I was asked to give an inspirational speech to a group of people one day and was not given much time. I had no topic, no computer to research or time to prepare; I only had whatever I could pull out of head. I remember going to sleep that night and praying to God to please send me an Angel in my sleep who could whisper words of wisdom into my ear. I somehow thought, as if by magic, I would have a nicely typed speech tied in a pretty blue bow waiting by my bed when I woke the next morning. If only things could be so easy!
When I woke, I could hear one of my guides telling me quite loudly to go for a walk. I’ve learned through experience to trust my guides and go with whatever they’re telling me because they’re always right. I splashed some cold water on my face, changed into some clothes and grabbed a quick cup of coffee to take along on my walk. I was staying at Marga Country Park, home of a magnificent estate built around 1870 and just below the estate were the ruins of an old Abby. The estate or castle, whichever you prefer to call it, was from the neo-gothic time period surrounded by lush gardens and the beautiful rolling hills of Wales. In the distance, nestled high on a hillside, you could see the ruins of a monastery. Now being a bit of nature person, I thought to myself what a wonderful place to go for a stroll and maybe, just maybe, a brilliant idea would come to me for my speech.
As I walked along the country road leading to the estate, I could feel the presence of one of my native guides. Now I must say this wasn’t just any native Indian; he was in fact an ancestor of mine. I had only know this guide for a year or so but, in this time, a very special bond had already developed. I can see him clearly in my mind’s eye. His face is worn with deep-set wrinkles, he had beady brown eyes peeping out beyond the folds of wrinkles that seemed to go on and on and each step was carefully planned to keep a steady balance. His leathery skin revealed years of hard labour. His body was no doubt weak and frail from the years he had spent on this earth yet when he spoke his entire being came to life. The wrinkles began to fade. His eyes sparkled and his tired weary body began to dance. This man was full of life despite the tattered body that carried his aging soul. It was easy to see he was full of wisdom as he had learned much while on this earth.
I asked if he was joining me to help me figure out what I was going to talk about that night. I explained how I hadn’t come up with a topic and I needed to find one fast.
“My child, said the old man, what are you expecting to happen? Do you think that a beautifully written speech will fall from the sky as if by magic? Do you think a speech will present its self to you on the wings of an Angel? It doesn’t happen that way, child. You must look within. You hold the key within you to inspire your audience. It’s up to you to find the key and unlock the words of wisdom that all need to hear.’’
“But how do I do that?’’ I asked.
“It’s simple my child. You simply ask your inner self what it is you wish to know. Then you quietly wait for an answer. Now go on. Give it a go,” he urged.
I looked over at him. He stood there smiling waiting for me to ask my inner self the question. So I did. I asked what topic my audience needed to hear. I stood there quietly waiting for a miracle to occur. I got nothing.
He motioned for me, “Let’s walk. It will come. You must have patience, my child. Patience”
I enjoy spending time with my guides but, I especially like this one. I call him my teacher. He has very little to say yet, his messages are always powerful. His words resonated deep into my soul.
Suddenly he asked, “Has it come to you? Do you know what your speech will be about now?”
I took a deep breath and said, “Kindness. I’m going to talk about kindness.”
He looked at me and smiled. “Kindness. I think that will be just fine. What are you going to say about kindness?” he asked.
I chuckled and said, “I have no idea but, it must be good.”
“Keep walking. I can help you,” he said.
I continued on with my walk until I came to the Abby. When I looked up, there was an amazing oak tree right in front of me. The trunk of the tree must have been at least four feet wide. The lower branches were as thick as most tree trunks. They were so heavy they rested on the ground. You had to duck under the lower branches to get to the trunk. Once inside, the canopy of the branches created the most serene feeling. The entire tree engulfed you. He motioned for me to go to the tree. He said, “The tree can help you with your speech.”
How can a tree help me give an inspirational speech on kindness? Reluctantly, I walked towards the old oak tree. I was drawn to the massive trunk. I put my hands on the tree and became very quiet. I could feel the energy of the tree pulsating slow and methodical. The energy was heavy. How could this magnificent beautiful tree have such a depressing energy? I slowly circled around the tree. My hands were still resting upon its trunk. I could hear my guide speaking. “Feel the tree. Feel its soul. Listen to the tree. What is it telling you?”
I circled around again. This time, I noticed knots protruding out as if it were branches trying to begin but, forbidden to form. I felt restriction. Somehow I knew this tree had been forbidden to grow the way it had intended and I knew it was because of the influence of man. My fingers continued to skim the bark bit by bit noticing every detail. Lovers had etched their initials in the trunk professing their love for one another. Inch by inch, carving by carving until there was little space left for the tree to just be a tree. The old man pointed to the branches that were so heavy they dipped down to the ground. I walked over to one and placed my hand on it only to find the same. It too was covered in carvings from star crossed lovers. This poor tree I thought to myself. One of the lower branches had small branches protruding out as if to hold the branch up. How touching and intelligent of this tree to offer such help to itself.
As I stood there under this glorious tree I began to listen. I ran my hands over the trunk again. Circling around and around, listening. I found myself becoming lost in the energy of the tree. I could feel the sadness of the tree. It was as if the soul of the tree was weeping. I could feel the heaviness of all it had endured. I was so caught up with the energy of the tree for a moment, for a split second, it felt as if the tree was speaking directly to me. I could feel the tree reaching out to me longing to tell its story. I looked at the carvings left. I studied the carvings. Pieces of tree bark missing leaving the tree exposed. Those who had carved their initials in the tree did it for love. They meant no harm to the tree. They only wanted the world to know how happy they were but, what about the tree? What did it do to the tree?
