Stillness and silence – lessons in the forest

30 03 2010

Just as a housekeeping note, my posts for the next week or so will be fairly photo-free, as I forgot my camera at home.  So, no pics for now…

I decided to leave the city, my “home town” and go back to the country, to the land where I grew up, for a day.  I had this feeling last night that I had to come back to the country, to ground.  I even picked an oracle from my mother’s little sayings chest and it said “listen to the wind, the trees and the animals.”

So, back to the forest I went.

I grew up in the country and sometimes forget that this is an integral part of my existence.  I was raised with real darkness, skies full of stars, and silence.

In the city, it’s easy to forget these things.  We are constantly bombarded by sounds, lights, smells and motion of all sorts.

This morning I went into the forest with little A.  We walked to a big beech tree, gave it a hug and turned back towards home.  On the way, little A stopped, found a dead fern and proceeded to explore how to remove its stem and leaves.  While she was doing this, I took the opportunity of her engagement in something else, to just BE.  I leaned up against a balsam tree, thought briefly about the ensuing stickiness and then settled into the stillness of the forest.

The forest is far from silent and far from still.  The movement and sound that comes from the forest, though, is so unintrusive.  It is the sound and motion of harmony: a wind blows, trees moves, a bird flies.  I looked around me and saw dead trees growing new moss and fungus, new life sprouting from death.  This is motion as well.  But this motion happens at a pace that has no time limit. A forest has ultimate patience.

Just leaning up a tree and observing the world, I felt all the cares falling away from me.  I felt the patience of the forest entering me.  I felt my pace shift from rushing around to experiencing how I feel about things, and allowing those feelings to flow out of me, instead of bottling up inside.

As I type this, my daughter is also “unwinding”.  All day she has been really screaming at me.  It seems that certain things that involve my discomfort are absolute necessities to her, for brief periods.  I know that she has had a lot of energy to process, with her daddy and I breaking up.  The stillness and silence has allowed her space to express herself now, and there’s a lot there.  Much of it is directed at me.  I feel that she is trying to force me into discomfort (not allowing me to eat, scratching at my body, kicking me out of seats etc) to show her discomfort with how she has been feeling.

Stillness and silence allows us to be, without distraction, in the space that we truly are.  If emotions arise or thoughts enter, the stillness and silence allow us to truly experience those things.  The forest is a perfect place for this process: in the midst of the cycle of life and death, the provider of the water we drink, the soil we need to grow our food, the air we breathe and the provider of countless products, foods and medicines.

I find the metaphor of the Mother so helpful when looking at the forest: the provider, the unconditional Lover, the nurturer, the spacious comfort, the cosmic “it’s OK, let me help you, I can take it”.

In the arms of the Mother I find more strength to mother.  In the stillness of the Mother I find the answers that I need coming back to me: patience, commitment, worship, surrender.  I find trust.  I find nourishment.  I breathe more fully, I accept the gifts of the songs and sounds and motions of inter-connected harmony.




2 responses

30 03 2010
Sarah Christina

Meme. You are a star to which I gaze in awe.
Thank you for being. And thank you for being in the way that you are with A.
You are beautiful, pure, amazing, grace. You bring tears to my eyes and tingles to my heart!!
Thank you!!
Thank you!
Thank you.

31 03 2010

🙂 Thank you!!
and thank YOU for being too! ❤

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