The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Why Talk to the Tree?

A reasonable person might ask what the use of exercises like "talking to the trees." Especially if you have deep-seated deservement or "Impostor Syndrome" issues, talk about finding your true self can be confusing, depressing, even frightening. If you believe that at the core of what you are you are an evil or twisted thing, better to stay with the ego-shields, right?

Well, from the Lifewriting perspective, dead wrong. Under sufficient pressure, your true self will be revealed. And if you have built a life, a career, a relationship based on a false image, the truth can shatter your existence.

Now, from my perspective, there is virtually no down-side. But then, I feel that our deepest and truest essence is that thing we call Love. Everything other than love that we feel or experience is part of the illusion. There are many routes to wholeness, to being an awakened adult. The route we talk about here is to take goals in all three major arenas, proceed toward them, and then deal with the stress that arises as you do. IF you are balanced enough to prevent the stress from becoming strain, the only way your mind, heart, and spirit can respond is by growing. In the process of solving the problems you encounter, you must become awake and adult, taking responsibility for your physical existence, your career, your relationships. Remember: it is EASY to succeed in one or two of life's arenas. It is a pure bitch-kitty getting all three of them going at the same time. After a while, sustaining that balance is tough, but a natural way of being. And then, at some point, you barely remember ever living any other way.

1) Do what you love, or love what you do. Your career/job should be a place of contribution and joy. Heck, you spend about half your waking hours associated with it--might as well enjoy yourself! And by the way...aim at making enough money to support yourself and one other human being. Frankly, if you don't have this much focus, you shouldn't be having sex.

2) Physical fitness, energy, aliveness, and a body in alignment with your own values. If you don't find you attractive, why should anyone else?

3) A loving, committed relationship with a significant other. Children, neighbors, pets, parents or siblings don't count here. The rules are different. With a husband, wife, long-term lover, you have to DEAL WITH YOUR SHIT. You can't just tell them what to do, or walk away without leaving a tell-tale string of wreckage.

The "Talk to the Trees" exercise strips away much of the b.s. What remains is much closer to the real you. Use that as your bedrock for future changes. In meditations, seek this same core truth. Then, go beyond.


Brian Dunbar said...

The "Talk to the Trees" exercise strips away much of the b.s. What remains is much closer to the real you.

Also .. if the trees talk back you get a better handle on your particular kind of mental issue.

Steve Perry said...

hIn my case, there was another ego-destroying agent at work when that happened. Certain kinds of ... chemicals offer a visa into zen-land. The problem is that these aids don't let you set up shop there, no green card -- but they can offer glimpses so that your appetite for more might be whetted. And there are aother paths.

Brian Dunbar said...

Um, that wasn't mean to say that the talking to trees thing is done _by_ a mental person ... only that if you happen to be .. ah never mind.

If I offended, sorry.

Steven Barnes said...

No offense at all, Brian. And yep, the tree answered. And yep, I know exactly how that sounds.

Althea said...

I talked to the humungous tree in my backyard. The houses in my neighborhood are so close together that the people who live to my right and left, as well as the three houses to the back could easily see what I was doing, from inside their houses.

My neighbors to the right did come outside while I talked to my tree and I kept on talking and ignored their waves. My oldest son said, "Mommy, what are you doing?" "Talking to this tree," I said. "Okay," he said, and went back to digging for worms.

Did the tree talk back? Absolutely. And if folks think I'm crazy, that's okay. I just blogged about that very real fear I've struggled with for years at

My two points are that all living things communicate..we may not understand them, but they are alive and are speaking. My other point is that we are all connected, One.

My tree said my rational mind is getting in my way. The tree said, "I'm here doing what I am supposed to do: provide oxygen and be beautiful. I may not have a "brain" like you, but I'm doing what I was created to do. What about you?"

I said that I am not doing what I was created to do and that I am struggling to regain what I have lost over the years. The last 6-10 years have been what I call the "deconstuction of Althea." Who I was is (mostly) gone, and what is being rebuilt is a woman with different values that the ones I was raised with. To break from parents' and extended family's values and beliefs, and find my authentic, real me, has been, the struggle. It's hard, lonely, but wildly rewarding in many ways.

Ten years ago I would have laughed at the idea of talking to a tree. Now I think I should do it every day.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have a "next step" suggestion

after you've talked to a tree
find a good one to climmb
and climb way up
this is good to do
in the woods
no other humans around
the p;oint being to
drop your "humanness"

climb high
and sit
for a long time
several hours

be swayed by the breeze
learn the tree dance
enter into the tree's
be the tree

learn how to "inhabit"
dare I say it
another human being

empathy shouldn't stop
at the doorwayy
beyond which lies
all that is
and is not

and what the world needs
has always needed
will always need
is the capacity
to be empathic

Pagan Topologist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Why talk to the tree? talk to result that you have from this state

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