Mirror, mirror, tell me…

Recently I have noticed how many trees of Larch (Larix decidua) are fresh and green as in early spring unlike the others that proofed passing tropical summer by falling yellow leaves. Looking down I saw the finest hay instead of grass under every Larch on my way, while the isles of new green appeared on other places after few rains in last days.

It almost looked that Larch had a unique ability to keep water for its solo needs and not to share it with its close neighbors. At that moment I saw the evil Queen from Snow White, because especially this summer a drop of water was a step to survive. But Her Majesty Larch didn’t care about survival of the others but only about her own beauty and freshness.

From strange reasons I felt disappointed. It hurt my naive fair-play attitude and broke the current idea of larch as a fragile individual to be protected. Even as a little girl I touched the soft larch needle rather than plush toys. I admired the courage for being different from other conifers because children knew how classmates could punish otherness. I loved this extraordinary tree as well as walks around the river in my hometown, where they grew much and witnessed my teenage years and dates.

I still love the scent of larch that is similar to pine, but slightly softer. I love the exclusive homemade “honey” from the young cones full of tasty resin, and I love the beauty of larch wood in shades of red. But from now, I will never believe that Larch is weak.

Thinking about it I realized that Larch in the system of Bach flower remedies helps to increase our self-esteem and self-confidence. So, there must be some, right?

Later I also had to admit that during my lifetime I often wanted to protect those who had demonstrated weakness but didn’t really need my support. This was a bitter pill to learn from Larch, but thanks for it!

With love, Ivana

Advertisements

Dreaming of summer lounging

Fortunately, I live in a relatively safe part of the world, considering weather and socio-political climate. In the middle of Europe we usually do not have hurricanes or tornados. But today, we had a really strong wind here, perhaps the strongest in the last ten years. Power supply was interrupted in many places, many trees suddenly fell down and two of them even ended human lives.

I spent my day safe at home, watching the raging wind behind the window. I felt anxiety for all the people outside, thinking about the nature of this weather.

A strong wind struggles to bridge extremely different pressures in the atmosphere, and the desire to balance is so strong that it takes everything what stands in its way. It is not so different from a human nature. Many people hate conflicts, so they are trying to bridge the enemy pressures among others. They use themselves to prevent the storm of strong words or even real fights. But is it possible to keep the storm in a garage forever?

I am sad for all the trees that have been so suddenly defeated from their roots, and I am naturally sad for the human lives that have been so suddenly ended. But something deeply inside tells me that the storm was like a blow of the truth. It was the unpleasant blow of the unpleasant truth, which is exactly what we usually try to avoid.

We usually prefer to dream of harmony and happiness, even if they do not stand on completely true foundations. I personally do not believe that our life is a journey into paradise in terms of endless lounging. I do believe that the path of life is a sinusoid, where the pulses alternate up and down in the rhythm that G-d has in his hands.

We can only do our best to have love, compassion and strength in our hearts to overcome consequences of the tornados, coming into our lives. And try not to make useless storms.

With love, Ivana

Nobility and wisdom of Spruce

A tall and noble tree, which likes to live friendly with other trees of the same species, this is Spruce (Picea abies). Despite of its vulnerability to pests and regardless of the softness of its wood, Spruce is kind of forest’s High Priest.

Spruce belongs to the old trees, whose original homeland is Europe, especially its mountains and foothills. It seems to me, that the higher positions give to Spruce its natural overlook. Spruces domesticated in lower areas are somehow impoverished.

Spruce is tall and spiky, but not proud. It has always willingly offered wood and cones to people for heating and later also for industrial processing. It was people, who became proud and greedy, so they almost devastated some locations.

My most striking experience with Spruce is a few years old, but still very vivid in my mind. I spent holiday with friends in local mountains and all the roads were lined with spruces. Their branches rumbled in the wind and kept whispering me: Don’t forget your nobility, don’t forget your nobility. And the more I defended myself from listening, the more loudly they called.

When I finally opened my heart to their message, I realized that nobility doesn’t mean pride. It was more like: Stop to underestimate yourself! It is not a shame to be soft and vulnerable because this is exactly what spruces are. It is important to take and use benefits that sensitivity brings. You cannot make oak from what was born as a spruce.

I also realized that I can happily live with all my opposites. I don’t have to choose between them. Like Spruce, I can enjoy the juicy sweetness of the young and inexperienced shoots, being protected by sharp prickness of the old needles. It’s important to learn how to merge the opposites or let them live side by side.

And then, one of those old and spiky spruces gave me a very personal advice on the level of a real high priest: Stay in your heart, you will find there everything what you need. And try to merge the wisdom of desert with the wisdom of forest.

And so I do.

With love, Ivana

Roots: The Safety Zone

There is snowing outside the window and I think about the roots. It freezes and we are looking for the safety zones, where to survive bad weather. People have shelters in their houses and trees in the roots.

Humans also have the roots, and on many levels. As an individual, as a member of the family, tribe, nation, continent and the entire Universe. Every part of our Self has its own safety zone, the roots. They are represented by our past – history, ancestors, relationships, successes and failures. We cannot erase them, but we can learn and change our perspective. Every new beginning includes our entire history. As if you replant the tree – you can find a better environment for it, but do not damage the roots during transport otherwise you damage the entire tree.

Does it mean that we have to store all even traumatic experiences in the roots? No, it doesn’t. Every experience can be used as a fuel for our inner fire. All sun and shadows are endless source of woods for our warmth and hospitality. We have to accept our history as a fact, and then we may not be traumatized by it. The worst thing is to preserve the pain because that part of roots is cold and lifeless. It is a risk factor for our future, frozen can be easily broken.

