To Feel Calm is a Powerful Force

April 11, 2020

For weeks now I’ve been writing this piece over and over in my head. Months, really. Editing as the situation evolves.

Editing as my own perspective evolves.

Instead of an otherworldly-looking virus in my headline photo, I opted for a picture of what Mother Nature is up to while we’re in a state of limbo.

She’s growing. Blossoming. Changing every day. Sharing her beauty with us for free.

Early on during this crisis, I was feeling everyone’s fear so strongly that I was exhausted. I felt like Dorothy in the poppy field. 

My dear friend with a car drove us to the woods and if ever I needed proof of the healing power of Nature (especially trees) it was that day. The next morning I nearly bolted out of my bed feeling totally recharged. It was as if someone had waved a magic wand of energy over me.

A few weeks later I walked up to a city park to be with the trees. I was alone in the park, looking in awe at a Forsythia beginning to bloom when a police officer told me I had to leave. The park was closed.

It seemed so ironic. “What could be better for us right now than sunshine, fresh air, trees?” I thought. Especially those of us living in the city, unable to escape to the woods.

I have not been watching the mainstream news for more than 5 minutes here or there – other than to check in on where I’m no longer allowed to go. Yes, I promise, this is possible.

Many of you will think this irresponsible of me. But, I believe it’s important to choose wisely what we allow into our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. 

A neighbor who used to work as a producer on a mainstream news network recently told me that her job was to ramp up fear and boost ratings.

And the fact that the US is one of only two countries in the world where pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise on television ought to be a waving red flag.

So, I’d love for you to check-in with yourself right now and ask if the news is feeding your fear.

One constant has remained throughout these past months and that is that I feel fearless. Not in a smug, “I’m not afraid of anything” kind of way. It has been strange, I’ll admit. I’ve felt like I’m riding a wave of calm surrounded by an ocean of fear.

To feel calm is a powerful force. A gift.

I know that fear – I experienced it for 50 years of my life. Fear and anxiety ruled me. I worried about everything, but most especially health-related things.

I was the Queen of fear.

And then a prolonged chronic illness along with some traumatic life changes led me to the world of mind/body/spirit medicine and everything changed.

I slowly healed.

With each new crisis, both in my inner and outer world, I began to feel like I was floating above them.

Like now.

I started to realize that I was not so afraid of dying anymore. That’s a pretty big claim, I know, but it’s true. I don’t look forward to my death and I work really hard at keeping myself healthy, but I don’t worry about it much. Technically I’m in an age group that should be concerned about contracting this virus. I’ve had lung issues. I am not worried in the least.

It seems to me that what’s at the core of so much fear right now is simply mortality. Our own death and the death of our loved ones. 

I’m not this perfectly evolved soul who never feels the emotion of fear. But, I feel like I’ve been gifted with this calm right now for a reason. 

Right before the new year, I bought the most magnificent set of oracle cards called “The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck and Guidebook” by Kim Krans. Every single day I have pulled a card for guidance from the animal spirits.

Several years ago while traversing a rather difficult period in my life, animals started showing up in my dreams in the most magnificent ways. Dozens of gorillas on a beach, a field of lionesses, a bear who came into my cottage and when I fainted from fright, gently picked me up and placed me on the sofa before leaving the cottage.

I had a healing dream with a pigeon and I’ve never looked at them in the same way.

So, I feel very connected to animal spirits. 

A few weeks into this strange time I asked what I needed to know about my role in all of this. As I began to shuffle, a card flew from the deck and it was the Buffalo. Over the past weeks, this card has shown itself to me two more times.

“The hooves of the mighty Buffalo are grounded in the Earth, yet its heart and mind rise toward heaven. The Buffalo sees challenge, hardship, or a bump in the road as an opportunity for upliftment. Therefore the Buffalo does not fear death, illness, or misfortune…its gentle eyes look to the road ahead, trusting every turn. May we all experience this elusive yet life-changing bliss from time to time, and may we allow this card to remind us that life is a precious gift.”

I want to share the wisdom of this card with you. Read it again and know that you, too, can live life like this if you choose.

I am in my sixties now and it might be harder for someone younger to embrace the wisdom of the Buffalo. But I want you to know that all the hard things in life – grief and illness and death and hardship can lead you to a state of Grace and make your life so much richer once you get to the other side. 

