redwood medicine*

matt_nico_andrea_redwoods.jpg
Matt, Andrea, Nico, Oakland, CA, Canon PowerShot S95

People have been asking me how I’m doing lately… and strangely enough, I feel strong and mostly okay. There is an efficiency about our worrying. That is to say, if we didn’t have a new baby, a four year old and businesses to run, we’d be worrying a heck of a lot more. But one of the gifts of kids is that they continually pull you back to the moment — to the mundane, to play, to the exasperation and joy that is being a parent.

I actually thought maybe I was handling this whole thing really well, all zenned out and philosophical, until I went to yoga last week. As soon as I hit the mat and took a breath it was all right there — the anxiety, the fear, the trauma every time Ben has a seizure. It was all there waiting patiently to be felt. As i moved, I could feel it all coursing through me, wanting to find a way out, have a voice, or just explode in a mess of tears. I faithfully did my downward dogs and tried my hardest to breathe it all out like exhaust, a black puff of air, everything I no longer need. But then I was afraid I would break down right there, in the middle of mommy/baby yoga — which I suppose is really a pretty great place to break down — but it all caught me by surprise. I stopped, laid down on my back and relaxed for the rest of class. It was progress. Those few tears were the first in a long time.

As I lay there I became obsessed with one thought: I need to be in the redwoods. The redwoods are the right medicine.

And so we did that today. It happened that Ben had a date with a friend for a concert so it was just me, Matt and Nico strolling through Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. It was indeed the right medicine! Pure oxygen. At one point I even handed my bag to Matt and announced, I feel like running! Which by the way, I NEVER feel like doing. I don’t think I’ve run since I was in junior high school. But there I was! running the trails, happy as can be for ten whole minutes. It was glorious and totally worth my sore muscles today. I’ve never understood why people could like running and now I’m starting to get it.

Anyway, I got home last night and googled “redwood medicine” thinking something interesting would come up, showing me what exactly I was looking for yesterday and what it might mean that I was craving this particular remedy. What I came across was a blog post that a yoga instructor posted who was also craving the medicine of the redwoods. I loved this line in particular, “When I sit near them, I can feel the power of the simple act of staying.”

And maybe that’s what it’s about. The redwoods grow fast and they grow strong. They give oxygen and shelter. They are beautiful and wild and no matter what happens they stay put. It’s starting to sound like motherhood to me, at least the kind of motherhood I’m being asked to step into. To stay with the uncertainty, to grow wild and strong, to stay rooted and firm, steadfast.

 
matt_nico_redwoods2.jpg
Matt, Nico, Oakland, CA, Canon PowerShot S95
matt_nico_redwoods.jpg
Matt, Nico, Oakland, CA, Canon PowerShot S95

A video that perfectly encapsulates the magic of being in the redwoods.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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30 Comments

  1. Kristin Noelle

    I love this so much. I’ve had similar cravings with Eucalyptus trees. Something about their enormity and all that peeling bark and baby-skin underneath: pure healing tonic. I’m so glad you found your way to the redwoods today.

  2. bahiehk

    (((( deep breaths ))))
    you find *gems* even in the hardest situations.
    something tells me you are already a redwood momma Andrea.
    We love you.

  3. jenn

    Well when I read this I cried. I completly get the redwood medicine. Last summer I went on a 40 day vaction to the redwood. When I left for this trip I was terrified. I had quit my full time job to go back to school. I was moving in with my new girlfriend of only six months. My mother had died nine months earlier and my 8 year marriage had ended eight months earlier. I believe everything happens when we need. I wasn’t looking for love and when I was what I belived was my lowest (lost mom and wife) a partner came into my life. One night she said where would you go on a dream vacation and I said the Redwoods. Having never been I am not sure where this came from. So after a few months of planning, moving and quitting my job there we were. Suddenly I felt a connection to myself, my spirit that had been missing for years. A difficult marriage of putting myself behind another person to try and help her, taking care of a dying mother left me raggid and empty. I thought I was okay but what I was doing was keeping busy to not deal. I spent those 40 days in Arcata. I went to yoga at the gym every day (frist time doing yoga in my life) and hiked the Redwoods. The more I moved and breathed the more I let go and totally came unglued. I hit a bottom I didn’t know I needed to hit. Then I healed. I still have healing to do around the death of my mother. That will never end completly for me. We were close. I also have healing to do with my marrige ending. It was hard to say I give up. I can not win this one. I know it was right and I’m thankful for that decision for so many reasons. I found myself, my body, my spirit in those Redwoods. I also found a life partner. A women who loves me for me, the sad, broken and hurt me. The woman willing to do the hard work to get to a better place. I see pictures of the Redwoods we took and I think every single time those trees are magical, there is spirit there, a connection to something so much bigger to us. I’m so thankful I had the experience to see those trees for as long as I did.
    I’m so happy to hear they had the same touch on someone else too. I think the trees are special and have super hero powers. I love hearing this story Andrea.

