Lessons from a Cypress Tree

I spent the day yesterday underneath an ancient Cypress tree. It provided shade and some good insights. It reminded me that I don’t have to try so much or work so hard to connect with source, with the great unknown, with spirit or god. I don’t have to clear my crystals each full moon or release to the fire that which no longer serves me, on each new moon. I don’t have to read astrological insights or burn sage or study my natal chart. I don’t have to journal every day and pray every night. 

All of those tools + rituals are beautiful when they come from heart and when they do come from there, then I will express in that way. But my journey feels simple and plain, just like the life I live. I wake up in gratitude and when I don’t, I wait for the gratitude to come again. And it always does. I run my business in high integrity with the best of intentions. I give my body the cleanest foods I can at least 80% of the time and I savor the other 20%. I spend a lot of time outside, in communion with the life around me and, most importantly, I take responsibility for my feelings and actions, even if it comes later. 

I think it’s good and healthy to take notes from our ancestors and the indigenous folk that existed and still exist, but I’ll be honest, I think that it’s more important to truly integrate the meaning behind these practices: to walk the walk. I think that rituals and ceremony can be important steps on our journey, but I feel like they can often become just another “thing we do” each day or week or month or year. It’s wonderful to come together with friends and share that space and it can be a good “refresher course” and can even offer beautiful photos for social media posts, but it’s important for me to see if/how these rituals and ceremonies are actually forwarding me on my path. 

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Am I taking the steps in my daily life to make my visions come true, or am I continuing to the live the same way, wanting something different but just complaining about what isn’t? How can I WAKE UP in every moment, not just in these more powerful, intentional settings? Enlightenment is not a place to strive for, a mountain we’re climbing and hoping to finally reach the top of…It’s the ability to wake up, to become conscious, to become aware. And the hope is that we’re able to be aware in more and more moments, especially the tough ones. It’s fairly easy to feel conscious, aware, clear, connected on a beautiful day when everything is going right. But what happens when we’re triggered? What happens when the shit hits the fan? Those are the moments when we’re being tested; those are the real-life scenarios that we’ve been talking about and journaling about and speaking about in ceremony. 

Those are the moments when the altar fixing and crystal cleaning and sage burning are less important and the ability to be humble and vulnerable are more important. In humble openness with ourselves and with others is how we learn and grow. When we can simply be honest about our feelings and what is happening inside of ourselves, we are taking response-ability for ourselves. We aren’t blaming other, we aren’t playing the victim: we’re just being real with the moment. 

So amidst all of the new moons and full moons and portal openings and ceremonies, I challenge you to keep it simple: work on understanding your feelings and then owning them, fully and powerfully. 

Marlena Jarjoura