An encounter in the woods with a wise woman, angry man and a falling tree shifts everything.
The other day, I took my dog for a game of fetch in a field near the woods. As I drove up in my car, the parking lot was blocked by a giant pick up truck idling. The driver was out of his truck and standing a few feet away, bellowing at a tiny grey haired women who looked to be in her 60’s. (He looked to be in his 40’s).
There was a teen skate boarder dude between them. I assumed it was a domestic dispute. She seemed to be standing near a car that was her own, parked on side of road. A poodle hovered next to her, concerned and protective.
The man saw I could not get into the small parking lot his truck blocked and so went back to his truck and moved out of my way. I let my dog into the field, and watched as this fellow drove over to this woman’s car, got out, and continued shouting at her. I could not make out the details, but I could tell she was rattled. ‘
He drove off, and she did. I assumed she had left. The skateboarder was now gone. I was busy throwing the ball for my dog. Then, she came up behind me, her poodle in tow.
“That was so incredible” she said. “He was so angry.”
“Do you know him?”
She looked at me and I saw the fear and confusion in her eyes. I noticed she was shaking, her hands fluttering in the aftermath of adrenalin as she stroked her dog.
“No, I don’t know him. He was angry I had parked under that tree instead of the parking lot. He said it was illegal. He was calling the police,”
I looked over to where I had seen her car parked. Yes, it was a half on the road, half on a gravel trail. But i”d see many cars park like that before when the lot was full.
I said, “What did he care?”
“He said it was dangerous for the kids, For skateboarders who might not get by me or veer into the road to get around me.”
“What about the skateboarder I saw next to your car?”
“He was standing up for me. He said, ‘Hey dude, it’s fine. there’s lots of room.”
I looked back over at the road. This was a kind of quiet area, not a major road. It was a residential street — what the hell was this man over reacting for? You have to picture this: a five foot grey hair lady and a 6 foot plus 250 pound man…it was like David and Goliath.
Had a child of his been hit by a car? Had a friend or relative been killed by a parking infraction…I knew he could not be this angry without a slice of personal pain. He was.seeing the world through the lens of his story and through the finite self that suffers.
And I was seeing his story unfold through mine. So I asked myself: Why am I here in this very moment to witness this anger and pain? What part of me is angry and in pain? What part of my own psyche still suffers?
The woman looked shaken, still I told her, “Read the book, the Four Agreements.”
She asked for details of why. I explained to her this man’s rage was something to not take personally, that she was a trigger for his pre-existing story.
Yet what i did not say to her was the opposite truth, the paradox that we can take EVERYTHING personally. Because everything is a reflection of Self. All of it has import and meaning. Conflict outside of me is reflecting an inner conflict. That I was a witness to this man’s rage and that it was not directed at me, was a message for me…and I knew it had to to with my falling out with my spiritual teacher, who yes, is a man.
What happened next, was magic.
We were assaulted by a roaring sound, and snapping and crashing — as if a wild boar was charging.simultaneously, she and I both turned to the woods. Our dogs stood stock still. It grew in volume, and then there was a deafening ka-boom. We both saw it then. The huge tree that had hit the earth. A falling tree, A fucking falling tree.
I’ve never seen or heard a tree fall. Just by itself. No wind. No logger. She and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. We hugged. We high-fived.
She said. “I feel so much better. The whole day has shifted.”
I knew what she meant. The tree that fell was for me a symbol: the falling of the angry masculine paradigm that has been in place for too long. You see…I have been blessed by The Mother and have Returned to Her. But in doing so, there has also been a leave-taking of the old way. The authority way. The hierarchy way.
We are heading into a new paradigm and the old WILL TOPPLE…and we will laugh and high five as it does. We will see innocence in anger, We will see when one way falls, a new way emerges.
FALLING: Authority. Autocracy. Domination. Submission. Fear. Anger. Attack. Blame. Right. Wrong. Hate. Intimidation. Manipulation. Suspicion, Control. Shaming. Exclusion.
RISING: Mutuality, Integration. Co-operation. Collaboration. Parity. Reception. Respect. Curiosity. Wonderment. Love. Awe. Gratitude. Trust, Inclusion, Joy.
Its no longer about matriarchy, patriarchy. It’s about something so new, there is no name for it.
May the falling tree put wonderment into your world. The old way is crashing. The new way is rising. It’s cause for celebration.
I wrote this poem shortly after…
The forest called one day. I stood
at the edge, where light and dark
played together, this boundary
between one world and the next.
This edge possessed a sweet thrill.
the forest darkness contrasting
with the brilliance of the field in which I stood.
This field had been my playground: Daisies
as companions, butterflies whispering
in my ear and the wind, oh the wind.
It rustled my very soul.
Yet these dark woods
with unknown creatures called.
I entered, surprised
to find a luminosity
and new friends.
The toadstools told me stories,
tales of courage and loss. The moss
offered its softness as a bed for my sorrows.
The fallen trees shared their war stories
and the wolves revealed secrets
from before time.
When I wandered back to the sun sheared
field, I knew I’d never see the light the same way.
I knew now, Light was only whole when seen
through the eyes of Darkness.
I saw at once, the perfection
in both the forest and the field.
And laughed. And danced.
As I spun circles of love,
the forest met the field. They nodded
in deep respect, flirted even.
And when I wasn’t looking,
they merged. Just like that.
All at once. And lived happily
I won’t say a word about their child
other than this: She has her Forest Mother’s heart
and the eyes of her Father of the Fields.
She is truly not of this world. And yet,
stars stream from her laughter.
Can you hear her laughter? It’s contagious….
Awareness is here, rising.
PS: Did you know I’ve started a weekly 3-minute video blog? It’s free, fun and magical. Curious? Then subscribe here.