New Year’s greetings! For renewal I turn to my Beloved, and to trees. This month, Michael Zieve shares his experiences of the healing power and beauty of trees that also inspire his paintings.
Please share your experiences in whatever ways come most naturally to you, be it photos, dance, song, gardening, mountain-bike riding, or?
Redwood Healing by Michael Zieve
For the last five years I have been blessed to live in Northern California near some ancient redwoods that hover over my house and tower over the little creek at their feet. It took me a while to discover what incredible magic they offer.
I arrived here brokenhearted from a failed relationship. It was a karmic balm to land in a beautiful spot surrounded by ancient trees and butterfly healers. I slowly realized when I gravitated to the old trees that I could experience notable shifts in my body/mind as I sat or leaned into them. One time, on returning home from an exhausting job, my chemical sensitivities inflamed, I got out of my truck and ran straight to the tree I call ‘The Bhagavan,’ melting into his unconditional field (this tree has a masculine aura). As I softened in his embrace the healing tears fell down and I heard a strong voice vibrate through my being.
“It’s a lie!… all lies!”
I did not have to think about what that meant, my whole body intuited or remembered the meaning. It’s the lie of separation, the lie of the individual having to do it all by himself, the isolation, the fear and the simultaneous recognition of oneness, the realization of love, our true nature.
It felt like a waterfall of wisdom shattering my exhausted, contracted self. This was not information that I was ignorant of, but to hear it so forcefully spoken to me, and viscerally transmitted was like a clarion call to awaken.
As time went on, living under the redwoods I experienced more physical discomfort from a lifetime of work as a decorative painter and clay plaster artisan. Finally my shoulders gave way to the cumulated stress, and over the past two years I sustained three rotator cuff surgeries.
After each surgery I went to the trees to convalesce. I would lie under them and gaze up into the canopy, sometimes falling asleep, and then upon waking feeling incredibly refreshed. That’s what inspired the painting “Redwood Healing.” In it, I show the wood devas sending me healing as a metaphor for the energetic transmission from these remarkable beings we call ‘Trees.’
I am now in active dialogue with several ancient redwoods and one teenager. All have their unique voice, body/mind and temperament.
My paintings grew in the redwood shadows in their own way, just like the trees. They are offerings to nature, and all that we intuit but cannot behold with our physical eyes. The earth heals us through her subtle songs and our creative response, always calling us home.
We are truly one. This is the message of the holy plant realm.
Wood Yogi by Michael Zieve
Under Redwood by Michael Zieve
You can see more of Michael’s work at this link.
Let go the torments of your mind
beside a tree
your aches and pains
embrace it as a friend who gives
suddenly double wings flit
into the canopy
its silhouetted leaves
clear as your soul itself
with each breath the day
meets you afresh