Back in May of 2011, I had the distinct pleasure and great honor of meeting Grandmother Margaret Behan, one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, at an event at the Vashon Intuitive Arts center on Vashon Island, WA. I told her the story I’m about to tell you, and she asked me to promise her that I would write about it on my blog; she said there were possibly others who had the same gift but may have been afraid to use it because they simply thought they might be going crazy. It’s taken me a while to get around to doing this, but I believe that things happen when they’re supposed to happen. Now is the time for me to keep my promise to Grandmother Margaret. She is someone I certainly wouldn’t want to disappoint.
A few years ago, a couple of Tarot colleagues did readings for me (separately, of course) and I was intrigued by one point that each of them made to me during the readings. They said that my gift for reading the Tarot was just one of several gifts I have in me. They both indicated that more of my gifts would expose themselves over time and that I should embrace them fully. “But all I really want to do is read the Tarot.” “Well, Mike, Spirit and the Universe have other plans for you. You’ll be doing more than just reading cards; in fact, you’ll get to the point that you won’t really need them anymore.” I was shocked by the last statement because I really love my cards! “Well,” I said, “I’m keeping my cards despite any other gifts that may pop up.” I’m still reading my beloved cards, but a wonderful gift did reveal itself soon after those readings.
This is really true, isn’t it? People seem to think that spiritual gifts appear via things such as visions, whispered angelic voices, mystical symbolic signs, or some great metaphysical fanfare. The reality is that they appear at the most unlikely times and in the most unlikely places and circumstances. That was most certainly true in my case.
So what gift, then, appeared to me in such a fashion?
I discovered I can speak to trees.
This happened absolutely unexpectedly, in the most unlikely location under the most unlikely circumstances. (See? Just like I said.) It’s probably a good thing that my new gift revealed itself as it did because I might not have believed it had it happened under a more metaphysical or mystical set of circumstances. Had it happened in the latter case, I might have thought it was just all in my mind. Here’s what happened.
A few years ago, I was working at Microsoft and was on a team that helped manage and run TechEd, Microsoft’s premiere developer conference. We were holding the conference at the Orlando Convention Center that year, and our staff was staying at the Rosen Centre Hotel. The hotel is located just across the street, immediately east of the conference center and it’s a short ten minute walk from the hotel entrance to the east entrance of the conference center. There was a short grove of trees along the sidewalk between the hotel driveway entrance and the street between the hotel and the conference center, and I passed them every day on my way to and from the conference.
The grove had a beautiful mix of young and old shade trees, and I especially enjoyed walking by them every morning. I’m not very fond of heat (meaning anything over 63 degrees) and the trees provided a cool shade that made me feel good and helped me wake up enough mentally to prepare myself for the day’s work ahead. Little did I know that one of these trees would change my life forever in a very major way.
The conference was a week long and our team arrived a few days ahead of time so that we could make last minute preparations and ensure that we were ready to welcome our speakers and conference attendees. I noticed the trees on the very first day that I had to walk from the hotel to the conference center. Needless to say, I was very happy that they were there to provide shade on my morning walks to the conference. On the second day, though, I noticed that there was a construction crew with a few backhoes working behind a fenced area located in front of the trees. (It’s odd that I didn’t initially notice that the trees were behind a fence.) They were busily working on breaking apart what looked to be an old parking lot or concrete foundation of a building that used to be there. “Perhaps they’re going to build a new wing or maybe a multi-level parking lot” I thought to myself. I took one last look and proceeded on the conference center ready to join my first meeting of the day.
Here’s the part of the story that I remember very vividly to this day, as if this all happened only yesterday.
On Monday morning, the very first day of the conference, I made it a point to wake up early. I wanted to make sure that I was completely awake and fresh so that I could start the day’s work and help kickoff the conference itself with as much focus and enthusiasm as I could bring to bear. I went down to the restaurant and had a great breakfast (I ordered off the menu and avoided the buffet) and a hot, tasty espresso. I went back upstairs to my room, grabbed my water bottle and backpack, and headed back downstairs to make the short walk to the conference center. As I walked outside from the lobby, I noticed that the day was clear and sunny and that there was a nice, fresh, crisp feel in the air. “This is going to be a great day” I thought to myself.
As I walked down the sidewalk toward the grove of trees, I happened to glance to my left. To my horror, I saw one of the backhoes knocking and whacking the trees with its long arm, apparently in an attempt to knock them down and clear them from the area. I was stunned. I was speechless. I was horrified. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling this way as I had seen trees being cleared from an area before and I never reacted in this manner. Without even thinking about it, I immediately felt compelled to run to the grove of trees and stand in front of the larger, older tree. I looked straight up into the tree and said, “Oh my god! Why are they doing this? Why are they trying to tear you down? What’s going on here?!” I was just about in tears.
