I let the tree, or creek, or rock, or critter talk back to me. I learned this approach from the wilderness wanderings designed by Bill Plotkin in his book “Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche.” I will forever be grateful to Bill for opening me up to this communication with the Spirit in creation. I have also used this approach in several of the retreats I have led and now I come to this point where I want to share with my readers what it is like to ‘talk to a tree’!
Sunday, January 20, 2019
TALKING WITH A HEMLOCK
I am sitting here on this frosty morning looking out at your dark green needled branches and seeing the beauty of snow flocking your lower limbs while your upper branches seem a little stiff from the frosty residue of last night’s freezing rain. There is a sparkle in you as the sun reflects off the ice crystals and the wind is tossing your upper branches though stiffly. It is a pleasure to gaze upon you and know that the Spirit of the Holy One is filling you right now just as it is filling me. Let me introduce myself to you more formally. I am the man behind the glass window that looks out at your on this winter day. Heavy snow fall of last night and chilling temperatures have kept me indoors, but I so want to connect with you. I am feeling an exuberance of being with you this morning and wanting to share with you. I am opening my heart to listen to what you have to say to me and so I listen:
Thank you so much for sharing your Spirit with me this morning and affirming for me that God’s love fills each and every part of creation. I feel blessed to sit in your presence and know that we share the same Spirit. You are a true blessing in my life and so I light a candle in my space to honor you and to send back light to you just as you are sending light to me. Thanks for being part of my life.
- – Adam, 2/2/2019
TALK WITH THE GULF OF MEXICO WATERS
I am riding on you in a ship and can feel the vibration of your waves beneath me. It is very pleasant. Your dark bluish black color tells me you are very deep. You punctuate your presence with ripples of white and with the sound of your waves against the ship’s hull. Steaks of yellow brown algae lay on your surface like ribbons of beauty. It is so pleasant to be in your presence and smell the salt air that you produce. My name is Adam and I am so pleased to be sharing with you. I am feeling very content as I glide with you. I feel grateful for this opportunity to just relax and enjoy you as well as the other humans on this journey. I am open to the message of Spirit that comes from you. I know that your message tome will be helpful in my continuing journey. I am listening for your message.
Adam, I am so glad you are with me. You know that I am the liquid of life that flows through all of your being. I am happy that you are in me and I am in you. Protect this relationship that we have. Your living practices sustain me for future generations. Be conservative of your use of me so that your wastes don’t foul me. And, be sure to drink lots of my fresh water form to keep yourself healthy. You are not drinking enough right now, so up your intake, for I am life in liquid form. As you continue your journey with me this week, be refreshed with playfulness in me. Enjoy each moment that you are in contact – which is actually every moment of every day. I will help reward you with lots of joy and wonder, for we share the same Spirit of love from our Creator.
Thank you Gulf waters for being a part of my life this day. May I always remember all the water in all creation including me. I send a blessing to you with this poem:
W – wondrous
A – appreciate
T – taste
E – energy
R – respect
- Adam, 2/10/2019
TALK WITH A FOX TAIL PALM
Palm tree you stand before me as a trinity with your graceful slightly curved trunks. I appreciate the soft green over your lower trunks that meld into lighter grey green as my eyes move up. Your palm branches are arcs of rich deep green curving up and then down. You have such a graceful form. The warm sunlight illuminates your color and brings out hints of yellow in your leaves. You are a pleasant sight to behold.
Here I sit before you in the warm air of Florida. I am very relaxed and feel content after almost two weeks of vacation. Part of me is feeling a little eager to return home and back into my normal routine. Another part of me is just relishing the time in the sun. This is where I am right now and I appreciate that. To be in a totally different habitat where palm trees like you grace the land is a blessing. I wonder what you have to say to me as the Spirit in you connects to the Spirit in me.
Relish this time, Adam, for it is the warmth of this place that can fill you up. Vacations away from your usual routine are meant to be periods of rejuvenation. Life through my spirit wants to fill you up with appreciation for the gifts that have been given to you. Let that happen. Take each moment as a moment to find rest, find peace, and find new joy. Let the green energy of my branches touch your heart so that your love of self can grow and so your outpouring of love can also grow. Be one with the love of the universe that comes from our Creator and let it fill you up. You don’t have to do anything right now, just be, just be.
Thank you palm for your sharing Spirit with me. I offer you a splash of water as a gift, for it is the liquid of life for both of us.
- Adam, 2/18/2019
TALK WITH A SYCAMORE TREE
Wow, how stately you are spreading your limbs out over the river. Even in this early spring day before you sprout leaves you wear a coat of dabbled colors – white, grey, tan, light and dark olive. And, you have a lovely stole of bright green moss trailing down one side of your trunk. How dashing you are almost like you are wearing a moss boa! As I look up into your branches against the sky you are bedecked with seed pods like multiple dark pearls – probably filled with wisdom. Your upper branches bend and curve belying your many years of gracing this river bank.
So now let me introduce myself. I am probably a youngster in age compared to you, but all the more reason to seek out your wisdom. I come to you both full of joy and wonder to be in your presence, but also with a bit of sadness. Just as you see your offspring seeds fall into the river and float away, so I feel that one of my offspring has chosen to float away from me and limit her contact with me. How do you deal with that kind of sadness and still go on and provide the support and love of your presence here?