Suddenly I hear “Look down.” At the base of the tree a root was protruding out just above the ground. Above the root something was oozing out of the tree. When I first glanced, my first thought was the tree was bleeding. I felt overwhelmed by the sorrow of this tree. The soul of this tree was bleeding. It was weeping. The energy suddenly changed. I felt myself fighting back tears. I could feel the sorrow of all this tree had endured. It was too much. I asked the tree to take the emotion away.
I looked at my guide who was standing back watching all of this unfold. I didn’t have to say a word to him. He knew by the look in my eyes.
He said, “My child, you look confused. The tree has spoken to you. Be not afraid. This old oak tree has a message for you. Listen to what its message is and use it in your speech” “What do kindness and an old oak tree have in common?” I asked.
“Listen to your heart. Listen to the tree. Dig deep and you’ll find your answer,” he replied.
I began to think of all this tree had seen, felt, and heard in the hundreds of years it had been standing in this one spot. If only this tree really could speak to me. What would it tell me? Here this tree stood tall and majestic providing beauty and shelter for anyone who came near. It asked for nothing in return. It was a giving tree. And then I thought of the carvings and what that did to this tree. Who made the first carving? Was it a hundred years ago or longer? The people who carved their initials in this tree have most likely left this earth by now yet, the imprint they left on the tree is still there. They’ve passed on to another place while the tree continues to weep from the carving they left. Then I wondered what all had this tree seen through the years. Were their wars going on all around it? People fighting? Arguing? Were their peaceful times? I’m sure when the tree saw all of the people who were in love, its soul smiled.
And then I thought of our souls. What happens to our souls when someone hurts us? When we see war? When we see devastation, homeless people or people starving? When we see joy, hear laughter, or feel love? People come in and out of our lives and we go in and out of people’s lives. Do we leave imprints on their souls in the same way people had left an imprint on this tree? Do the imprints stay longer after the fact? The answer is yes.
We do leave an imprint on all of those we touch. For some the imprints are positive and full of love. And for others, it’s negative and drags them down. Just like the lower branches of the trees.
I thought about the tree again. Down below the energy was heavy as if the tree was moping, as if it were depressed or crying. When people say hurtful things to us, it has the same impact. Oh sure, we can shrug it off and carry on but, what if the hurtful words continue over and over and over. Can we continue to shrug them off? No.
It becomes harder and harder. Our souls become heavy and we find it hard to carry on as if nothing has happened. The imprint is there and it’s not leaving.
The tree grew branches to hold up the larger branches on the ground. It’s touching to know this intelligent tree took drastic measures to help its self. We as humans do the same. We will do things to cheer ourselves up. I for one know for a fact a new pair of shoes is a great ‘’pick me up’’ for me. The deeper the pain; the more expensive the shoes become. Sometimes, Jimmy Choo calls my name. But does the pain really go away? Not really. The imprint is still there. We put band-aids all over our soul trying to heal. Sometimes they stick. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we can shake it off. Sometimes it becomes so unbearable all we can do is weep as our soul begins to bleed. We are no different than the tree. The tree is no different than us.
I stood there looking at this tree amazed at all it had taught me. My heart ached for the tree. I said a little prayer for the tree and turned to guide. I gazed at him. I searched for the words but nothing came. He smiled.
I closed my eyes and felt the energy of the tree trunk. I looked up to the branches high above. The energy for those branches was completely different. It was light, airy, full of life. The branches were embracing life, welcoming the warm sun and all that Heaven had to offer. The tree was smiling. I wondered why the tree was so different at the top.
My guide jumped in before I could say a word “My child, he said, every living being has a soul. Our souls can become beaten and battered but, there can also be a part of our soul that receives nothing but love. The top branches receive love from Heaven. They have not been tainted by man. They are safe high above the ground. Sometimes, our souls endure pain but, we are always reaching for that special place where our soul receives nothing but pure love. Love delivered to us from Heaven. God’s love can come to us in many forms. We must be observant to how He chooses to deliver his love. It may come from a friend, a lover, a parent, a sibling or even a stranger. Love comes in words, in glances, in hugs, gestures, in acts of kindness and much, much, more.”
“But how do we lift ourselves up so that we can be like the branches in the sky?” I asked. Pointing to the sky, I said, “I want to be up there. How do I get there?”
He smiled and said, “Look down at your hands.’’
I looked down but, all I saw was my coffee cup. I looked at him and said, “It’s a coffee cup.”
He nodded in agreement and said, “Yes it is. Now use the coffee cup along with the tree and the word kindness in your speech” And just like that, poof, he was gone. His work was done. He left his imprint on me once again. He left me standing with my mouth wide open wondering what just happened. He left me alone to carry on the message he helped me to get from my newest friend the old oak tree.
I laughed at the thought of using all three in my speech. Seriously, what does a coffee cup, a tree, and kindness have in common? And then it came to me as if an Angel had delivered it straight to me neatly tied in a beautiful blue bow.
It’s like this…
In order for us to receive love and kindness, we must give love and kindness. The more love and kindness we give to others the lighter our energy becomes and the more we become like the branches at the top of the tree. The more love and kindness we give, the more love and kindness we can receive in return. As we go through our day, our week, or our lives, we should spread love and kindness through our words, our gestures, our hugs, etc. etc. When our intent is with love and kindness we raise the vibration of the world. It affects us, those around us, all living creatures, plants and our earth. The entire world will begin to smile. If each day, you do kind things for others, write it down and place it in your coffee cup, by the end of the day, your cup should be full. If everyone in the world did this, what a wonderful world it would be. It begins with one person.
I want to challenge you to take your imaginary cup with you and fill it to the brim or fill it until it overflows with kindness. I will thank you, others will thank you, mother earth will thank you and so will God. But most importantly, your soul will thank you because with each act of kindness you give, your soul will begin to heal.
Will you be the first one who ignites the spark
that lights the world ,
that warms a heart,
that heals a soul?