Bamboo Communion

Here in my secret spot among the bamboo clan, I reflect upon my summer love.

Through the ups and downs, our Divine Balance never faltered. This relationship provided a safe space with plenty of room for growth, forgiveness and adoration.  

Mother Nature and I have been together since earlier than I can remember. It was in this particular season of sun, however, that I attuned my conscious focus to the lessons within our relationship.

I began to contemplate my interactions with her in ways I never had before. I came to a beautiful realization; it is upon this relationship that I wish to base all others.

Mother Nature has pulsed energetic love through the bottoms of my feet, happily inviting me to frolic among her trees and flowers on sunny days. She’s lifted me with the salty waves of her ocean, reminding me of my ability to fly. My loved ones and I have bonded in her forest cathedrals, adventuring down trails and playing on swings hung from branches.

So much love. So much vibrant energy. So many opportunities to return to a childlike state of wonder.  

Like all beautiful relationships, time spent with Mother Nature often felt like a delicious fantasy. And like all healthy relationships, some work was required. 

Within a space of two-months, I was stung by bees thrice. The first sting came in the dark of night. I set my hand down in the grass and was certain I’d sliced it on something sharp; the pain was searing hot while its intensity escalated.

Shining a light to see where I’d been cut, I was surprised not to find a drop of blood. My confusion turned to realization when my focus shifted from the palm of my hand to the fabric of my shirt where my fuzzy assailant crawled.

The following two stings came so closely behind the first, that not for a second did I question the source of the burning offenses. Bee sting pain was now freshly familiar to me.

Sometime between the second and third sting, I contracted the most intense poison ivy rash I’d ever known. It covered me from head to toe with giant, weeping blisters. I learned of my body’s ability to produce sticky sap like a tree. I also learned that the word excruciating could be used not only to describe pain, but also, discomfort.

Because of our long history together, I never doubted Mother Nature’s deep love and genuine care for me. Never once did it cross my mind to end what we had. She is, after all, a living being as am I. She is allowed her moments of defensiveness, anger and reactive patterns.

Through my hurt and discomfort, I set out to understand my beloved partner. I thought about her bee children. How many times have they rightfully protected themselves against creatures of my great size?

I recognize I have luxuries they do not. I can walk the grounds of my surroundings without worry of attack, nor larger beings inadvertently crushing my existence. I can understand and hold space for their perfectly warranted reactionary responses.

I am also able to hold dear to my heart all that they have done for me. Beyond my delight at watching them bumble about from flower to flower, their lives’ work has fed me, sustaining my life and the lives of my loved ones.

Forgiveness of my little bee friends was as swift as the pain of their little stingers is sharp. I continue to appreciate their diligence and grace. My bee family has forgiven me, too, as they continue their work to pollinate the flowers of the foods that give me energy, pleasure and life.

I also wanted to understand my sister poison ivy. I’ve never met a plant I didn’t love, and she is no exception.

I learned about her history, and awakened to her plight. She is cunning and wise; a warrior who fights in the name of planetary healing.

Sister ivy has borne witness to the careless ways that humans have been polluting our shared environment. In response to the increase in levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, she has determinedly grown stronger. Since the 1960’s, sister ivy has increased her levels of potency two-fold. I commend her conscious efforts to get our attention through using her unique powers of persuasion.

Over the course of several weeks, I continuously caught myself with a tightly-clenched jaw as I itched my skin until it burned, sometimes opening wounds when my fingernails wandered out of the “safe zones.”

I could no longer go outside, for the sun scorched every blister with a merciless fury.

I couldn’t do much at all, really, as I periodically rubbed witch hazel-soaked cotton on my blisters and took two long baths with colloidal oatmeal every day.

My entanglement with poison ivy demanded a complete shift in my daily living. I knew she wanted to get my attention, and so I willingly opened my heart to her special means of instruction.

Sister poison ivy demanded that I take a break. Without her intervention, I would never have taken two baths a day for weeks on end. And yet, this forced recess felt good. The oatmeal soaks temporarily soothed my full-body itch, and so I was gifted a precious space to sink into this time with myself.

I was also given a lesson in solid boundary-setting. Sister ivy holds firmly to the limits she sets. She showed me how to be direct and consistent. I touched her one day, and the very next she let me have it. She did not whisper to ask that I stay away. Her booming statement defined her borders of comfort in no uncertain terms.

Once her boundary was set, she followed through with a staunch enforcement. I did not scratch for just a day. My blisters did not weep for only one week. I was covered, from my head to my toes, for just over a month. Her message never wavered; she made sure I heard her loud and clear as she stood her ground.

Throughout my recuperation, my beloved Mother Nature and I were kept apart. Our love for one another, however, never faltered. She honored the time I took to care for myself, and because she had always been so consistently there for me, I had no lack of faith in our forthcoming reunion. Truly, the space apart only grew my fondness for this Mother of mine.

I realized, upon reflection, that my summer love had taught me the dynamics of a healthy relationship. I was granted the following valuable lessons:

Love honors sensitivities, fears and insecurities. A willingness to understand and swiftly forgive is aided by an eagerness to remember all that is worthy, strong and good in the other.  

Admiration is a fine fuel for attending to the wisdom of a partner. With no space nor need for competition, we may open up to what our beloved has to teach.

To allow caretaking is to receive with grace. It is sometimes difficult to be present to impending burnout, and so let us appreciate our loved one’s nudges to take time for rest.

Be unafraid to ask for that which is needed. True love respects and honors clear boundaries that are fair and set with good intention.

Mother Nature and I have an established relationship that is healthy, consistent and kind. We play with one another and support each other. At times we advance, and on occasion we retreat. It is a relationship that shifts, with rises and falls, adventures and hardships, but through it all, there is always love.

Julie Clark, BCC, is the grateful founder of Cosmic Warrior Wisdom, LLC. She is a Board-Certified Coach, and her specialties include Entheogenic Medicine Integration, Narcissistic Abuse Recovery and Psychospiritual Coaching.

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