If you have ever had a child, you may have read the book,The Giving Tree. I was blessed when I received this book as a present from a friend. In my thirties, I fell in love with this book. My children were in their teens at that time. I did share it with them, but the words seemed to mean more to me than to them when they were that age. Ordering the video of the book allowed me to present The Giving Tree in seminars for families of First Offenders in New Mexico. Why did this book hit me so strongly? The book is about a tree that grew to be tall and beautiful. It offered shade to many people, plus sometimes an apple to eat for nourishment. The tree gave and gave in different ways until it was old. Then it continued to give even when it had lost many branches. It inspired me,
Then in my late 40’s, I attended a Native American ceremony on the Rosebud Reservation and watched a cottonwood tree “be prayed for” that would give its life to be used for the ceremony John and I were attending for the first time. That tree brought the giving tree in my book to life as we saw how it was treated and how it gave and gave for the people. John and I watched this same respect and honor for a tree being cut and used for Sun Dance each year. We traveled and attended this ceremony more than ten times. Each time, the tree was caught by many when it came down. Participants of the Sun Dance then carried the tree that was chosen and cut until it arrived a few days later at the place where it would be covered with small prayer ties on the trunk of the tree and prayer flags in the top of the tree. This tree was always handled gently from the very beginning and until it was placed in the center of the circle for the Sun Dance. When the tree arrived on the land of the ceremony, the ones carrying it laid it down carefully on a long bed of sage. The tree was then finally raised. It stood tall for all to see during the ceremony as it remained in the center of the circle for this four-day ceremony. There is so much more that I could tell, but you would not want to read it all! I will say this: After watching how gently all people attending treated this tree and also how they handled other sacred objects, I returned home and began handling my Bible differently. It is a sacred book that I do not let touch the ground. Nothing is set on top of it. When I carry it, I attempt to do so carefully and with reverence.
This ceremony draws people from all over the world. Many people of different religions gather once a year to pray for peace, harmony, and resilience. A variety of religions are represented. We prayed together from sun up to sundown, spent four to ten days together when we attended and treated each other with honor and respect. It has been wonderful every single time. With all our differences, we lived harmoniously, visiting each other and helping one another. We accept others that were different from ourselves. It is an amazing experience, and it is what I hope to happen in this world.
This tree in the center of a circle at Sun Dance made a drawing of a “Tree of Life” in our home come to life for me. When I returned home, I began to pay attention to every “tree of life” drawing or painting that I saw in real life. The feeling of sacredness returns every time I see a picture of a tree standing alone or see a drawing that represents a tree of life. My thinking about ancestors that had already died and those still alive entered my mind more strongly. I wished I had talked to some of them that are already gone more. Some of them had answers to questions that I did not think to ask. My life was busy, and I kept thinking that I would spend time with them later. Later never seemed to come.
Looking at the cottonwood tree at Sun Dance, I paid attention to the fork in the tree. Everything is both feminine and masculine. That tree represented both masculine and feminine to me. It was another way I was like a tree. I am both masculine and feminine, just as each of us is! Above the fork in the tree is “all that is above,” our divine source and Spirit. Below the fork, the tree’s trunk represents all that is happening on earth that we need help with. So many prayers are put on that tree’s and so many prayers are said for so many while the ceremony occurs. I focused on where I wanted to be on the tree. I wanted to be right below the fork of the tree with one foot on the other side so that I might hear my answers from God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit and one foot here on earth so that I might stay grounded. I also focused on staying balanced in life. Once I realized my place, I never experienced the world the same. Today I see Heaven differently and everything here on earth differently.
Confirmations of my realizations once I found my place on the “tree of life” began to appear. What were my confirmations? Simple items to support that my prayers were being heard about my tree coming alive to meI. For instance, I received a card with the “tree of life on it” from a friend that had no idea about my new understandings. Was I manifesting this with my thoughts about the tree? I received another card with a tree of life on it also. Then I received a necklace with the Tree of Life pendant from my granddaughter. Later I received another necklace from my daughter with the Tree of Life as a pendant. She had it made using real jewels to represent every person in our family. These unusual manifestations continue to come forth through other people.
So, do you remember that what you do in your earlier years becomes a part of your foundation? Example: I decided to find an answer by fasting one day a week for four weeks in the early forties. Then in my late forties, I found myself doing Native American ceremonies where I fasted for three and four days at a time. I call these things that happen “strengthening my foundation.” At some level within, using The Giving Tree repeatedly in seminars in New Mexico in my thirties was the beginning of my guidance in finding a live tree that would become a giving tree to help so many that have prayers of healing for many people, for all life, and the earth, plus prayers of gratitude.
LESSON: Be open to receiving answers! Pay attention to what is being given to you or sent to you. Next, look backward to see what happened in your life and how it was built. Are you today building your foundation stronger, or is it built on sand? We can always strengthen our foundation, no matter what age we are! Is there something that you did or believed in the past that expanded in your future? Or did it catapult you into a different situation? The biggest lesson is “Pay Attention.”
An understanding of how Spirit works do come as when we watch closely every day.
Giving brings blessings back to us.
Gifts came from being open to what was presented to me. I listened to my gut, and it felt right. It brought answers. I discovered what I had a passion for. Answers from God to the many questions that I carried with me about my mother dying, and then later, when Don acquired cancer, we learned he was terminal. I was searching for answers here on earth from God, and I got them.
I take the time to pay attention to relatives and my children and grandchildren. I have many answers for them, but they are much like me. They do not ask. Perhaps they will before I die, or perhaps I can send them an answer from Heaven. Who knows?