When I was little, I’d often climb the tree in our back yard in Iowa. Once I got to the top, I’d forget about my bestie Matt waiting down below and the things that troubled my heart. My sole focus was the feeling of sun on my face and a connection to something bigger than myself.
After a while, I’d climb down to tell Matt about the remarkable things I saw from up there.
I’d nearly forgotten about the girl in the tree. She surfaced about thirty years later, in a moment of complete desperation when I needed a new view, a divine connection, a certainty that my story was not yet over. Once I recovered her, I never let her get lost again.
I eventually told people about her. It was a group of fifty people who had come to the redwoods of California to uncover what they’d lost, forgotten, or abandoned. That same day, one of them took this photo of me looking up at the 1200-year Redwood, known as the Mother Tree.
That tree was so tall I couldn’t see the top. I remember thinking:
I need to tell people about this.
Immediately coming to mind was the quote that’s driven me throughout my healing journey.
“If no one speaks of remarkable things, how they can be called remarkable?” Jon McGregor
It was said to me during an interview at a coffee shop that took place very early in my pursuit to live a less distracted life. A 20-something editor for a trendy local magazine asked me how my journey had begun. I hesitantly described how my daughter Avery kissed my palm when I’d chosen connective presence over productivity, efficiency, distraction, fear, approval, and control.
I held my breath thinking the young editor wouldn’t get it.
With tears in her eyes, she leaned in and said, “I love creating artwork, and I rarely give myself time to do it… but your story brings to mind the last art I made using the words of novelist, Jon McGregor. ”
“If no one speaks of remarkable things, how they can be called remarkable?”
I share this story today to validate your Dreamer in the Tree. Because the reality is, as we grow farther and farther away from childhood, the demands and stresses of life increase. We forget we have the power to say yes to what delights our heart and soul, makes us feel alive, and brings us peace.
But in order to live as our most joyful, authentic selves, we must remember.
And we can do this by speaking of remarkable things, the moments that fill our eyes with tears … blanket us in peace… connect us to another human being on a soul level.
Pay attention to those moments. Because they are telling you something deeply important about yourself. Even more, such moments are whispering something about the kind of offering you are here to make in this world.
My friends, in less than one month, I will be leading my Soul Shift weekend retreat in the majestic hills of Boone, NC. Undoubtedly the most meaningful aspect of my work is gathering with my community. There is something truly magical about getting in touch with the forgotten and neglected parts of ourselves while in the loving presence of those on a similar journey. I have deeply missed live gatherings and believe this one will be especially significant.
The past year and a half have offered a painful reminder that isolation and depletion come with great cost. Helping us to restore, heal, and thrive will be opportunities that honor our deepest needs for connection, curiosity, and self-compassion. This is what the Soul Shift weekend retreat, November 5-7, is designed to provide.
I am deeply honored the Art of Living Retreat Center has invited me to join their list of acclaimed faculty members and even more honored that many of you have signed up to meet me there. If today’s invitation sparks something inside you, please read more about the retreat by clicking here. There is a place for you.