I sometimes spend time in a eucalyptus grove. Scarcely hidden, here the earth still lives among us. This is where I find the inner Self. I hide in little nooks in tree roots surrounded by fragrant fallen leaves and sit silently to listen to the earth’s soft whispers. She still speaks her native tongue so beautifully. The calls and songs of birds unseen scatter sound waves in e sharp and g flat into frail layers of ancient bark. The trees that sing hymns with the breeze are still standing – however vulnerable and changing. They too sometimes crack of their own fragility. Dried feather-shaped leaves create a simple seat for this contemplation… leaving my jeans slightly scented with the earths spontaneously created aromatherapy. Warm and sweet.. it wraps healing fragrance around the nape if my neck and holds me upright so my brain can release its grip. Unwinding…
The coils that have pressed down through my tailbone come from time and age, but the earth, she takes all that’s been building and without words or action, straightens the kinks and silently slides me free of the pressure. All my projection – all my assumptions – all my unclear truths dissolve into the ‘it’ of the matter. At home – listening to the symphony of the earth.
But as I listen, there’s no possible way to deny or ignore the fizzy, sputtering, rapid white noise of the freeway that pulses and flows beyond the grove. Looking closely, you see the constant glint of windshields catching the summer sun. As sweetly as the breeze wraps me in love and fills me with the scents of this nature, it changes. A cold, sharp gust brings with it gas fumes and garbage. Quick, jarring reminders to my senses of my place. From deep in the eucalyptus grove – I’m reminded so clearly of man. Of freeways and rush hour. Lunch specials and happy hour. Cargo. Imports – as if that were exotic these days. The chase in this crazy city by the bay. Incomprehensible, undeniable, unbelievable, utterly and certainly untrue truths. This is a place I do not want to know anything about because it is an exact reflections of everything I am.
And it’s here in the grove I think on that idea. It’s here – in the grove – where I recognize my dual experience of insignificance. On that cold coal and gasoline breeze, I feel myself falter as my ego asks what can be done for it. The pulse of this traffic march matches my heart that feels almost – if not absolutely – alone, disjointed, abandoned and unwanted. Out of sight from the city, I deeply sense being unseen and far from the community I long for. We’re all racing so fast toward some answer, some job for some money to pay some rent so we can sleep enough to get up and go do some job for some money to pay some rent….to… just.. feel small? To feel inconsequential or dis-empowered? That rat race isn’t feeding us, and yet, we can’t get out and when I hear the racing traffic and smell the burning oil, I can get lost in the sadness of this reality. When you see how big the machine is… you can get tangled in the question “What can I do to fix this?”
This sense of insignificance is so starkly contrasted to feeling small but deeply interwoven into the fabric of what is. The eucalyptus grove provides me with a deep sense of peace because as I look up at the trees and sense them dwarfing me in stature, I see that every fallen leaf is just as essential to the cycle of life as I am. Remembering that all is connected and necessarily feeding back into itself provides a sense of contentment and ownership for though I may be just one person, I am crucial (as are the leaves, the beetles, and the butterflies that fly in this grove) to the cycles of life. Knowing I am but a thread among threads reminds me how important that is. The most beautiful tapestries are created one brilliant thread at a time.
Knowing both sensations of smallness – the lost in the race and the interconnection of life – allows me to take a step back and reassess in a meaningful way. It forces me to zoom out and survey what truly is so I can remember my connection and live a life that fills me up not with things and tasks, but with purpose, love, and power. It reminds me of my place both in society and in the natural cycles, so my participation can be voluntary.
When we get too far away from nature, too locked into a routine and trapped to a room or chained to a desk, we tend to start missing something very important – ourselves. Without being connected to nature, we lose out on the time for reflection and the opportunities to see ourselves in a larger context… we get lost in concrete and to do lists so frequently that we’re not sure if we can disconnect… we don’t trust ourselves or our world enough to put our phones on “do not disturb” and spend time in the park. We’re so busy DOING that we forget to just ..Be..
Take time for yourself to just be in your environment, tune into the smells, the colors, the sounds, and the temperature and allow it to speak to your heart. Allow it to remind you of your essence and how essential you are by showing you how small you are. Ask the earth to reconnect and sit softly on her and listen.
You are but a thread; small, thin and frail. Woven into this great tapestry of the universe to complete the picture of life. Though you may never see the whole fabric, may you remember and fortify all the threads you touch. May you be supported by those around you. May you remember you are an essential thread; small, thin, frail and priceless.
I beg you – be kind to yourself.