On the Family Tree Mediation facebook page, we have a weekly tradition in tandem with our Pinterest page. We call it Our Weekly Celebration of the Family Tree. Each week we choose an inspiring photo of a beautiful tree and reflect on what the photo might say about families.
Last week’s celebration of the family tree was called “The Tree of Lights” and evoked the following reflection: “Each member in the family glows with a beautiful vibration he or she has been singing since before any of us had an agenda or experience. The holidays are a time, amid the busyness, to get quiet enough to enjoy each other's nature singing, to bathe in the gift of the glow each one gives off, that cannot be improved upon or corrected.” (See http://www.facebook.com/FamilyTreeMediation and http://pinterest.com/fmlytrmediation/)
The tree is such a powerful force and symbol, with its skyward direction, offer of shelter, witness of time, and embrace of the diversity of its branches. In my favorite poem, the first in Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus, Rilke uses the tree as a symbol of the enlightenment growing within the hearts and minds of the animals of the forest as they listen to the poet Orpheus sing. Rilke begins: "A tree ascended there! Oh, pure transendence!/ Orpheus sings! Oh, tall tree in the ear!" [Translation by Stephen Mitchell] I like to think the affection I developed for these lines long before I became a mediator foretold my own calling to be a listener and a provider of space in which mutual understanding may grow. At the same time, these lines have also long spoken to me of my own identification with Orpheus, the poet, the singer of meaning who songs brings people together.
Revisiting the tree of lights post on our facebook page, I remembered a poem I wrote almost thirty years ago as an English major in college and I realized how meaningful the ebb and flow of family relationships have always been to me. As the poem is also about the holidays, I thought I would share it with you on this widely celebrated winter solstice, the night for which the ever green tree has always been a symbol of magical vitality even in the darkest of winter nights.
As you will see, the constancy of the family tree, amid every kind of change of season, has clearly held a place of central value for me for a long time.
Part workshop, part master-mind support group – the Grow Your Life workshop is my effort to create a proactive vehicle for personal growth:
The Grow Your Life Workshop is also a deliberate attempt to apply to the social dynamics of our personal lives the ecological wisdom of permaculture, which works with natural forces to weave a diverse web of resilient relationships in the environment to produce healthy, abundant, and richly satisfying homesteads and harvests.
Above all, the Grow Your Life Workshop is a dedicated dynamic space for you to get organized, inspired, creative and connected with the things that matter most to you in life.
This space is “dedicated” because by signing up, you are setting aside two hours a week to tend to your own growth and wellbeing. This space is “dynamic” because it offers a rich social and collaborative small group context in which your voiced intentions, concerns, challenges, experiences and inspirations interact with those of up to eight other group members, including a skilled facilitator. The Grow Your Life Workshop thus offers the opportunity to step your personal goals and pursuit of wellbeing out of the isolation of private thought and into a shared interactive enterprise. At the same time that the Grow Your Life Workshop offers structure, sophistication and nurturance to your efforts to grow at your leading edges, the workshop does so in an informal, organic manner that imposes no institutional group think, expectations or standards. It is simply smart time devoted to living the adventure of your life ever more fully.