Vale do Mondego, Alta Beira, Portugal
The day after Canela, the small stray visiting dog no longer was with us … and the cathedral of Notre Dame burnt for nine hours whilst the people of Paris sang to the Mary ...
So many tears were shed last night in the wake of the realisation that a last gesture of kindness had been missed, not delivered, not met.
So many tears rising from the places where deep sadness is tucked away and breath cannot be breathed.
Desolation at the realisation that a choice made differently might have allowed the two to have exchanged the gift that lived between them both … a gift not gifted is a gift not received. A human heart ripped open is a harsh way to meet the cracks and fissures of the hardened places as the tears begin to soften the way to open more to what the heart perceives and allows…
A message from a Peace Keeper some four months ago enters the open space of her grief and my witness as we both receive the truth of the moment. This four-legged companion of just three short days has brought us both bare faced and open to meet ourselves anew.
Here in this land where the energies and forces of heaven and earth come together in every action, living and dying, birth and death sit as comfortable companions at the same table.
This morning after a night of grieving I asked my body to lead the way to a plant song that could bring medicine towards me, possibly others, to enlighten and widen the communion taking place each moment. My only specific request was morning sun…
She brought me to lavender… lavandula stoechas penduculata to be precise… growing on the edge of a sloped terrace in small straggly clumps this is no lavender bush rom my English and Australian suburban gardens. Neither is this the lavender of fragrance and essential oils with scent permeating the skin with her light notes and oils when rubbed or sniffed. This one is much loved by many kinds of bees and insects and just pops up along the many caminos and ancient pathways here in the high grounds of the Serra Da Estrela national park.
These are randomly rooting themselves, freely propagating from single stems and rising up around the base of this long dead woody bush that may once have been the prolific white or yellow flowering broom. That’s how I noticed it this morning – a bright purple flower head
waving and shooting up through the dried branches of other. Upright, bright, softly shouting amidst the grey.
Aha... there is life here.
As I place myself at the foot of the dead one I see so many small ones, living and fresh, gathered all round… Wild lavender doing its thing is soft on the eye and all of my senses…to meet her more fully I drop, open and allow the shift to begin.
Come with me as I connect and I am certain sure that this benevolent being of the plant world will gift you as you read these words… allow yourself to open and sense the energies she brings towards your body...
At first, after greeting the deva of the plant and conveying to her the energies of my visit I was aware of soft…
everything becoming s o f t …
breath soft and slower…
After some time unknown it was the air beings who brought themselves to me…
breeze, birds, bees, breath
s l o w and e a s y …
s o e a s y t o b e h e r e i n t h i s p l a c e a n d b e i n g n e s s s s . . . . .
My fingers had travelled to my face and were gently slowly deeply massaging the skin reaching tissues and tendons and bones all over my face in the most delicious way… no thoughts, no design to follow or rules to observe, just allowing my body to deliver what she was asking for with this gracious plant. A quietude of touch and connection through fingers and face. They, my fingers, soon found their way to other parts of my head, opening, massaging, rolling into hard places that became soft through the touch and movement, opening, always opening and somehow stimulating through this super sensory and sensual and deeply relaxing touch. Was this the lavender showing me her gift or had I become her? It was as though my body was imbibing sensual touch and it was no longer me touching me but the plant itself working her magic through my fingers. The seduction of soft and slow was easeful and sublime…
My fingers moved down further to my chest and now were rubbing two points either side of the front of my heart…between the fifth and sixth ribs a tender and specific place where a shift of some further opening occurred. Breathing relaxed and the tension around my heart muscle relaxed with it..
This might have gone on endlessly had I not allowed a question to enter the space … Will lavender do what others have reported? Will I end up sleeping the day away? Is that the natural next place that arises from this kind of softening presence with the plant and my body?
I have no doubt the answer is yes and in this moment I am a little sad that I asked…would she, the lady lavender have taken me to a different space of dreaming?
It was so special to have this sense of soft, slow, intimate space with me and my body ... had sleep occurred it may have been disappointing…
Note to self…next session with this plant I release all ideas of destination and allow the dreaming to continue to unfold…
I take another soft look at the many sized lavender plants surrounding me and I open my gaze further to allow the life force energies to show themselves... I am aware of many moving energies, gently rising, long and verticular, spiralling softly and longly around each stem.
