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Monday, April 30, 2012

Pruning Trees - Pruning "The Situation"


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 :)


14 comments:

  1. This is such a wonderful story!! "My heart has softened". This is the "heart" of the story for me. So many times I have "opinions" about people only to spend some time with them and find out that they are just like me in so many ways. It changes everything.

    And isn't it neat how life provided this opportunity! It's kind of magical. And of course your awareness and openness allowed you to take full advantage of it. You didn't maintain a grudging stance and you could see that this wasn't the time for that particular conversation. And in the softening who knows where it will all go.

    Hmm, time for a little Spring pruning of my own!

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    1. Thank you ZDS :) Yes, I love how Life presents us these opportunities! Even the ones that don't seem like "opportunities" - like "the situation." :) Which has ultimately brought me back to greater sense of Awareness, a sense of openness to life, and hopefully clear seeing; getting out of that caboose of mind chatter, putting down the baggage, and embracing life in each moment, no matter how difficult it seems. Seems there's always a way through.

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  2. Hmm, such a difficult situation. I hadnt read "The Situation" before this post so went back and read it (where have I been???). apart from anger etc, it is scary and arrows, pellets and so forth can cause real injury. To me, whether he should shoot squirrels or not is not the question. The question is more whether he should shoot arrows or pellets in an area where other people are living and where children live nearby.

    I would be worried and scared. And also unsure what to do about arrows and pellets and fire possibly endangering myself and others.

    However, wow. This is amazing that Dad came over and helped you out. We just never know and that it diffused your anger and maybe helped you approach the situation from a different angle is wonderful.

    The boy himself must be so traumatized by the divorce and the fact that he is living apart from his mom. They say boys are more severely affected by divorce. His anger might be against his mom. He is confused and would be anyway without the divorce perhaps being 13. Not an easy age. Rebellious.

    If he really needs to shoot etc could he go to a nearby shooting range kind of thing? Just throwing that out.

    Hope this all works out for the best for all involved.

    Also, another thought. As opposed to only you approaching the family, could a number of neighbors approach with their concerns? like the family with kids etc. Then it is not just you but the neighborhood.

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    1. Suki, thank you for your insightful input. Yes, I feel that way too - it's the fact that he is using weapons in a residential area. His father told him to take the bow and arrow to the nearby field, which is surrounded by houses... I thought some kind of shooting range would be more appropriate as well - but my sense is that part of the issue is Dad doesn't spend enough quality time with him.

      I'm sure the boy is wounded from the divorce, which actually happened when he was 5 - so quite young for that kind of trauma. But he is not separated from his mother. She evidently lives close by and they share custody. The kids take turns going back and forth all week long. And I also see how the boy has learned to manipulate the situation to get what he wants from his parents.

      What bothers me the most is that he sets fires when he is angry, or shoots when he is angry, when his father is not there to supervise. He hasn't set any fires in about a month, so maybe he's gone past that phase. Hopefully!

      I doubt the other neighbors even know what's going on. :) And you'd be amazed how much other people don't really care if it's not happening to them :)

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  3. This is so very wonderful!
    The definition of magic, as I practice it anyway, is to work to change energies in order to gain a more positive outcome that will help with a need- it seems very clear to me that you are in the midst of working some serious magic. Many blessings to you as you work toward a solution! ♥

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    1. Thank you Sarah! Something is underfoot indeed, but I can't take all the credit :) I'm just trying to keep my heart open. But - I am *always* amazed how Life has a way of unfolding what we need... And blessings to you as well! ♥ :)

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  4. What amazing timing for your neighbor to suddenly stop by and help you out. I read the first post about the situation and wanted to comment but blogger wouldn't let me (this seems to be happening a lot). I was going to say that it sounds fairly dangerous to me (the playing with fire part, especially), and I think this poor kid needs some other outlets for his 13 year old imagination and energy!

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    1. Yes, I agree, I think part of the issue is he is bored. Not enough father interaction. And he *does* have a BIG imagination, which I see as good, but needs direction. Sorry about the blogger thing. Is it only happening when you try to leave a comment here - or on other blogger blogs as well? Blogger is doing some weird things lately. Glad you came back in :)

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  5. What a nice development to the story! New growth flourishing when the deadwood is cleared away. I'm betting on the 'situation' resolving into a happy ending.

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    1. Thank you David! Yes, surprisingly nice. I'm beginning to get that peaceful feeling too. Now if my mind will just cooperate :)

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  6. Make friend with the situations...That's a great motto for living, I think! I'm glad the "situation" is growing into something more peaceful now. :o) So good to catch up with yo here after being away for some days. :o) ((HUGS))

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    1. Hello Tracy! Welcome back from Vienna! :) Looks like you had a wonderful time. So many sites to see, things to do, etc. Looking forward to more photos :)

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  7. there's a lot to make friends with in some situations. only later is it so easy to see that the world was conspiring to help all along. i feel like we have connections to everyone and everything, but we have to find those connections in order to enjoy them, make sense of ourselves. you got me thinking...

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    1. Yes, that's true.....a lot to "make friends" with in every situation of life. The point is, I think, not to create an enemy out of the situations we find ourselves in, in our minds - causing suffering; or believing that life shouldn't be happening the way it is, or that things should be different than the way they are, because that is the way they are, even if we work to improve those situations, as you are. It's all about how we approach the situation in our minds. And sometimes when we befriend a difficult situation the way opens up for resolution.

      Don't know about "the world conspiring to help." Am not familiar with that line of thinking.

      However, I trust that when we are aware of that in us which is greater than our little "me" minds, then we experience that universal "connection" of which you speak. It's a matter of being aware of the universal Beingness that we all are, that "connects" us already. Yet, it is also true, that we need to find the people and places that support us in recognizing that Beingness that we are.

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