‘I was on a retreat and I was supposed to help on garden duty. In the middle of the lawn there was this big pine tree. I was raking around the tree and at some point I started to feel this pain. Being surrounded by nature, it kind of forces you to be grounded and then you feel more. And I was raking and crying and the tree said, ‘Lean against me.’
So I did. I stayed like that for half an hour, and I felt the compassion of the tree. At the end I said to the head gardener, ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t finish raking all the leaves!’ and I explained what happened. She said, ‘Don’t worry, it happens all the time.’
I was born in Cambodia right before the genocide. We lost 11 members of our family, my grandparents, four uncles, one aunt, all our friends. Those who didn’t leave, they all died and most of them we never knew what happened to them. So I had a lot of survival guilt. Much later, after this experience with the tree, I learned that some cultures give pine as a remedy for guilt.
So for me the feminine is receiving and then you act on it. And you have to believe what you receive is true otherwise you don’t’ do anything, otherwise you say ‘this is crazy.’ But when you act on it, life always shows you it was true, and each time you act on it, it gets stronger.’
– Caroline, a participant from last year’s women’s circle, story as told to Clare.