For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember my post on Creating a Heart Tree last year. Our River Birch is old and last year much of it died off. We did deep root fertilization both last Spring and this Spring to see how much of it might come back. And of course I put little heart stones, sage and Faerie ornamentation at it’s base to “help” – if only in my mind. :) We love our symbols :) It really started to come to life again last year – but only about half of it thrived. As you can see, it remained bald on top. So we spent Saturday pruning the dead wood. Tree artists we are not, but we did a pretty good job I think. It looks a little dwarfish, and asymmetrical. Yet I love still having this little guy in the front yard.
Pruning: to remove dead parts to improve growth – to cut out what is superfluous… Who knew that pruning a tree would become a metaphor for working with “the situation” that I spoke of in my previous post.
As we were pruning – me holding the rope and DH climbing the ladder with the chain saw to reach the dead wood - our neighbor came walking up the sidewalk with his chain saw in hand and offered to assist. I mean, how can you refuse a man with a chain saw, despite “the situation”, right? Yes, this is the same father of “the situation” from my last post. Which once again proves to me that life is a continuously unfolding story, and we never know how it’s going to unfold. My mind thought – this is interesting. I wonder why he’s doing this. How can I say anything to him about “the situation” now with this generous offer of help? Actually his offer of kindness was quite skillful in a way – it diffused “the situation” for the moment. So we exchanged pleasantries and gratitude and the pruning began.
As the three of us engaged in the act of pruning, focused on the tree, it became clear that now was not the time for discussion. It became clear, to me anyway, that somehow this was a time of getting clear, clearing away my image of him as “enemy” and to see the essence of the situation, to let go of the mental stories I had been telling myself, and to experience his basic goodness and humanness – and mine as well – at the heart of the interaction… This is not to make light of “the situation”, or to deny that there aren’t issues here that need to be addressed… I am still being watchful - but with more detached mindfulness, a deeper sense of awareness, and less of the mind reactive, angry energy that wants to “catch” his son in the act, to try to control his behavior and get him to see the “wrongness” of his actions.
As a wise commenter said on the last post, “make friends…” And I interpret that to mean to make friends with “the situation” – not the kid - but the situation – to make peace with it. If I befriend the situation, then he and his son are no longer my enemies and I am at peace… Bazinga! Sometimes these irritants in life are offered as a way of seeing beyond the surface situation, to the pearl of wisdom in the situation. The neighbor’s offer of help and presence working along side us actually diffused my emotional reactivity to “the situation” – my projection, my mental habituation about “the situation.” And I think that had to happen before any discussion could occur.
With space from “the situation”, and pruning some of my emotional dead wood, I realize that I have been attached to my anger and reactivity about “the situation.” Thus I was held captive in my own emotional castle of protection, feeling under siege, fortressing myself against “the enemy” by maintaining a reactive stance, instead of seeing clearly and responding from a clear space, as another wise commenter said – using Manjusri’s sword… But what I didn’t realize is that I would have to use that sword to cut my way through the veils that blinded me, and not bring my baggage into “the situation.” It remains to be seen if I can actually do this – to stand in the clear ground of Being within and take the appropriate action without my mind-muddied passive aggressive reactiveness getting in the way. Only time will tell…
Who knows what effect this “tree pruning” work will have on “the situation”, pruning out the dead wood of my emotions towards “the situation” – allowing a new awareness and consciousness to flow… For now there are no resolutions. And yet I feel a door has been opened for the possibility of dialogue. My heart has softened towards “the situation.” I’m not about to do battle with a 13 year old. I’m amazed that a 13 year old could create such anxiety, anger and reactivity in me! There is still a sense of watchful waiting, of discerning the most effective approach. Asking questions like: How do I need to engage here? Through my self-imposed mental suffering about the situation, through a sense of wounded anger and “rightness” of my position, through a sense of false power that comes from a need for self-protection? Or, from a place of awareness of our shared humanity with an open heart…
The pruning continues… It may take a while :)