I grew up surrounded by forest in the south east of England. At that age I took having hundreds of acres of mature pine right outside my window for granted, not really realising how precious and rare it was. I went into the forest daily, often with our yellow lab dog and sometimes alone. And then when I hit my teenage years and life became extremely stressful I turned to the trees for support and council. The trees seemed big enough to withstand the huge emotions that I was feeling, they listened to everything I said without judging me, without rejecting me, without shaming me. This was very different to the reactions that I was receiving from many of the adults around me at that time and the forest became a place of safety.
When I left that part of the world aged 19 and moved to the Bristol in the West of England I became embroiled in the vibrancy and highly stimulating energy that poured out of this city. I started working with marginalised people, people who had fallen by the wayside through addiction and mental health difficulties. And my relationship to trees started to move more into the background. I did however always have a particular tree or group of trees that I went and spent time with in most houses that I lived in, trees that I went to when I was immersed in grief, overwhelm or simple confusion. Six years ago I moved to rural Wales, literally a stone throw from the Irish sea and for three years these waters became my guide, teacher and the place I turned to when things felt too big or too complicated to make sense of through human communication. I started to reflect more deeply on how the land and the elements affected me and started to notice that sometimes I would curl up in a belief of insignificance, feeling intimidated by the fortitude of the mountains or the limitless expanse of the ocean. When I took time to explore this reaction I understood that not only was I experiencing insignificance, but also shame and neediness; the very feelings that I turned to the trees for solace from in my youth. And as I continued in my enquiry, more pieces of the puzzle took their place. I discovered a body of work called the Work that Reconnects that teaches a fundamental principle that Gaia, our earth is alive and that we are all part of a living system in which everything is completely dependent on everything else. Now to many cultures this is still a given, but in the capitalist west there is such a huge disconnect from nature that everything is simply seen as a resource for humans. Overtime the scale of my emotions and reactions to life started to make sense, I realised that the depression that I had felt from very young was not only a response to personal unpleasant incidents but also a healthy reaction to a crazy world that plunders natural resources to benefit very few, endangering the masses of species along the way. The shame and neediness in the face of nature made complete sense as I started to realise at a deep level that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the trees, the air, the earth, the water.... Reconnecting to myself as nature rather than separate from nature is an ongoing journey, a beautiful process of unlearning all the beliefs and conditioning that taught me I was separate and superior. It is the ultimate antidote to loneliness, we truly can never be alone in this life. But it is more than a soothing healing balm, awakening to the truth that all species are our relatives is a clarion call to live accordingly.
Three years ago I started working for an organisation called TreeSisters. A unique audacious being that like World Pulse, invites and supports women to rise to their full potential. TreeSisters has a clear mission - to reinstate feminine consciousness back into its natural balance on our planet and to reforest the tropics as soon as we can! We are already planting over two million trees a year back into the places on the planet that have been the most severely deforested including India, Cameroon, Brazil, Nepal, Kenya and Madagascar and many more are planned. We are on a journey to 1 billion trees a year! Without trees there can be no humanity, they are our lungs, purifying our air so that we can breath clean oxygen into our bodies. We currently cut down 15 billion trees every year, 55,000 every minute, so we need to move fast..... This coming Sunday it is Earthday... (Even thought everyday is earthday really). TreeSisters are holding two free online events, a beautiful meditation to support us to drop more deeply back into our true nature followed by a beautiful conversation between experts in our planting projects from the tropics who will explore the radical impact that planting locally and globally. I would love for you to join us - you can register here https://billiontrees.me/earth-day-2018?inf_contact_key=4c295fcab4972923e... and if you feel to share it with other women or men in your life please do! Thank you very much for reading - with much love in sisterhood with the trees, Jenny Xx