We all have our dark nights of the soul.

This seems to be one giant collective dark night of the soul.

It certainly has shown us, without a doubt, just how connected we really are.

I wish I could magically wipe away the fear being felt right now by people I know as well as strangers I encounter. I see the fear and uncertainty behind their masks.

Maybe I’m sounding like Pollyanna during a pandemic – so let me say

I am not making light of the situation and I feel deeply for the millions of people worldwide whose health and livelihood are being drastically affected. 

For the healthcare workers and everyone else on the front lines working tirelessly.

For the people still bagging our groceries and delivering our packages and picking up our trash.

For those who are living with a level of fear like never before.

As though we’re in a war.

People are dying and their loved ones are grieving.

Along with the fear, the grief is palpable.

In the ancient practices of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), grief and sadness are said to reside in the lungs.

An Ayurvedic doctor once told me I had old stale grief in my lungs and he suggested a certain type of pranayama (breathwork) to eliminate it.

He said to take a slow, deep breath, rising up from the abdomen into the ribcage, and then release it slowly, while making a snake-like hissing sound through my teeth. I like to picture squeezing out every last little bit of grief.

So, please, if you are feeling this grief, remember to Breathe.

My Ayurveda teacher, Maya Tiwari, always spoke about how tenuous the change of seasons is in terms of our health. Especially winter into spring.

Spring is Kapha Season and many people suffer from stagnation and excess mucus along with lung ailments. It is naturally a time for cleansing. Whether we put effort into cleansing or not, the body will try to do it anyway.

Many people experiencing common spring colds and allergy symptoms are worried they have the dreaded virus. Elevating their fear. I understand. I remember that fear. But, it can compromise the very immune system you want to be taking care of. 

I am blessed right now, compared to many, no doubt about it.

I work at home in a space that I love. With lots of plants to nurture me. 

I like to Cave.

It helps to be an introvert during these times because we recharge by being alone. But, it must be extremely challenging for the extroverts among us who recharge their energy in the company of others.

One thing that I noticed early on was how inundated I felt by all of the wonderful offerings coming my way via email and social media.

Meditations, meet-ups, webinars, etc. I received four or five of the same poetry chain letters. I love poetry, but I had to decline.

I had just signed up for Rosemary Gladstar’s year-long course “The Science and Art of Herbalism”. Homework and all. I have not even cracked it open.

Overwhelm can derail me and in this instance, my intuition has been shouting at me to just get quiet. 

Go within.

Deeper into the Solitude.

I love Solitude but sometimes I let myself get caught up in the chatter around me. Mostly my own. 

And so, I’ve been deleting emails by the dozens and saying a silent “Thank you, but I graciously decline.” I promise it’s ok if you do the same to mine. 🙂 

In addition to the fear and grief, I want to address another energy swirling around out there.

The energy of Judgment.

There is the judgment that some of us aren’t taking this seriously enough. 

There is the opposite judgment that people are overreacting.

Believe me, I had to check myself early on because I was definitely in the second group. Once I saw myself there I managed to shift to a place of more compassion for the fear I was seeing – especially in my friends’ eyes.

We are all vastly different and at different places on our journey in this lifetime. We process life differently – from a different lens. And so, naturally, our reactions are going to differ. 

I’m writing with some trepidation because I feel this energy of judgment so strongly.

I have been admonished by a few people who don’t feel I’m acting appropriately. Without a mask. Or gloves. 

Counter that with my judgment that people were falling in line with these draconian measures far too easily. Without asking questions.

I wrote a post once about the two little (I refer to them as) beings who sit on my shoulders called Judgment and Blame. They pinch me every time I slip up, as all humans are apt to do.

I still have a good friend who is hugging me regularly. And I’m hugging her back. We comment on how strange this world has become that we feel like criminals for touching.

I left the city last week with my friend, again, in her car, to the woods. And while some reacted with “How wonderful!” others were angry that I had the audacity to leave my home.

To breathe the fresh air. Sit with the trees. Watch the turtles sunning themselves on rocks.

Today, this same friend told me that a nearby city is using drones to tell people to disperse and go home.

“Fashionable” face masks have invaded my Instagram feed.

