a story of a Maple Tree

The first house I truly remember living in sat on 10 acres of land north of Minneapolis. There was a small apartment in the basement of our house.

When Danny moved in 1st grade, I challenged him to a race across the field and back. I won. Boys don’t like girls who are better than them.

But I didn’t know that then.

In 2nd grade we played the Kissing Game at recess. The boys chased the girls and then kissed them. I always won because no one caught me.

Or maybe I was losing.

Three things you cannot recover in life: the moment after it’s missed, the word after it’s said, and the time after it’s wasted.

I had a fuzzy bear backpack that could fit 2 books inside. I would pack my bag and climb the great big Maple tree that shaded our house. And I would read for hours and hours and hours.

When I climbed to the very top of the tree, I could see over the brown roof of our house. I could see the long dirt driveway and the highway and even a little bit of the paved roads of the city neighborhood across the highway.

Perched high in the Maple tree, I felt grounded and connected and safe.

In meditation, the first place I begin is grounding. So much of life calls us to be outside our body in mindlessness, anxiety, worrying, striving, trying. And so I imagine my body with roots like that Maple tree.

We have been knocked down in life: yesterday, today, tomorrow.

At last summer’s Own Her Power retreat, a woman shared her story of failure and the gut-wrenching feelings of self-doubt and despair she walked through for 2 years.

We get knocked down – we get laid off, fired off, denied support, yelled at, divorced, remarried, our dreams get crushed, we don’t always get our wishes.

We feel defeat and we go into isolation and we want to stay in a corner and let the world pass us by. We start to feel small and insignificant.

That bears repeating.

We start to feel small and insignificant.

That part is OK. It’s what happens next that breaks my heart: we believe our feelings and we know we are small and insignificant.

This is the greatest lie of all times. When we believe the thought and feeling that “I am insignificant,” we play small and we mistrust other women and we isolate. And we feel relieved because we didn’t try, so we didn’t fail.

Our mind actually causes us to think that we avoided falling in a huge pit by not trying, by isolating, by believing we are small and insignificant.

Love, you are a Maple Tree. You are stronger than your dreams, taller than your obstacles, and deeper than your storms.

Your roots grow deep and connect with the roots of other women, in support, in solidarity, in community.

The year we moved away from my Maple tree, a great storm swept through and tore the tree in half. A lessor tree would have been completely destroyed.

Not this tree. I believe the tree was honoring our time together.

The wind rattles, the thunder claps, we may see other trees fall, we feel fearful and full of self-doubt. And if we succeed where others have failed, we may feel guilty.

I invite you to explore these emotions. This is life. It’s time to #lovethislife.