  4. marilee pittman

    I can feel the healing as I read this post.I’ve only seen redwoods once and it was like being in a cathedral. How magnificent it felt! But even as I read your piece, I feel protective of them. so much of the beauty of this world is being lost….
    and the very reason we need to keep them is for the healing you so beautifully describe.

  5. jen gray

    love you 🙂

  6. Elizabeth

    I can fully appreciate your moment in yoga class…..I had one of those moments myself, just the other day. I am in awe and inspired by your drive to make yourself feel better and in your knowing what it was that would heal your pain. That’s where I usually get stuck. You and Ben remain in my thoughts…

  7. melissa

    uncertain, wild and rooted…soulful truths. thank you, andrea. a new mantra for my week as i too find myself crying in the most unexpected places. love to you.

  8. Britt Bravo

    Beautiful post!

  9. Patricia

    You continue to inspire me on so many levels…you’re a joy to put yourself out there and you’re a treasure to me.
    oxox
    Trish

  10. mindy lacefield

    I love the air around the trees…..so crisp. i wish i could bottle it up and take it with me to arkansas.
    and yes, i understand the need to run….so exhilarating. i am so glad you got the medicine.
    i am sending you and your family warm wishes and hugs.
    xo

  11. maile

    you are so beautiful.

  12. debbie

    your last sentence knocked my socks off.

  13. Bari Tessler Linden

    After our family took turns being sick over the last 6 weeks, we found ourselves going to our woods – the pine trees in Boulder, CO this weekend to connect, explore and replenish as well. So, we understand and are so happy that your family found its way to the healing and love medicine. Sending lot of love and may we keep finding our way to that medicine often!

  14. Kristy

    Thanks Andrea. Somehow your words know just how to gift me a good cry. 8 months pregnant with our second boy, it felt so good. xo

  15. Christine @ Coffees & Commutes

    And today your words just seeped into my soul. I’m sending positive vibes, and hoping that you can find more moments like that.

  16. Christine @ Coffees & Commutes

    And today your words just seeped into my soul. I’m sending positive vibes, and hoping that you can find more moments like that.

  17. jennefer

    I miss the woods. Thanks for the post.

  18. Michelle Shopped

    oh yeah, the woods and me…we been kindreds for a long time…glad you found your tree medicine too sweetie…and i love the whole breath of this piece of writing of yours…mmm hmmm…

  19. Leia

    Simply beautiful! We use to hike the trails on HWY 35 Skyline almost every day. Since the babies we have not been up there but the quiet hidden beaches often serve as grounding for me. I so know what you mean about the Redwoods though. So love what you said, so beautiful and wise!

  20. Sandy

    I so love this post and am glad you found some healing in the woods. I had an interesting memory related to your story of running. I remember when I had a difficult truth to process several years ago, I wanted to walk and walk and walk until I couldn’t go anymore. I felt like if I walked until I was as physically exhausted as I was spiritually and emotionally exhausted, some type of metamorphosis would take place. I hadn’t thought about that for a long time.

  21. Jennifer

    Whoever created baby “slings” (and I realize they’re probably thousands of years old) was a total genius….

  22. Kate D

    This brought tears to my eyes. and that first pic of Matt and Nico is so wicked!

  23. Lisa

    Sending you hugs of love, peace, support, grace…
    LOVE the photos!
    So glad you are finding some of the redwood medicine you need. 🙂
    And, yes, the yoga mat *is* one of the best places to lose it!
    (BTW, my cat just jumped up on the desk and nuzzled the screen of my laptop! He’s never done that before! Must be sending his love and care your way also!)

  24. Allison

    I love this quote by John Muir- it is so, so true. 🙂
    “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while care will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~John Muir

  25. starrlife

    Oh Hugs and more hugs to you. Just coming by courtesy of Shutter Sisters and Conny Wenk. I so know that feeling. I can remember when my daughter had her heart surgery and I was amazed at how well I got thru it and then when we got home I collapsed and got into a huge fight with my husband, like a release!It’s a bit like being struck by lightening or turning in to a pillar of salt looking back. It takes so much courage to live and engage. Some of us more than others- at least you have the gift of boldness!

  26. Darby Blackmoore

    There is perceptibly a lot to know about this. I believe you made some good points in features also.

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  28. daigoumee

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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