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Easing the Journey Through Shadow & Light

  • Dawn

When I Am Among the Trees

Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week: Jiggling

This is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress. Just jiggle your entire body, gently but loosely. Or jiggle as much of you as it feels comfortable to jiggle. Flap your hands. And legs. And arms. Wiggle your torso. It works best if you jiggle pretty fast...maybe 130-140 times a minute. Okay, so probably you shouldn't jiggle your head that fast, or even much at all. But you could think of horselips as lip-jiggling.

Jiggling is playful, helps us not take ourselves so seriously, and discharges some of that fight-flight energy. As with all zapchen exercises, do it a little, then rest a little, then do some more, then rest.

When I Am Among the Trees

Sometimes I slow down enough to tune into a tree, enough--perhaps--to hear the trailing notes of an ancient song.

Lawrence and I are blessed to have some huge and beautiful old trees on our property. When we moved here there were, among others, three immense oaks and a stump of one that had, obviously, once been as massive as the others. A tree man told us he figured at least one, maybe more, were around 150 years old, already mature trees when the house was built in 1929. We are down to two senior oaks now, and those are showing early signs of old age--as are we! But they are still magnificent.

I sit lightly in the silence with a little openness and gratitude in my heart, and looking out the window I see this tree. I fancy I hear something, a tune perhaps, that is wise...slow...true. And ineffable. But we live our lives, this ancient tree and I, at such different speeds--can I ever slow down enough to be truly present and hear? Nonetheless it is always here for me, holding space and life and time. As trees do for all of us.

The branches, the roots, the moss-covered trunk, all are made of here. Humming along slowly, they live and breathe and have their being--fully themselves, giving themselves fully. The trees are here with us. If we listen.

Mary Oliver says it better than I can:

When I am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”

Mary Oliver

Until next time,


Photo/illustration credits:

Jiggling child, Clipart Library

Oak tree in summer, L. Walkin

Oak tree in winter, D. Hunt


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