If the roots are working properly, they are open to receive nutrients and excrete waste products. Unlike trees, we don’t always recognize good nutrients from waste products. Sometimes it takes a long time to understand. Don’t give up! It helps if you understand where your roots on some of your levels are. Where are your safety zones? First, it should be your body and your home. These are places where you should feel free in all manifestations of the spirit. The basic safety zones for the life and growth.

Some people examine factors too deep in the past and don’t care enough about the present. They forget that life is not just the roots. The roots are shelter and source of life, but we cannot live a life locked inside. Like trees, we can hide the power in the roots for winter, but in the spring we have to go out and move forward.

Heart, love and trees

With autumn progress I feel forest as a place of evening hygiene. Trees put off unwanted dresses directly on damp ground and some of them are completely naked, ready to put snow pajamas on. Just conifers remain proudly green as if they ignore the cycle of life.

Today’s walk brings me to think about linden (Tilia). I realized that a strong linden tree needs space. To prosper, it cannot be squeezed in a tight crowd. Linden tree is wide and noble, needed a place for its majesty. It can grow on the edge of forest or in the alley, but other trees must maintain a respectful distance.

Since childhood, I was taught, that linden is our national tree. Never ever I had any idea what does it mean. I just honestly admired huge linden trees, which survived centuries. Centuries of peace and wars, centuries of children’s games and lovers’ kisses.

I remember two old linden trees in my hometown beside the church. Big sign proclaimed that they are the trees protected by the state. When you come closer, you could see huge metal belts around the trunks. And to make the protection perfect, they poured concrete into cavities. I didn’t feel any pride at all, either personal or national. I felt only sympathy for the living thing that grows despite the protection provided by the people and the state.

Today, I realized my respect and love for linden. It has nothing to do with the nation, it is a matter of heart and humanity. It responds to patient love and gifts, supplied to us from linden trees through ages. It’s no coincidence that the leaves are shaped like big hearts. Fragrant blossoms attract thousands of bees in order to produce equally fragrant honey. Tea of linden blossoms is an effective tool against fever and colds. And linden wood is an excellent inspiration for carvers of any nation to make our world more beautiful.

What are your experiences with linden or its products?

The Chocolate Tree

Of course there is no “chocolate tree”, chocolate is a product from the seeds of the Cocoa Tree (Theobroma Cacao). It is a tropical evergreen tree, whose oil seeds are known as cocoa beans.  And from the beans we get the cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

Anyway Chocolate tree sounds well, doesn’t it? If you could dream about, how the “chocolate tree” looks like?

Chocolate is a subject of various myths and legends with many effects including the aphrodisiac ones. If a nickname of the petroleum is black gold, I would call the chocolate as brown gold. I feel its magical and deep earthy energy which is able to connect body and soul to substantial items. Perhaps because of high content of fat we descend to depths like on a chocolate slide, ending without injury in the right place.

Today, most people of so called “civilized world” consider chocolate like a common sweetness because there is a huge quantity of chocolate on the market (in a wide range of quality), we can buy it everywhere from supermarket to petrol station. It devaluates chocolate and its extraordinary features.

Heavy and sticky energy of chocolate is suitable for application on the lower part of body, especially on feet of those who run away from problems or stay in dreams or virtual reality too often. Together with other ingredients like cinnamon, clove, vanilla or chili chocolate warms up your feet and allows you to stand on ground, face difficulties and find solutions.

I like to use chocolate to gentle massage of legs below the knees. Cocoa butter is an efficient carrier for herbs and tinctures assisting with treatment of varicose veins, for example blossom of horse chestnut.

I also use the cocoa butter for preparation of herbal vaginal suppositories. And I am convinced that it is the magical X-factor from the cocoa butter, which expands herbal healing effects in this deep place of secrets. Scientifically speaking, the cocoa butter has an appropriate consistency and melting temperature for this kind of application.

What surprisingly chocolate does not like, is the stomach acid. It paralyzes most of special effects, it takes the magic away. So common eating of chocolate snacks is not effective application of the extraordinary features of cocoa and chocolate. It rather confirms their devaluation and lack of respect for this brown gold.

Pine Tree

This is an airy tree, which I mostly associate with freedom, space and breathing. If you ask for my first pine memory, so I see myself as a little girl picking mushrooms in the pine forest of the military band. I can still see the noble and free trees with warning signs written in Russian. I sniff the scent of pine’s turpentine mixed with the excitement of the forbidden fruit.

I had grown up in the 70s of the last century in the places, occupied by the Soviet army and they performed their military exercises deeply in our forests. On weekends, the soldiers had leisure time and Czech families from the neighborhood went into the restricted area to pick mushrooms. And they grew there!! We picked them up despite the danger to be caught or that the soldiers change their mind regarding leisure.

From the same forest I carried home pine bark, from which I tried to carve boats by little children’s knife. I loved the easy processing as well as the beautiful color.

Pine twigs and cones are excellent for fire setting. They beautifully crackle and smell and create romantic atmosphere.

Such are my pine memories. And what is it the present?

I still love the pine forests and still love breathing their fragrance. I feel how it expands and heal my lungs, how it wakes desire for freedom and growth up. Unfortunately, now I live in a place surrounded by deciduous forest with only few pines. I highly consider them. They are my allies in worse times. I return to them when I need to recharge my energy and rediscover my own place in the present moment, since the presence is the only right springboard to the future.