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Christa Santangelo Ph.D.

What the Trees Say

A COVID inspiration from nature

Christa Santangelo
Source: Christa Santangelo

The foundation of spirituality is self-attentiveness —Unknown

Recently my daughter and I have taken refuge in nature to connect to what seems unchanged in a time of dizzying uncertainty. Sometimes nature speaks when I am poised to listen.

Christa Santangelo
Source: Christa Santangelo

Now is a time when deep listening, both within ourselves and in places where nature can speak, may provide the wisdom we need to make it through each day. Each morning, we can seek to find places and engagements that awaken a fresh perspective. This is what will sustain the heart and soul as the world steadies itself and we find our way.

Our minds naturally chatter with fear and questions and it can be difficult to hear deeper truths that have sustained people through times like these. The mind grasps for answers yet it may be what is below the mind, what is beyond our current capacity to know, that will sustain us. What does this mean?

“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.”
– Chuang Tzu

In times of uncertainty, it is easy to operate from a place of fear. Fear is constricting and usually not helpful in resolving the current dilemma. Or we can come from love: expansive, inclusive, and usually effective in creating ease within ourselves and with others. Here are some communications that came from a meditation in nature that may bring expansion. As you read them perhaps you will find what places, activities or people produce a sense of flow.

“The characteristics of flow mean that an individual is concentrating with such engaged awareness that he or she has gone beyond a sense of time or external obligations. Flow truly puts a person in the moment." —Laura Grace Weldon, Free Range Learning

Words from the forest

Free your mind. Stay safe. Honor your “No.” – The Eucalyptus Tree

Get the eagle eye view. Soar above the current crisis. The earth is here. Remember her. Listen to her. Honor her. – The Redwoods

Feel gravity. Stop. Be still. Watch what’s around you with no reaction. – The rocks

Fearless but not defeated. Crackly, frail but forming a bed to cover the floor of the earth. Resting, supporting. A blanket. – Fallen pine needles

Soft, dry. Disconnected from branch yet scattered on forest floor with sticks. Change of location yet still present. Never to be extinguished. Even fire just changes me to another form. Cycles of life. Not my business. I just float, drift, lay over new friends: the stick, the redwood. Leaves – crackling and strong. – Leaves on floor of the forest

Christa Santangelo
Source: Christa Santangelo

Move strongly, fiercely, and freely. Do not stop for thousands of years. Propel yourself and use the energy and momentum of the universe as your fuel. Fast, fierce, going knowing not where (doesn’t matter). The universe is my home. Wherever I go I belong. –The Comet

Stay safe and sheltered. Trust your instincts. Embrace your “Yes.” When in doubt, stay still. – Young Redwood

I warm you. In shade, I dapple with light. A reminder that you revolve around me so I am always here. We move together in daily adventures. Cycling, turning, burning. – The Sun


About the Author

Christa Santangelo, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of California at San Francisco.