If you’re questioning the status quo, you don’t care about people dying.

I learned that there is something called Moral Panic in sociology and that this is a classic case of it.

Okay, here I go.

I have many many questions about what’s behind all of this. I can remember, right when this crisis began developing, that something didn’t seem right.

My intuition was on high alert.

Sagittarians are truth-seekers. We truly can’t help ourselves. 

I remember that one of the very first things that popped into my head was mandated vaccinations.

I saw in my mind’s eye a world where we wouldn’t be able to travel or get a driver’s license without them.

And, it seems I wasn’t alone in having these thoughts.

As someone who works very hard at keeping myself healthy, the issue of medical freedom is extremely important to me.

Soon, I started going down the rabbit hole of information that you won’t find on mainstream media. And, yes, that includes CNN. Remember who’s paying their bills. The pharmaceutical companies.

CNN is owned by AT&T, a company front and center in the rolling out of 5G technology. If you’re concerned about the health implications of this virus, you might want to educate yourself on 5G.

I don’t want to be writing about this stuff. I would much rather write about being with the trees, what I’m learning about the plants,  talking with Miss Yarrow, making kitchari, or Elderberry Syrup, or hanging with the animal spirits.

My life path number is 2. The Peacemaker. We can see both sides of an issue. We don’t like confrontation and anger can make us physically ill. I know I’m in dangerous territory here.

And yet, that darn Sagittarian energy keeps lighting up and urging me to seek the Truth.

So, pardon me while I take a moment to Breathe and come out of the rabbit hole.

I live in a world connected to other healers who practice Ayurveda, TCM, Shamanism, Herbalism, Energy Medicine, etc. which have been around for thousands of years. These modalities teach you preventative practices and being in tune with your precious body, mind, and spirit. 

Healing with plants (yes, even just by being in their presence – i.e. my time in the woods) has been around as long as man has walked the Earth.

In some Native languages, the term for plants translates to ‘those who take care of us’.
–Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Braiding Sweetgrass”

There are plants to heal every human ailment.

They wait patiently for us to ask for their help.

There are hundreds of plants with antiviral properties.

Plants that help strengthen our immune system to help it do its job. Plants that fortify the lungs, lubricate them, expel mucus. Plants that calm the nervous system.

And on and on.

I did not grow up in this world. Not at all. I didn’t have a mother or grandmother who knew about the plants and could teach me. We never even had a vegetable garden.

I was born in the fifties and we ate all kinds of horrible things. Baloney, Wonder Bread and Spam. Canned vegetables. And on and on.

I came to this holistic model of healing very late in my life. I think it was a gift because I did the hard work. 

Western medicine had only offered me pharmaceuticals which added more symptoms to my already long list of chronic symptoms. And so I turned away from it.

I began to listen to The Voice. My intuition grew stronger.

The plants began to speak to me during those years and so I honor them by listening and learning how they can help us.

I am still learning and will be learning about them until the day I die.

Because, as a Sag, my life-long search for Truth comes with an insatiable hunger for knowledge.

Now, during these times, I want to shout this wisdom about the plants from the rooftop. 

Many people today are completely detached from the old ways and only know Western (Allopathic) medicine, which created a model whereby everyone needs to “check with their doctor” and then listen to her/him as the final authority. This system has only been around a couple of hundred years.

This is no offense intended to doctors, and if I broke my leg I would certainly seek out a doctor rather than an herbalist (although there are plants that would also support the healing process :)). Western medicine is very good at fixing broken things.

But medical schools still barely teach basic nutrition. 

Food is medicine. 

Plants heal.

Bureaucracy doesn’t even allow doctors and other Western medicine practitioners time to be the healers most of them went into medicine to be.

Please read my words carefully before lashing out at me. This is not a vilification of doctors or nurses or anyone else who is a part of the Western medical system. Especially not now. They are healers. They are angels. They have my utmost respect.

I still consult with other healers when issues with my own health arise. But, I so passionately believe that we need to take back control of our own health.

This is a wakeup call that the Allopathic medicine model just isn’t working, including, as we’re seeing now, the hospital system.

I deeply appreciate and admire those on the frontlines who are having to deal with the crisis but a hospital is a place I never want to be. So many people who are scared and completely detached from knowing how to care for their bodies end up in the hospital, only to add to the chaos there and increase their chance of death.

