Do you remember in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, when Dorothy is skipping along on the yellow brick road – until she has to make the decision whether to go left or right? Out of the blue, the tree behind her chimes in with his thoughts.

Bark of Ficus Tree

‘It’s a funny moment in a movie filled with fantasy’, you probably think.

Well, what if I told you trees really do talk?

Don’t believe me? I know – it may sound a bit crazy. Humor me for a moment.

Think back to when you were a kid. Did you have a favorite tree?

What did it look like? Do you remember how you felt when you saw, touched, or ran around it?

When I was 8 years old, my family moved from Dallas to Rochester, New York. The first thing I noticed as my Dad pulled the car into the driveway of our new home was a humongous willow tree. It was the king of the front yard – majestic and powerful.

Before long, I spent a lot of time under it – reading, playing, and sometimes just sitting in silence. It was my friend – there for me when I felt misunderstood, needed a good cry, or just wanted to get away from the noise. When it rained, I would sit under the canopy of my willow, nestled up against its trunk – immersed in the magnificence of nature.

Are you with me so far? Were you able to leap into your memory and retrieve your special tree from childhood?

If not, don’t worry.


Go outside and find a beautiful or ordinary tree. Stand close to it – face to face.

Then ask it a question. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be an everyday one – like, ‘How am I going to finish my work and be home early enough to do homework with the kids?’

Give your question to the tree.

Look at the details on the tree. See how its bark swirls around, the motif that it creates. The years of experience and wisdom it has accrued.

The patterns you see in the trees, those same patterns are in your mind.

If you ask your question with intent, the tree will begin to answer you.

Be still and listen to what it’s telling you.

The tree will guide you to the wisdom and guidance that comes from all of nature – whether it be a river, tree, stone, or fallen leaves. Nature will help you open up new pathways, to see things differently, and tap into your wise self.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Share any meaningful experiences you’ve had with a tree or this exercise.

** A thank you goes to Jean Houston from whom I learned this.

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