WISDOM STORIES – MOTHER OAK
I love it when the ripple effects of stories spread out, inviting authenticity, vulnerability and raw human beauty. Sparked by our last Wisdom Story, I share another guest post from a deep and wonderful soul, Lorna Howarth. Lorna and I have known each other for little over a year and in that short space of time have empowered and encouraged the other to show up and stand up in the world, sharing our stories and giving others permission to do the same. Lorna is the Co-Founder of The Write Factor and an amazing soulistic adventurer.
How sharing our deepest moments of shadow and sorrow can kindle wisdom, empathy and self-awareness
I’ve been working on ‘restorying’ my life with Genevieve Boast from Beyond Human Stories for some time now, and whenever we connect, there’s a moment of synchronicity that just takes my breath away. For example, in Gen’s most recent Storyhack she shares the deeply moving account of her friend Tanah Whitemore who was assaulted and raped while living in Alaska. During the ordeal, Tanah was transfixed by the beauty of ice crystals covering the branch of a tree she could see through the perpetrator’s car window. She was suffused with tranquillity and felt no fear, but became immersed in the light and beauty of that sparkling branch. All these years later, what does she remember of the ordeal? The branch. It held a beauty that could never be taken from her.
Tanah’s ‘branch’ memory resonated with me massively, as I too have a ‘branch’ story. I’d had my left breast removed as part of my cancer treatment, but even five years later, I felt mutilated, a freak, really wounded. I was walking our dog in the local beautiful woods, past what my friend and I call ’The Mother Tree’ – a massive Oak who had a blanket of chartreuse-green moss on the north face of her trunk and silvering bark on the south. I leaned against her trunk, wrapped in my thoughts of self-pity and looked up into her branches. There, I saw one of her major limbs had been ripped and torn by a storm, it was ragged and starkly broken. And then I felt Mother Oak speaking, though it wasn’t in words – more an awareness that came to me: “Look, I too have been wounded, but I’m still strong, and I’m still beautiful.” It was a turning point for me. I’ve never gone back to feeling so damaged – yes, I’ve been wounded, but I’ve healed and become stronger. My own branches still reach to the sky for new and wonderful experiences. I thank Mother Oak for her wisdom.
When we share our darkest moments, we realise that for all of us, in the midst of fear, there is love and in the midst of despair, there is hope. These soul stories connect us all and help to deepen our conscious evolution.