How am I staying healthy and grounded? With the simplest of measures.

Going to bed early. 

Staying hydrated. (this is a hard one for me!)

Knowing what foods nourish my body. Fortifying my immune system.

Going outside and walking/biking, sitting in the sun with a good book.

Talking to the beloved city trees who are keeping me sane.

Meditating.

Watching funny movies.

Dancing! Joy is an antidote to fear. And so I dance. Music lifts my Spirit. 

Find your Joy. It’s impossible to feel fear when you’re feeling Joy.

Since I can’t be in serious Nature right now I journey and daydream about where I want to be.

The simplest things can have the most profound healing effect.

I mentioned earlier that we all seem to be going through a collective dark night of the soul.

With all of the chaos, the questions, the restrictions, there is also, without a doubt, the energy of transformation on the horizon. Chaos always seems to precede transformation.

People are taking a hard look at their relationships, their jobs, their beliefs, and what their life purpose might be.

Change is coming. Big change. 

Boy, the astrologers were right. All last year they told us about what was looming ahead in 2020. And, unfortunately, according to all of them, this crisis will not resolve itself in a neat and tidy manner. It looks to be a tumultuous year. So, brace yourself. Dig deep. Change rarely happens overnight.

And now, I want to circle back to where I started – with Mother Nature.

When life as we knew it stopped, I, along with many others, remarked at how glad we were that Mother Earth was finally getting a break from the irreverent way we humans have treated her.

The fact is, we are Nature.

But our big brain species somewhere along the line decided to try and dominate the plants and the other animals, rather than living in harmony as neighbors. It seems that it took something monumental to happen to us for the Earth to feel some relief.

I don’t know what truly is behind this crisis. I don’t know if we’ll ever know the truth of it. But one thing’s for sure – we cannot go back to our old ways of doing things. Especially in terms of our treatment of this precious planet – who would, by the way, be just fine without our species.

One of the first things I wanted to do was to add to the forest that I’m growing via TreeSisters.org. Because shouldn’t we all be planting more trees?

This morning I was wondering what my wise teacher, Maya Tawari would be saying and I found this quote on her Facebook page. I guess she taught me well. 🙂

“The Immunity of Mother Earth is threatened, and therefore all of life is at risk. It is about building the Immunity of our Conscience; our Humanity toward Mother Earth, Mother Nature. She is fragile, and thus we are fragile. Take precautions but do not align with the fear and survival globules! We must strengthen our Simplify; Lessen the use of Mother Nature’s Resources; Give back to the Earth; Comfort those who are fragile; Do not allow the collective fears into your psyche. Pray for Mother Earth. Be good to Mother Earth. Be good to yourselves. Re-align with Mother Moon. Practice Simple Sadhanas. Vocalise Mantras. Weep with Mother Earth. Hug her trees. Sit with your feet in her streams. Pray for the Waters.” Maya Tiwari

I want to give my fellow humans the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that we can collectively change our ways. And then, I see discarded face masks and rubber gloves littered everywhere and my heart sinks.

This bold piece of Truth by Kristin Flyntz came my way and I want to share it with you. It is the first and only time you’ll see the C-word mentioned in my post. That’s been intentional. It has been a huge trigger for me, seeing it everywhere. It seems to have taken on a life of its own.

An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans

“Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high-speed merry-go-round to a halt
We will stop
the planes
the trains
the schools
the malls
the meetings
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about the quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Stop.
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Ask why.
Stop. Just stop.
Be still.
Listen.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you if you listen.”

Kristin Flyntz

“For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” William Shakespeare

If ever there was a time for us to remember to connect our head with our heart it is now. We have an opportunity to slow down, do the deep work, take an honest look at our habits and how we treat the Earth, each other, and ourselves.

It is also a time to remember that it’s okay to ask questions. 

I have compiled a longer than usual list below of some resources that might interest you. Open your mind and your heart. Pretend you’re a Sagittarian. 🙂

Just as I’ve been mindful of not ingesting the mainstream news, so too have I been using my gut as a guide when I read from alternative independent sites. I don’t agree with everyone 100%. I’ve honed my intuition over the years and you should, too.

What feels truthful to you?

