shelter and connection

[In a moment of interesting synchronicity, the two most interesting books that I’ve read lately (The Overstory by Richard Powers and The Heart of Trauma by Bonnie Badenoch) share an interest in Suzanne Simard’s research into the communities of trees:]

Dr. Suzanne Simard (2016) of the University of British Columbia and her colleagues have illuminated the underground pathways that connect groves of trees. Threads of fungus interact with tree roots and direct carbon, water, and nutrients to plants most in need of support, often the younger ones. This fosters a purposeful sharing of resources that helps the entire ecosystem of trees and plants flourish, fostering the beautiful canopy of branches and leaves.

In much the same way, we humans join our inner worlds with one another through many pathways that are largely below conscious awareness. When we are truly present with one another, the silent resources of attention, responsiveness, and love flow in a way that nourishes healing. As we come face to face with one another, we may find shelter like this canopy of trees while the mysterious underground of deep connection works its magic and we may be supported in becoming therapeutic presences in our daily walk in the world.

  • Bonnie Badenoch, in The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in a Context of Relationships (2018). See Suzanne Simard’s TED talk here.

come healing

[Remembering some Leonard Cohen:]

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace

O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

wintering

[Now in her last weeks as our president, Dr. Margaret Anne Smith shared a Fireside Chat in which she addressed our term’s theme of “hope.” Given the time of year and the ongoing challenges of a pandemic, Margaret Anne shared some quotes that remind us of the role of hope in these harder and winter-darker days. This is the first of some quotes that I’ll share from her talk:]

Wintering is a way to get through tough times by chilling, hibernating, healing, re-grouping. “Doing these deeply unfashionable things — slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting — is a radical act now, but it is essential.”

  • from Katherine May, Wintering: the Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times