I Met a True Elder Today and the Trees Talked

032.jpgToday I met a man who is a true elder. Don Grayston is someone who speaks wisdom to those who are younger and hands them the truth and the baton lightly.  He is a wise and gentle man who founded Jubilee Associates, the Canadian organization  of spiritual directors I am working with.  I wished I could have sat and listened to him all day to gain from his experience and hear his advice for growth but I could not.  He had to leave out gathering.  He is frail and used all his energy so share with us what he did.  It was well thought out and precise.  We were given a mandate for the future, a legacy to carry forward.

Much of the work around spiritual direction is “contemplative” in nature.  Never given to much naval gazing I find this difficult but I’m adjusting to the peculiar exercises of holding rocks and listening to spirit.  When I remember it is not about looking inward but rather about seeking the divine it is much easier.

After listening to Don Grayson in the morning the early afternoon was spent in the glorious outdoors at Xenia Island Retreat on Bowen Island.  While a typhoon is pounding Canada’s west coast the little bit of paradise where we are staying is somewhat sheltered.  Someone found me a rain cape and off we went to the woods where we were introduced to a  1000-year-old tree which the locals call Opa.  This ancient tree is the only one which survived the clear cutting of the island in the 1800’s and how it was saved is unknown but it stands tall and strong.  It took nine of us joining hands around its base to circle it.

Some together in the nearby woodland chapel then let to contemplative work.  We were to go out and listen to the teachers of the land, the rocks and trees.  We were to listen to their song or their voice and hear what the wisdom of the earth was speaking to our hearts.

As I walked into the woods I thought of the great but meek man I had met in the morning and the legacy he is turning over to this apprentices.  This was the talk of the forest.

A metaphor for the inheritance of great meekness

This was the talk of the forest.  

The great Opa tree stood silently among his children

and the children of his friends long gone.  

The trees began to whisper 

A sapling dared aspire to the height and breadth of the great tree

and it’s bigger brothers jeered at it behind their hands of green.  

A maple sighed because it knew it could never aspire to such grandeur

but the aspen whispered to it that it too has a great call.

I leaned on a tree along the stream and it stood proudly.

It told me it will stand tall for many years and many people will lean on it.  

Another closer to the stream swayed slightly when I pushed on it to hold me

It scolded me saying, “Do  you need a bridge to cross such a small stream?

 If you do not please do not lean on my because I plan to stand here for a long time.”

And the whispers continued about who would be great and who would be best 

and the big Opa stood silently knowing time would sort their coming and going, 

their rising and falling,

that wisdom and chance would each have a hand in their destiny

and he dreamed the forest would continue to hold such hope.  

 

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About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises, I work as an "Associate Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and soon to be, spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 20 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. My own passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director. I am studying with the Ontario Jubilee Program. This new field I believe puts all my talents with people into one place which and may​ become something I can continue into retirement. Supporting people is what I do best. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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