When you have some time, perhaps make yourself a cup of tea and have a read. They are all worthy of a look, but please, don’t miss reading “The Coronationby Charles Eisenstein, which is one of the best essays I’ve read during this time of change. 

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and my concerns here with you. I hope that something I’ve said will give you some comfort and maybe a little food for thought.

I have never fretted so much about hitting “Publish” than I am right now. This was written with all the Love and Truth I could muster. But it’s time to let it go.

If you made it all the way through this long post, you get a virtual gold star and know that I so appreciate you!!

I’ll leave you with this loving-kindness meditation that I’ve used many times during turbulent airplane flights. It’s wonderful for calming fear, especially when linked to the breath.

I am happy. I am healthy. I am safe. I am at peace.

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. I have never had to ask this of you before, but I am asking it now. Please do not send me any angry emails or leave nasty comments. There is enough angry energy out there and trying to stay centered is a daily process, especially now. If anything I’ve said or shared here has triggered or angered you, please feel free to unsubscribe. Thank you for understanding. xo

P.P.S. Most of my sharing lately has been on Instagram. Join me @shewhositswithtrees if you’re there!

The Coronation by Charles Eisenstein
The Rich Roll Podcast with Charles Eisenstein
Blowing the Whistle on Covid19
“Herbs for Immunity” – Rosalee de la Foret
What are Anti-Viral Herbs” – Learning Herbs
Building a Healthy Immune System – Banyan Botanicals
How to Strengthen Your Lungs – Joyful Belly
Herbal Antivirals” by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Perspectives on the Pandemic with Professor Knut Wittkowski
Coronavirus Provides Dictators & Oligarchs with a Dream Come True
What We Can Learn From a Pandemic “Tabletop Exercise”
Gates’ Globalist Vaccine Agenda: A Win-Win for Pharma and Mandatory Vaccination
Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai – We are at War
Bill Gates is continuing the work of Monsanto’, Vandana Shiva tells FRANCE 24

 

 

 

 

16 Comments
  1. Thank you for your courage and thoughtfulness, Barbara. You have offered several portals for me to evaluate where I can shift my mind and spirit to what is inspiring and life-giving for me. Your journey to no fear is inspiring. Blessings continue!

  2. Beautiful essay. Thank you for having the courage to say what you know.

  3. Barbara, this is a wonderful and wise source of wisdom, inspiration and information. I am so grateful for you and your courage to publish. I’m looking forward to exploring the many helpful resources too! Many, many thanks my friend.

  4. Hello Talks with Trees! No angry anything on this end. We are on the same page, but you have said it so much better than I ever could. Thank you for your courage in sharing your soul and mind. This world pause has given me so many insights and aha’s that I found myself thanking this thing for its role in awakening humanity and for allowing the earth to clear up a little bit. “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine …” Hugs

  5. I love all your essays, but this one really strikes home. I’ve wondered why this spring has been so beautiful: Because I had time to notice it, or because the human impact on the environment has been so muted by the necessity for us to get quiet and stay quiet? Both, I think! Thanks.

  6. Thank you for these beautiful, and profoundly truthful, insights. Mother Earth is calling us back to her womb, so that we may be reborn with eyes that truly see the world around us, and hearts that beat for one another. I choose joy, and hope, and love in these challenging times. ILY

  7. I have been using YouTube nature videos of forests, beach scenes, etc since the winter months. All the ones with birds and nature sounds not the ones with music in the background. Sometimes in the mornings after mediation and other times during the day. Thank you for sharing.

  8. WOW…what a beautifully written and powerful piece, Barbara!! I serendipitously discovered you a few years ago and have often wanted to write but this blog compels me to. Thank you for being a strong beacon of light in this uncertain and chaotic time. Thank you for your brave and articulate voice. Thank you for writing with such beauty and clarity what many of us also think and feel. Sending you many blessings with much love and gratitude.

    • Dear Pamela, Thank you for your kind words. They came at a perfect time. This morning I pulled the Turtle card and burst into tears. 🙂 I am wanting to crawl back into my Turtle shell after writing this piece. It did not go into the world easily. Big Love to you. Truly. xoxo Barbara
      Barbara Sinclair recently posted…To Feel Calm is a Powerful ForceMy Profile

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