It is a sadness I know, but you did your best sharing your love while she was young and being the best parent you knew how to be. Now it is her choice and time to discover who she is and to grow into the beloved child of the Holy One the she is meant to be. Feel the sadness. Where does it show up in your body? Just pause and be with it. Now look at the river beneath my arms. Notice how it is flowing and let your sadness flow with it. Feel also the love in your heart, for your sadness comes from there. Now open your heart and let it be flooded with the gift of love in you. Anything you do now must come from this love …first for yourself because you are loved by God and deep down by your offspring. Let the love be enough and don’t try to “fix” anything. Do what you would do for anyone you love – share messages, share photos, share thoughts of caring and expect nothing in return. Be who you are, authentically, and let your offspring grow into her authentic self. Just as I hope my seeds float onto fertile soil, sprout and grow, so let her find her fertile soil and feed her soul so she can blossom. Truly let go and let God.
- Adam, April 5, 2019
TALK WITH A TULIP TREE
I am sitting here on my porch looking up at you, majestic tulip tree. The breeze is rippling your leaves and moving your smaller branches. Some flowers still remain like ornaments with their yellowish green petals based with orange. The seed pods have started to form pointing up like light green candles amidst the leaves. You truly are a sight to behold with the sun shining on you and you standing so straight and tall against a blue sky. I feel honored to sit here in your presence and know that you are filled with the spirit of God as I look upon you. You amaze me with your height and with the straightness of your trunk which down near the base is a rich blackish brown with very tight bark. As the breeze moves your leaves I see both the dark green of the top of them and the light green of the underside. You seem to be revealing two different natures of yourself. I love the shape of your leaves from which you get your name either tulip tree or tulip magnolia because of the family of plants to which you belong. It has been a pleasure for me to have learned about your natural history over the years. I know you are the tallest growing deciduous tree in North America and that your straight trunk was often used for long barn beams in the past. You also are most often hit by lightning because of your height. I am thankful that as you stand in front of me, you have not been so damaged.
I sit before you this day as I go into silence, knowing that through you our God speaks to me. And, so I open myself to hear the words of Spirit that come through you. I have been struggling of late with an old tape playing in my head. I thought I had erased it long ago, but it has come back into my consciousness. I used to live by a lot of “shoulds” because I thought I was not good enough to trust my own awareness and gifts. That tape started playing again as I started to question whether I should do something different or say words of apology to someone with whom I work. When I became aware of this tape playing it brought strong tears to my eyes. I would like to know what Spirit, speaking through you has to say to me at this time.
Adam, your gifts are strong and you don’t have to listen to those old tapes. Reaffirm your gift of genuine caring for those around you and for those with whom you work. Even though there may have been some negative reactions, know that you were coming to the work out of heartfelt caring. Yes, you may have come on a little strong after many months of expressing concern, but the strength of your response was what was needed to accomplish an important action on the part of the other. You don’t need to apologize and you don’t need to feel like you have done something totally wrong. Let your heart feel that good you are doing and lead from your heart as your work with others continues. You are filled with the gifts of kindness, heartfelt caring, friendly warmth, and the ability to work with details which are important for the role you are playing with those with whom you work. Keep your heart open and don’t let your headiness get in the way of good working relationships. Also, don’t be afraid to speak out when you feel that direction of the work environment is not being true to the mission of that organization. Sometimes righteous indignation is needed.
Thank you mighty tree and especially the Spirit speaking through you. In appreciation of your presence I share a blessing. “May you continue to stand tall and grace our yard with you incredible strength and beauty. Amen.”
-Adam, May 16, 2019
TALK WITH A CABBAGE PALM
Good morning palm tree by the watery canal. You stand in your divinity between cypress and pine. Your trunk has the appearance of many scales somewhat like the fish in the nearby water. Water you suck up like a straw to feed the beautiful palm branches at your crown. And you wear those branches above your cone shaped head. You wave your palms as if in a greeting to me who feels honored to be in your presence. The spaces in your scales are bedecked with necklaces of green and air plants finding a home. Thank you for allowing me to be in your presence this morning.
You speak to me of the love you have for this place. You seem to be an angel with a halo shaped pine bough above you. I wonder if you will be an angel guide for me today? The movement of air from your palms to my face seems like a “yes.” Thank you, I feel blessed.
I introduce myself now to you. I am feeling the need for connection. I have been feeling a sense of malaise – like I don’t know who I am at this point in my life nor where I am going. Somehow there is a feeling that I need to go into the dark recesses of my heart and soul…to encounter that which is causing the malaise, but also to feel a connection to the Holy within me. Can you help me?
I hear you saying: “find your energy center – you are not in balance with the Divine in you.” “You need to go there…enter that cave of darkness to experience and identify and be with that within you, so you can connect with the Holy.” “Let God touch you.” “Do it in a safe way: have a companion knee to knee to be there at the cave entrance; tether yourself with a long rope to a sturdy stake; that way you won’t get lost and your companion is at the stake.”
I have a bit of fear that I might get lost, for there are memories and feelings I might not like. “That is okay, for you need to encounter those things.” “I too have fears sometimes, but it is facing the fear that allows us both to overcome the fears.” “Even though there may be pain, sadness and grief, know that you have the Creator with you and another child of God at the other end of the rope.”
I need courage right now. “God will give you the courage because His love is unconditional for you; He has placed His spirit within you as She has within me; be not afraid!”
Already there are experiences in my life that are coming into my memory…all the way back to my early childhood and some of them are painful to recall. “It is okay; you may have to revisit those experiences in order to heal the pain.”
You have a wisdom that I truly appreciate. Thank you for connecting with me today. May I come to you now and offer a touch of blessing, peace and gratitude? “Oh, yes?”
- Adam, March 4, 2020