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Embodied Awakening Through Stor-Tree Telling

This blog was written 5 years ago with the aim to be part of a book then an article in a journal. As i keep decolonising  myself deeper and valuing my offerings for what IS/ ARE  ☝️Not to fit particular boxes in academia or become peer reviewed star 5 articles , which as an ND I have particularly struggled with.

I lay it here , bare - just like me and my experiences 

May it be of service . 

Embodied Awakening Through #Stor-Tree Telling 

My encounter with a tree in my local neighbourhood , led to a deeply visceral recognition of my disconnection, my dis remembering, my dis regarding of my body as a vessel of truth , a carrier of the seeds of my internal liberation. This chapter aims to illuminate the luminous, to capture in words, the wordless. It aims to show how a spontaneous meditative dance at the roots of a tree , became a force for a deep sense of grounding, a portal for remembering my eternal essence, which isn’t separate to my enrvironment.


Background context info: relationship of trees in time

I always had an affiliation with the trees, seeing them standing majestically , with such elegance and grace. Dancing effortlessly and in full flow of the rhythm of the wind. As a small child growing up, I would find comfort under the shadow of the trees ; In particular olive trees as a child growing up in Crete. There is something about the trees being part of my ancestry , a loyal ancestor that I could lean on, rest in being and stillness. I recall vividly, making graphs on the soil at the roots of the tree, a loyal witness to all of my child-like adventures. It is no accident, trees are significant for our life and spirit. History evidences the inspiration drawn under trees. IT is said that Plato and Aristotle did a lot of their best thinking under olive trees in Athens. Historical gurus and enlightened beings are knowing to sit in a lotus position under trees. Newton, realised the theory of gravity under a tree.

There is medicine, like aspirin, deriving from trees. Pagan ancestors worshipped trees. Despite this , it feels we have become aliens to the trees. We mercilessly chop and cut them to make and build grey cities.We have forgotten their wisdom.

The descent into the woodland

It was my first outing just after the pandemic. A group of us decided to explore and immerse ourselves in nature. We packed our rattles, our drums, our music and visited my local woodland.

We had no expectation nor plan. We were,on retrospection, and blivious to us at the time, in a state of openness and receiving. How often do we allow ourselves to BE in the world and relate connect from this very place ? Could this be a gift of all the structures being ripped away from us, because to the pandemic ?

We begun making our way to the woodland. It is a very dense and rich woodland. Very moist, humid  and dark. The rays of the sunlight just about penetrate its dense green fur.

Every time until that point, I would walk in this woodland I would feel a visceral sense of weight, or sadness permeate my whole body. I could never explain it, through the logical mind, until after that day.

We found a place to land our stuff. We placed the rattles and drums in the wet soil. We entered the space with an attitude of openness and curiosity. Our bodies begun moving slowly and gently to the music that was being played. I felt the stiffness of my muscles and bones . The pandemic had hit hard in my body and mind. I begun moving my body in slow motion to the inner whispering of my soul. My movements became less deliberate and more an outcome of the surrendering of my mind.

I have immersed in ecstatic meditative dance many times before but this time felt different.

There was a quiet, soft ,solitude energy about the day. A nostalgic feeling .

I begun approaching a tree that called me into her embrace… I placed my hands on it’s roots with eyes closed. I smelt the ground. I took a few mindful breaths, as if asking for permission to hear what i needed to hear , to see what i needed to see . In the slow movement of my body, begun to feel deep into my cells and experience the natural flow of energy , permeating my being… In this warm feeling of surrendering, some sounds begun hesitantly emerging.. Initially, it felt like a scratching of my inner throat. A calling for the sound of the soul emerged.  During this process I let go of the need to know. Searching for meaning ceases and instead what s emerging is clarity and seeing. The answers insights come to you as opposed to finding them out.

Sounds became a language, not separate from the tree. I felt nothing but an empty vessel , in which the vibration of the sounds were being orchestrally managed, by some invisible force. I lost sense of space and time, a feeling of dissolution, not new to my experience. It is often an outcome of deep surrender. Energy begun shaking parts of my body , the movement became the mover and i was being danced. As a result of the energy in my body, the sounds became more vibrant, louder. They burst into a song… This time I was holding space and being held in space and time all at the same time by the magnitude and indivisibles of the tree. I was entering this dance “ emptily perfect and perfectly empty” as John Rowan a famous transpersonal psychologist said.

 I fell on my knees on the ground and tears begun flowing …my eyes still closed…i felt i was finding refuge in the warmth of it’s roots… I listened intently to what those tears, and i kept an open mind to hear their message… There was something potent in feeling the edges of my body -flesh touch earth’s soil… though the boundary between the two ,initially, felt very present, later on it dissolved.

it soon became clear that me and the tree weren’t two any more. The more i lay on the ground, on my knees, the more intimate i feel our connection, the more respect i feel in all my body.

The tree told me of its story , it shared its grief. In quite sobering and slow movement i listened… She told through my own soul song the story of separation of human from nature. 

