When I was a child I spent hours in the woods and fields around our house. My mom made sure that we played outside every day – even when it was cold or rainy and we were at an age when teenage depression and laziness was on the dead run.
I remember being about three years old and deadly afraid of the bad wolf that might be lurking in the woods when I was on a walk with my granddad. We were just passing the dark tall conifers when I started crying so hard because I was so afraid. I was sitting in my buggy and we had to turn around so that I wouldn’t end up like Little Red Riding Hood. My life had started with fairytales – the original Grimm’s were my first ones – and I never lost my belief in magic.
It wasn’t long before I lost my fear and felt completely safe in the woods even if it was dark. This feeling of safety and security was around me whenever I entered the woods. I enjoyed the light, the colors, the smells, the spurs, the rustling, the soft ground… I felt at home, like everything was complete, in perfect balance. I was happy – not in a loud, pumped way, but in a silent way.
I don’t know how old I was when I started actively – not just in games – wrapping my arms around trees and quietly hugging them. It gave me comfort even before I had learned about the spiritual side effects. My heart beat slows down, my eyes are closed and I breath in and out peacefully. Everything is in perfect silent harmony. I don’t hear any surrounding sounds anymore, I only listen to the whisper – the movements, rustling leaves, creaking branches – of the tree. Every time it feels like I’m entering a magic kingdom outside of this world. It is pure and conscious being.
The moment you open your eyes again and turn around, the world is different than it was before. You have connected with the tree and it’s presence if you believe in it or not. You see the colors brighter, the contrasts sharper, you hear every sound. You’re still in peace, yet open for the world around you – but in a clearer, less egocentric way. You’re self-focused while open for the world, the moment, the eternal being.
I invite you to try it yourself. Go outside and walk into the woods. Choose a tree that feels magic to you, it can be a thin, unimposing alder or a giant oak that has been there for centuries. Every tree has a story to tell and is open to listen. You won’t understand it in words, but in feelings. Just touch the bark gently with your hands, close your eyes, relax and hug it. Stay calm and focus on the sounds of the tree and your own breath and heartbeat. Then experience it. You will learn to release your old thoughts, revulsions and tensions – and simply be.