Portal to the Heartwood

Oaken Mandala

  The Oaken Mandala, tho actually a visual reminder of this tree’s wounding in the loss of a limb, has become a part of its unique appearance and its story, if we have taken the time to  really notice it and ponder. It is a very strong marking in the trunk of this tree, and as I was called to it to look deeply at it, I realized that it was not just the healed knothole in the wood that was so intriguing, but the triangular opening in the lower left hand corner of the framed mandala:  A Portal, and a tiny passage into the heartwood of the tree.

What little creature might find it’s way through that little doorway, seeking sanctuary from the elements, from predators, from busyness and into quiet rest? What in fact might that inner chamber look like? Might it lead down and in to the deepest secrets of the tree, the inner pulsing near the heartwood? What might it feel like to a tiny quivering creature within the deep and comforting silence beyond that threshold to the library parking lot with its noise and chatter of the world? How deep.. up, down or in, would the little creature have to go to hear the hum of the sap sleeping in the roots, or the buzz  and vibrating of its rising? 

The mystery of this intrigues me and I remembered how when I was a child in the inner city, I would play at the roots of the large old trees in the neighborhood, fascinated with these secret openings and sheltered foldings in their wooden trunks and limbs. I would imagine faeries and little people hiding just beyond my visual abilities, and I would tuck my teeny dolls and figurines, and little written notes within these hidden places, knowing that the tree would keep my dreams and wishes safe, and perhaps even have the magic to make them come true.

I did not tuck a special paper note through this tiny portal now, but I did take my camera with me and a tiny light to investigate the inner path beyond the opening and into the tree. I felt that perhaps I was inappropriately peeking, like a noseyneighbor, in search of the heartwood, a most private part of the living tree.  The camera, and the computer photo program – which allows techno skilled adjustments/and filtering that we used to do in the “darkroom’ when developing pictures- opened the passage way just a tiny bit more, revealing it’s mystery, and yet still remaining somehwhat hidden and closed to piercing scrutiny. 

Beyond the Portal

What in fact, does this have to do with my own life “out here”? There WAS a kind of message that this tree and the experience of the mandala and the opening to the Heartwood had for me, which is why I kept going back to gaze at it.

It has everything to do with my engagement with others in my life as teacher, as spiritual companion/guide, and hopefully as friend and parent.

Those I accompany personally and professionally, present themselves and their various life experiences in front of my eyes and yet they and their stories can so easily be taken for granted or rushed through while we on the way to other tasks and responsibilities that seem pressing, demanding and ever so important. The people/students/friends/family members around me are themselves like this oak tree…noble, proud, often with a dominant wound or challenging situation that is either healed over, or  still in the process of healing…how gently we must accompany each other..to listen deeply to the stories of challenge, struggle, triumph or momentary setback…and to know when to stand back and and simply be present with the other within the frame of the wounded mandala, or when to assist and  gently shine the light into and beyond the tiny the Portal  opening, to ask the discerning question that might lead to the Heartwood of both the person and the situation. We cannot probe too deeply, or linger too long in such sacred and tender territory. It is too private, and indeed each person must find their own rhythm of healing and wisdom from their roots, and nourishment, pulse, and the life force from the golden sap of grace and energy rising within themselves.

But we can assist, pay attention and see more deeply the beauty and possibilites in those around us..and within ourselves…  in the various stories and seasons of our lives. And then, we must step back, and let it all unfold in its own time,  appreciating the Whole-ness and the Wholi-ness, which is full of wisdom and beauty, from a Source beyond our Knowing, and Doing….                                

Stepping back-Appreciation

   Christine Phoenix-Green, April 2011

**Please respect my ownership of all writings and photos on this site, and  credit me and this source if passing on or sharing this in any way. Copywrited material is part of a book in progress. Thank you

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