She sang in me my own story of separation from trees and nature.. she reminded me of my disconnect, my betrayal of mother earth, my forgetting of my own roots. And I sang. And I wept… lying at her roots I sought forgiveness . To my surprise, forgiveness didn’t even feature in this space. How could that ever not be there ?  she said, “ I love you unconditionally. There s no need for forgiveness .Sit in your own splendour and see me and you aren’t separate”.

I happened to trace back the memoir notes I created straight after the even. These words emerged post the event.

“A howling of a long grieved song

Touching my lips as it’s called for it’s freedom

With wet weary eyes and a heart full of surrender ,it sings a melody long forgotten

but forever present in the cosmic abyss of love

“I am bleeding my child ,cos you have forgotten me... Despite your oblivion I’m still here for you ,in you,as you could I not ?

You see ; now you suffer ,because you have mistakenly digged up all your roots ...thinking you do yourself a service ...

Cry my child .... let your soul song be heard by the furthest birds in the sky ...Gather in unity and peace ...and cry ,grieve

Hold onto my branches, as you shed your tears on my bleeding roots...

let them be water to replenish my dried soil...

I’m here for you..and always have been...always will be ...

I rejoice as I tenderly witness your gradual remembering and collapsing in my embrace...

like a foetus drops in her mother’s lap for the first time..."

metacommentary on the journey—less journey- meaning and narratives i draw

The implications of this experience are diverse. First and foremost it enriched my sense of belonging in my own community and village. What emerged was not anticipated or predicted or planned. Doyle (1998) noted another feature of creative flow: what emerges is often surprising to the maker.

One could say I had entered a “flow state” … It is a place where personal self consciousness, fear of failing or appearing silly fade away… there is a sense of authentic emergenet movement and congruence in the direct embodied experience of the dance.

As an expat abroad I always struggled with a sense of belonging. Besides my neurodiverse brain .

Finding my roots here felt alien, and unfamiliar. How can I find roots here when my own roots are back home. This experienced forms one of many of mystical experiences through which roots are found in this dimension of self / being / reality that is human/ beyond human. The inner belonging . 

The falling of my body on the roots of the tree felt like a merging into the soil of mother earth. A portal to Remembering my own unique fragrance. 

It made clear for me that my belief in forgetting my roots was simply another story i had believed in. 

The power of the belief in the stories our mind creates, have influence over the way we live our lives. This experience reminded me of the life of mycelium, how they live in integral communities… It promised me a way of being where we , as humanity and consciousness, shift attention from a person centred view on life to a more socio-centred view ;or biocentre view of life.

My experience, falls within new innovative movements in the field of qualitative research about ecological embodiment. It felt confirming and validating to read that such a somatic dance could indeed bea  tool for reclaimging our embodied connection with nature, the trees…the other than human world ).

This “more than human” (Abran 2017:65) world, could need be accessed through invoking and invigorating a sensory dimension of our experience. By close attunement in my direct sensory experience, and thanks to the power of the dance which emphasizes proprioceptive awareness and somatic listening, it helped to support me to feel grounded, part of a whole, with a deep sense of bodily groundiness and a deep sense of belonging. Here , on Earth / As Earth.

: Is it possible to create change if we understand life is interdependent and interrelated with nature in our environment?

How would our world live if we connected with nature that way?

It is not JUST the immersing in the experience but precisely the emergence out of it and the meaning we draw on it.

It’s like an invitation: Can you surrender to the mystery of life ?and use your mind s capacities to tune into a greater intelligence ?

Imagine , A world where we becoming this moving living prayer about bringing peace collaboration and inner stillness to the mycelium of humanity .

The practice of dissolving and re appearing in a sense for belonging and re birthing ourselves into existence 

We are trees 

Beneath trees

The mycelium of our bodies interwoven with the roots of them

This can NOT be only an intellectual kind of reality and experience

This is an embodied experiential understanding one HAS to feel directly into their essence and let this become their reality .

Can you beggin to tend to your inner / outer mycelium - and allow your greater inner force to come forth?

I would LOVE to hear what this blog sparks within you

Maria Kefalogianni

Poetry 2020

When your star  begins to rise

Don’t attempt to dim its light

The notion you held of yourself tight

Let it go, on an inhale

Entering the daunting vortex of your death

Falling into that void can feel scary but fear NOT

As fear can only fear its own demise

Your light cant be dimmed

Its here to stay,

Wear the dust of your buried phenixx

With pride

Don’t wipe it off or rush to blow it away

Dance with the waves and patterns it creates

Swirl with it as its dancing on your fingertips

Marinate in the smell of the old smoke

Bow down to its wisdom

But you are now ready to open your wings and fly

And in your flying see yourself dancing with the waves and patterns of your dust s smoke

You are arriving slowling and mindfully into your own heartbeat

Take a minute take refuge in it

Don’t rush the immersion , you are immersed in anyway

Be soft but purposeful

Like a feather on a birds body

Weightless but reaching the skie

 Our life is full of rituals 

Digging down into the roots of connection 

**** If you are interested to join our Heart Inquiry Group Collective where we share and explore who we truly are and how we can move in life AS this knowing , get in touch!


Eternally loving

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