There is a tree in the back middle of our property; a live oak with a magnificent and unique wingspan. I kid sometimes that we bought this place because of that tree. It was probably as much a statement about the dismal state of the house and barn, but still, that tree had emotional impact on me. I didn’t know much about the ways of trees then but I experienced her as a feminine energy so we dubbed her the “Mother Tree”. Now that I have lived with her and learned more about the hidden matrix of tree life, I have come to understand her as a grouping of trees; sister trees, if you will. She does not have one trunk but multiple trunks that have grown together to become one. One such trunk is “dead” low to the ground with aged burn marks indicating a likely lightening strike. Three feet higher though that trunk is alive, melded into the trunks of the sister trees that have grown, not up, but around it. It is alive, not from its roots, but from its symbiotic attachment to its sisters. Now that, my friends, is radical kindness.
I grew accustomed to thinking of an act of kindness as being outside of myself; once given, it departs from me. Now, I’m playing around with another model, more like the trees. What if your act of kindness remains rooted in you, sustained by the love and caring that gave it life? What if this is the secret power of kindness? It stays attached, allowing life force to always and forever flow through it? We are not ever alive on our own.