“Remember you are a breathing being, alive right now and here. Let yourself feel the mystery and the miracle of your breath and your life as often as you can.”
Dennis Lewis from The Ten Secrets of Authentic Breathing
Trees are the lungs of the Earth. They call to us this time of year with their vibrant colors and falling leaves. Trees in their vast diversity are often taken for granted until Fall or Spring arrives. Then our attention is riveted on either blazing color or verdant green.
Many cultures revere trees as living breathing sacred life that provide purification, bathing us with life giving oxygen and cleansing waters when our environment is in balance. They are also used for prayers and ceremonies and often are a central focus for communities.
I remember as a young mother reading the book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, to my young sons. I loved the relationship between the boy and the tree as each went through the stages of their lives.
As we enter the holidays where trees take a central focus for ritual and celebration, perhaps there is another relationship we can nurture that will remind us of the deep and abiding interrelationship that we have with trees, as well as give us moments of peace and a great reminder to breathe fully.
Here is a practice by Llyn Roberts given in the book Speaking With Nature: Awakening to the Deep Wisdom of the Earth, that I invite you to practice as the trees around us change and shift with the season:
“Find a tree you admire on your land, in your backyard, or at a nearby park. Stand on the earth next to this tree, barefoot if possible. Gaze at the tree and sniff the air. Try to sense the misty, nutrient-dense waters that evaporate from this tree being. Although you may not see moisture, you can imagine its release.
Breathe in the rich vapors that flow from the tree like a fountain.
Then breathe out sustaining energy to the tree.
As you continue to “tree-breathe”, attune to this tree’s essence. Feel its spirit for everything it offers. Importantly, feel your gratitude. Just as its invisible waters and oxygen nourish you, the love you release with each exhale is food for the tree; appreciation is a nourishing force.
This is a good time to commit to do what you can to promote healthy trees and air, with the tree as your witness.”
As we relate with the trees around us and in our communities we can be with them as a reminder to breathe fully taking time to simply be present to the moment we are inhabiting.
On the inhale silently say to yourself “ALIVE” and on the exhale, “NOW”. Then rest in the pause before the inhale naturally comes back in again.
This exact moment is a gift of awareness.
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