Burnt out and ejected from the business world I landed in the the tall timber country of the South West of Western Australia. There I purchased a badly treated and rundown dairy farm with the idea of building a house by hand and establishing organic gardens as part of my recovery. However the exhaustion was such I could not find the psychological or spiritual strength to put my plans into action. This was the 1980’s, I was in my early 30’s and it was way too early in my life to be feeling so ruined. It was with a wry irony and sadness I realised the farm and I mirrored each other.
Fortunately I felt called to a forest adjacent to the property and began walking within it regularly. The Karri trees were majestic in their presence, the forest supported a vast ecosystem with many animals to admire distracting me from my woes. Bird song punctuated the silence without disturbing the forest peacefulness and reminded me I was not alone. Often I would walk into the depth of the forest, sit still with my eyes closed and simply listen to the wonderful sounds of nature all around me. At these times I would forget my troubles and find myself ever so closer to peace.
The forest was only a few kilometers from the coast and one day I experienced something that seemed extraordinary. As I sat in silence I heard a faint rustling way off in the distance that gradually became closer, passing over the top of me and fading into the distance. Then more silence, which was followed by wave after wave of the most beautiful soundscape I had ever heard. Later I realised I happened to be in the forest at the right time for the arrival of the sea breeze. A high breeze that came in gentle gusts that ever so lightly moved the leaves in the canopy, yet left the forest floor undisturbed and still. As the symphony of sound from the forest breeze enveloped me I understood this was the language of nature, and if I listened carefully enough it may have something to tell me. That it did.
The spirits of the wind and forest called me to share my story and to allow myself to be soothed and healed. There was no hesitation on my part and I allowed myself to be seen at depth so that my suffering from the past, and hopes for the future, were apparent. The beautiful sounds continued to come, pass over me and fade of into the distance only for another wave of forest music to follow. With each gentle passing of the forest song I felt calmer, as if my troubles and exhaustion were being carried away and scattered in distant lands by the wind. I was taught by the forest spirits that problems of others were not mine and I did not need to solve them, and those I considered mine could not be solved whilst I held them so close. My exhaustion, I was told, came from these mistaken beliefs that led to years of fruitless endeavor. The solution I was assured, lay in simply releasing to allow the flow of life energy and it would pass.
With gratitude I eventually opened my eyes and gave thanks to the forest and wind for their healing and wisdom. The forest spirits were not finished with me though. As I began to quietly walk back a forest elder beckoned me. This was a giant Karri tree that had a presence beyond other trees visible to me at that moment. I did not hear a voice. The calling was simply recognition of a feeling arising in me with acknowledgment of the forest elder. A feeling that had within it an unspoken invitation to connect and listen as the tree had a gift for me. I found myself sitting at the base of the trunk with my back against it. Once again I closed my eyes.
It was not long before I was settled into stillness once again and I asked the elder tree why it had called me? With this question came an understanding that it could teach me about strength if I was to energetically connect. This was not something I had to make happen. All I had to do was accept and allow. Immediately on acceptance, I felt a surge of strength and power such that it frightened me a little. It had been a very long time since I had felt anything like this and I was not prepared for it nor expecting it. Energetically I recoiled and felt guilty that I was taking energy from this beautiful tree believing I had no right to do so. Remembering this was initiated by an invitation from the elder tree I decided to put my discomfort aside and allow. The tree spirit taught me that by accepting the invitation I was not taking anything from it, and it could share its spiritual medicine with me. At that moment I understood the difference between receiving and taking.
By joining with the tree in this way I was allowing my energy and consciousness to be realigned so that I could tune into the same source of energy it was connected to: A universal energy that brought life force and strength to all living things. This gift of connection and understanding was the spiritual medicine of the forest elder. I visited this tree often and much learning and wisdom came at those times, including that all of nature and Mother Earth herself had vast spiritual medicine and wisdom for all of us. We just need to show up the right way.
With Peace and Love
**Footnote: In the comments is a powerful message from a reader describing an Australian Aboriginal perspective of separation and the impact on his people. It is very moving and I encourage you to read it. Feel free to add to your thoughts and comments as they will be a valuable contribution.