This story was inspired by Hélène Vaillant’s “What do you see?” challenge, her beautiful soul and community of like hearted and soulful people.
Thank you, Hélène for your generosity and holding a sacred space for us to express what is in our hearts through the lovely images that you share.
Photo by Hélène Vaillant at Willow Poetry
Gazing into the heart of this wonderfully gnarled tree, I see reflections of my own heart with layers and grooves compounded over the years that seem to define me.
They are daily carvings of life’s soulful experiences, whether pleasant or distressed that will continue until I am laid to rest.
The memories dissolve as I follow the deep scars and crevices; the hidden places, now exposed by the light of day, the light within and without. Truly, there is no light without darkness, no darkness without light.
Our experiences shape the expression of who we are, gifts from the divine that will return to the divine. As though there was or ever is separation.
Most of my insightful and revealing moments unfolded in the foothills of Mt. Diablo located in Contra Costa County, Northern California. It seems odd to name the location of my film set. And indeed, I could just say they occurred on the Devils thicket, Monte Diablo.
A name the Spaniards gave it after an incident that occurred as they were trying to capture a group of natives but the warriors somehow mysteriously disappeared into a thicket. Through a gateway, perhaps?
Indeed, the Mountain is sacred ground for the Native Ohlone and Miwok who believed it was the point of creation.
But I digress….. Well maybe not, because what I mean to talk about is that in my youth and for many decades, my unfolding occurred on this Mountain, the point of creation that indeed is a metaphor that could describe a mythical place. Or suggest that no matter where this unfoldment occurred it is not static nor held to one geographic location or even to my experience but rather it can be described as universal.
For instance, whether I am talking about my life or the lives of the indigenous people, really it is all transient, ephemeral, very much like the air we breath. In and out, coming and going, only the physical is seemingly altered.
The soul lives on, but is it really changed by the scars on a body, or perception of scars in a heart? I think not, because as an expression of the divine, the soul takes on many shapes and sizes.
For instance, I spent a lot of my time hiking on this mountain and point of creation. Listening to the trees and following the wind, walking in silence, listening, sweating, dissolving and growing.
One day, long ago, a doorway opened up, and I was greeted by the spirits of the warriors that protect the Mountain. They took me in, and shared that while they lost their lives hundreds of years ago, their spirits, born of the mountain, stayed and continue to care for this sacred land. They protect and guide seekers like me, pilgrims so to speak and assure that we continue to have safe passage to commune with spirit.
And as I gaze deeper into the heart of this tree, I realize that it represents all the trees on the planet, and understand that the warriors who protect sacred ground, actually protect all sacred ground and all doorways, and are not bound by time and space.
And as my scars and heart unwind, I know that it is the same heart that exists everywhere; the heart of trees, and the heart of the warriors as well as the Spaniards. I know that seekers and pilgrims are one yet each is an infinite expression of the divine.
For me the mountain is my holy place, yet for others in different parts of the world, there are infinite doorways and holy places. Yet we all join together as a force to stand as one, and yet distinctly with our own scars and memories and experiences.
Our lives, our pain, our laughter, our compassion, and spirit, unite as one expression of love.
So as I gaze into the heart of this tree, I gaze into the heart of infinitude.
With love 💗 Jordan