The Cedar’s Wisdom – You have a Right to Be Here

The gusty breeze whips through the trees around me. I brush my hand over the hardy herbs who’ve managed to weather the winter and I take in the pungent aroma of the rosemary and sage. It feels good to breathe in and smell them after a week away exploring the southern Cape coast.

Overhead a small folk of mouse birds dart across the quiet afternoon sky. Somewhere around me I hear wild whispers.

 “Breathe deep and proud breaths,” they say. “You have a right to be here.”

It must have been the cedar. Perhaps I am getting better at listening to the wisdom soaked wild whispers that he offers.

For several months now, the cedar’s essence has drifted in and out of my awareness.  On the surface, he appears young and short. But something tells me that beneath the soil, his old and wise roots grow deeper than he lets on. If you look closely, you’ll see that he must have been cut down at some stage. Yet, resilient as ever, still he grows. Most trees carry their stories in their wooded trunks, their rings scribed like pages in a memoir. This cedar’s wisdom and stories are buried beneath the earth’s soils in its knotty roots.

Sitting near the cedar makes me think about how we can be at times. We play small. We feel inferior and unworthy, yet beneath the surface lies a wealth of spirit, love and wisdom. The cedar’s essence reminds me look at myself through my spiritual eyes because they see the true nature and magnitude of who I am, who each of us are.  The cedar reminds me to reach into the space beyond fear and illusion to touch the real essence of life – the love, truth and magic that the small-minded ego often disguises in a cloak of negativity, harshness or limitation. When he was cut down (I assume this was probably when my place was being built) I doubt he ever felt  that he’d no right to exist in this space the way I do when I feel cut or rejected sometimes. No, he just continued to breathe and grow. So, I take this cedar wisdom into my heart, mindfully, because it teaches me how to own my space a bit more and let myself breathe in life and spirit fully, remembering that I have a place in this world.

These are the small moments in my day that patch the broken pieces of my being back together, the moments that direct me back to wholeness so that I learn to see that I was never really broken at all. The mysterious force that lies within remains whole even when one has been wounded by life.

Sometimes I just need little nudges and wild whispers to remember that.

What reminds you of your own wholeness? What teaches you to breathe deeper and reminds you of your place in the world? What helps you feel that you have a right to be here?

Lean into that for it will guide you back to wholeness.


The Medicine of Dappled Light

Some days it doesn’t take much to restore myself to balance, just a quiet walk amongst the trees. There is medicine in their dappled light. There’s a kind of therapy to the enigmatic tree shadows and soft sunlight dancing together on my skin.


It doesn’t take much to stand beneath their tender creaking branches and to close my eyes while they breathe healing over me. I forget the curative potential of simple things like this when I’m swept up by life’s complex currents, lost in the ever present pattern of busyness or bogged down by expectations, demands and the pressure to survive. But it doesn’t take much to step aside from it all for a moment, to feel the vibrant earth under my feet and let the scents of damp soil and rain soaked trees seep into my pores.

shaded path

Every day, Mother Earth reminds me that healing doesn’t always have to be hard. It can be as easy as taking the time. It can be as simple as making the space. It can be as effortless as being open, showing up and allowing something beyond myself to pour a restorative balm into my soul. It can be as crazy, yet uncomplicated and peaceful, as walking slowly between ancient trees – standing people, wisdom keepers and great restorers of the burdened heart – and just breathing in the unassuming medicine of their enchanting splays of dappled light.

When you find yourself in a sticky moment, overwhelmed by life’s challenged, would you be willing to go into their presence and rest your heart in their midst? Just for a little while. A small dose of shinrin yoku may be just the thing to guide you back home to the peace of your inner essence.