In a voice that was crystal clear and quite audible in my head, the tree said, “Fear not, my son. There’s nothing to worry about. This is the way of the Universe. This is part of our lives. Do not mourn – be happy instead.” “But they’re tearing you down! Why are they doing that? Oh, no!” I said. At that point I wanted to burst out crying. But the elder tree wouldn’t let me! “Do not cry, my son. This is merely part of our lives as death is certainly a part of yours. Rejoice that we are moving on. Be happy for your life. Be happy that Creator has blessed you. Do not cry, just laugh. Just laugh.” From that point forward, I couldn’t cry regardless of how much I felt like doing so. All I could do was laugh.
Then something occurred to me. I was talking to the tree! I was talking to the tree!
“How is it that I’m talking to you? Why does your voice sound like mine? Am I going crazy? What’s going on here?” Then the tree said, “This is but one of the many hidden gifts you have that is now ready to reveal itself to you. You have had this gift in a few of your past lives, and you’re now ready at this age and this point in time to use it once again. You will speak to many more trees and have a council of trees that will help you in various aspects of your life from this point on. You will hear them in your own voice so that you can understand what they’re saying to you. You will surely know when a tree is speaking to you.” As he said that, I could feel a very specific tingling sensation and emotion in my mind and in the middle of my chest. To this day, I know when I’m truly speaking to a tree because I get this same exact feeling.
I was so stricken by this experience that I forgot all about the time. “You should go now. You have responsibilities and things you must do. You and I can continue to speak while I am here. The Universe will put you on the path to the other trees that will become a part of your life.” I certainly didn’t want to leave, but the tree was right. As I was leaving, I still wanted to cry because I was sad about what was happening to the trees. So I went to a quiet area by the sidewalk and thought, “I’d better have myself a good cry so that I can get this out of my system and so I can clear my eyes before anyone sees me. Then I heard him say, “Don’t cry, do not be sad. Be happy. Just laugh.” At that point, I burst out laughing, almost uncontrollably. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not cry! I could squeeze out a few tears of joy, but I could not cry tears of sadness at all. I spent the next five minutes just laughing, with tears of happiness streaming down my eyes. “More will be revealed soon. Just assimilate what has happened to you today,” the tree said. So I finished laughing, regained my composure, and went about my business for the day.
To say that I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me is a gross understatement. I felt changed. I felt like a different person. Like a truly blessed person. Elder Native Americans say that you can talk to Nature, to animals and to “the winged” ones if you will only open your mind to do so. They are so right. This brings to mind a quote I read from Walking Buffalo of the Nakoda first nation (circa early 1960’s):
“Do you know that trees talk? Well, they do. They talk to each other, and they’ll talk to you, if you will listen. Trouble is, white people don’t listen. They never listened to the Indians, and so I don’t suppose they’ll listen to the other voices in nature. But I have learned a lot from trees, sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit.”
This Sacred Gift Is Now Part of My Life
I have indeed encountered other trees that will speak to me, just as the elder tree indicated would happen. A few of them have become my counselors and advisors. They’ve helped me when I was transitioning from the corporate tech industry to my metaphysical work, and they’ve provided me with valuable guidance regarding my path in life. They’ve helped keep me on track and helped me ensure that I continue to do the work I was literally called to do. I’ve also gained great insight from them regarding personal matters. I’ve learned so much from them and continue to do so.
I visit my trees often, sometimes to get guidance from them and other times just to say hello. I like visiting them in person, although I can speak to them from afar. All I have to do is plant my feet flat on the floor, imagine them reaching down into Mother Earth, and then touching the tree’s roots. I found that this really works no matter where I am. I’ve done this everywhere, from the middle of an open field to the 78th floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan. I’m so happy that I can contact them anytime, anywhere.
A Few Last Words…
If you’ve ever had a feeling or notion that you can understand or speak to trees, birds, animals or any other of Nature’s creatures, don’t immediately think you’re going crazy or that something is wrong. Think about it in a different way. See it from the perspective that Creator has endowed you with a wonderful gift, and it is now your task to determine how you can use it for your greater good and the good of others. Always keep an open mind and an open heart.
I’ve now kept my promise to Grandmother Margaret, and I hope this will be helpful to those of you who have had a similar experience.