The deva is showing me the ether body as white featherless plumes, softly swirling and surrounding the individual stems, each giving rise to a bud or a flowering bloom and adding to the overall ‘effect’ or gift of this whole local plant community…this lavandulate (my term for a collective of lavenders and the undulating effect of their energetic movements…)
What I now know is that ne of the delicious effects of a lavandulate is this softening and easing energy that is so kindly to my body…
"Thank you," I whisper from a gladdened self... "You are a gift..."
From such an intimate and tender meeting with a much familiar plant such as this one would undoubtedly have anticipated that lavender would present herself as relaxing, but the funny thing is that when I am one to one with a plantI seem to be able to shed any previous ideas that others may have brought towards me about what the plant medicine is or has been. Together we sit anew, in our own conversation and everything is included. My body, the plant’s body. Our full range of senses and a constancy of awareness that I know would be impeded by any projections or expectations, defining ideas from other experiences. The wonder is that what I may have ‘thought’ lavender would gift me is vastly different to what she has.
I have been met fully. We sipped lavender bloom tea together. I received a facial and head massage facilitated by the plant and then settled into a new way of being together. With her and with me.
Of this you can be assured. Having been with this sage green, grey and many shades of purple one today I’ll not be with the scents and oils of her familiars in the same way…no longer will the being of this plant not be an intimate seductress of the tender touch of my body and no longer will I allow her to lift me to the giddying heights of bee without including me! Now that I have danced with, sung with, drunk with, played my golden bowl with, massaged with sniffed, tasted and journeyed with another being of light, we neither of us are ever the same again.
It is that perhaps the grieving tears of last night’s loss were expressing themselves this mo(u)rning through the tenderness of this encounter. I am aware again that a moment not met in the space of two beings coming together – four legged and other – or plant and me – is a moment on this earth plane of many that is only available here and, if not taken, is a moment forever lost.
I dedicate this meeting to the puppy Canela, his body and being and to the mighty rose windows at the cathedral of Notre Dame.
Each encounter, once met, forever changed.
I am ever grateful that beauty shows itself in so many forms on this wondrous beauty rich planet.
An ancient one in the form of tree stopped us,
Awed in wonder in my tracks, the field of this one’s presence asked me to slow my approach ... meet this one breath by breath. An inward bow of reverence and profound respect moved through me as I stood simply, un dressed in personality in the gazing and the lore…
No words do I have here, even from my core. I am somehow face to face with a being that both reduces and enlarges ‘me’ of thoughts and words into silence as I step gently closer towards … the dressing down of ideas, feelings and mental meanderings continues with each step. I say simply to this one in words without sound or breath… “I will come in the morning to be with you, get to know you a little… would that be okay?”
And here, in these last four words, “would that be okay?” I enter a doubting, diminished or deferred sense of my personal ‘inequality’ with one such as this.
Over the next 36 hours many areas of questionable integrity come up… the ways in which I do not know myself as this one does.
Clear, strong, integrous, steadfast, reliable, unwavering, generous, surrounded by many young ones…
I could go on with what magnificent qualities this one emanates as I sit now, just metres away and under one of its lower branches. For it was this morning after a night of less sleep that I have arrived to keep an appointment. Although 24 hours postponed, we are now together … and yet somehow also not. I realise as I sit that this mighty Cork Oak, is neither together nor apart. It just is as it is and as it has always been. The many young ones surrounding it know that as they look toward and incline in the direction of this mighty elder of their tribe they can draw out this ones qualities for themselves.
Oak is Oak. Quercus is Quercus. By nature through and through this tree is tree you can depend on.
Can you depend on you?
Can we depend on you?
Can I depend on you?
When you say “I do”, do you?
When you say “I will”, do you carry it forward?
For how long?
When or what is your personal marker of voice, of question, of will?
This one, by presence of body, of being in magnitude and emanation, calls me to notice and to unhide myself from any trace of inauthentic and hollow, flimsy me. This one is also known as suber, quercus suber, has been named for its outer skin of which the texture is corky bark, lightweight and somewhat elastic by nature...
This tree, as all trees, has no expectations and requires no promise from me or other. No debt to be owed nor any seeking of that which I lack.
Really it is simple. As one engaged in living with others, I ask, as though gifted by tree, what qualities of oak can I be that will allow this being to not extinguish its flame or qualities in a world asking for free?
What does it take to know the oak of one’s own being such that it can always be called upon, especially in me?