Today is Day 2 of my Mind Your Ps and Qs series – my contribution to the Write 31 Days blogging challenge – wherein I’m writing about pronoia, peace, and quiety. Pronoia is the philosophy that the world is conspiring to shower us all with blessings; quiety is calmness and serenity; and peace of course needs no definition.
I think poet/philosopher John O’Donohue was a brilliant proponent of pronoia. Consider this admonition of his:
“Why must we answer the call to awaken? Why must we follow the questions of our soul? Because it is through habitual, non-inquisitive living that we lose our sense of wonder. Because eventually, even the strangest or most magical things become absorbed into the routine of the daily mind with its steady geographies of endurance, anxiety, and contentment. Left to our own devices, curiosity dims and fear of the unknown binds us; we cling to the known. Only seldom does the haze lift, as we glimpse for a moment the amazing plentitude of being here in the heart of the greatest story ever told – our own lives.”
I’m an unabashed tree lover, and autumn certainly provides me, here in the Midwest, with ample opportunity to swoon in delight. First there’s the changing colors and then eventually the piles of crunchy leaves to amble through, and finally, seeing the trees in their bare-branched beauty as they prepare their own inward journey through the upcoming winter. Trees most definitely invite me into the sense of wonder O’Donohue believes is so necessary.
Years ago I came upon some words from Jen Delyth, Welsh artist and author, and they exponentially deepened my connection and exploration of the magic of trees. She holds that there is three-fold wisdom in trees – the leaf wisdom of change and ever releasing; the wisdom of the branches which is of growth and ever reaching; and the wisdom of the roots, which is of endurance and ever deepening.
Given the slightest bit of thought, the wisdom is obvious. But that’s exactly my point. There is so much wisdom, so much magic, so much beauty available if we only keep our eyes open. If we look. If we see. There is depth and change, whispers and shouts, and we only need to enter into dialog with our world and all the co-conspirators sharing this space and time with us. The trees, the wind blowing in the trees, the birds and squirrels nesting in the trees, the light shining on leaves, the kite wondering if the tree would be a good place to land. All of it. A conspiracy of blessings – proof positive of pronoia’s existence.
Part of my intention of this series is to share information and resources that pique your interest and curiosity and hopefully expand your own definition of pronoia. So with that in mind, here are some tree-y things worth exploring:
- TreeSisters is a global network of women intent on a global reforestation revolution.
- TreeWhispers is a lovely project initiated in 2000 by artists Pamela Paulsrud and the late Marilyn Sward, gathering round, handmade papers from participants around the world. Each piece of paper offers a memory of a tree or tree story. Do check it out, and you’ll be inspired to contribute as well.
- Tara Books Publishing, a commune of artists, writers and designers who produce handmade books in India. Their website is currently being reworked, but you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram and get a taste of what they’re about.The very first book I purchased from them years ago was The Night Life of Trees and I’m still over the moon in love with it. The art, done by members of Gond Tribe, is silk screened onto black handmade paper, and each tree is accompanied by a short folk tale. A book with so many things I love – folk tales, trees, gorgeous art, and handmade paper! They also sell sets of cards made with a number of the drawings of the trees in the book – here are a couple of them. Aren’t they wonderful?
If today you were going to go outside and whisper to a tree, what would you say? What would the tree say back? What other wonder have you discovered today? Are you ready to be an ambassador of pronoia? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.
I’m looking forward to getting home today to see the trees in my garden …So much to learn from them – I never thought about them from this angle before Deborah – thank you.
One of the trees in our park is being nominated as tree of the year – a beautiful old Holm Oak – I’ve written about it in this week’s blog and it’s needing votes 😉
Blessings from the Irish Sea …
It’s always a joy to get to say hello anew to our tree friends isn’t it? I’m sure your garden pals look forward to it as well.
I headed over to your post to peek at your tree – how wonderful. And while I’m not eligible to vote, your tree has my unofficial support and admiration. I enjoyed peeking at all the trees in all the locations. All such beautiful beings!
The examined life can be hell, but it’s the only way to live. I love your tree and your efforts.
I think the gifts of an examined life are indeed great Carol, and wish them for all of us.
Oh my goodness, I first read “paranoia” rather than pronoia. I’ve not heard of that word before, nor, it seems has my spell check. Lovely to have a name for a concept I adore. You’d love the trees here in Western Canada right now Deborah. The maples are turning and brilliant flashes of red and orange abound.
I love the definition of pronoia as the antidote to paranoia, and one of my missions is to make the term so widely known and celebrated it makes it into the spellchecks. How’s that for optimism?! 🙂
I would indeed love your trees Kelly. We’ve got some beginning golds and yellows happening, but not reds or oranges yet. I did, however, switch out my closet to autumn/winter clothes today, so I’m expecting the leaves to follow suit shortly.
What an uplifting post! I am ready for some new magic in my “greatest story.” Love that John O’Donohue quote! I love my trees. They are the reason we chose our home. They do speak. I’ve enjoyed your invitation to listen more closely to what they say. Thank you, Deborah!
Oh I love that you chose your home based on your trees Michelle – I think that’s the most perfect reason! I do hope you’ve told them that. How delighted they must be.
This post kind of hit home. I’m part of a group of women artists in Atlanta, and we’ve started exhibiting artwork based on social themes, most recently about Human Slavery. But, we have also exhibited work regarding the deforestation we are going through in Atlanta. Atlanta has more greenspace that almost any other city – but about 50% of it is privately owned – so keeping Atlanta green is becoming an issue to many of us. I’m going to forward the TreeWhispers site to some of them – and I’m going to submit something in the future to it.
Oh I love that your part of an artist group working with such themes Vickie – there’s real power and energy in that kind of collective effort. That’s very interesting about Atlanta’s greenspace, something I hadn’t realized.
Beautifully written…..and I can’t agree more. I love trees and believe in magic and in this world. Yet… so much beauty goes unseen by so many…..sad. One of the reasons I paint is to try and ‘capture’ the beauty that surrounds us…even if it is just a ‘moment’ in time. It forces me to slow down and to really ‘see’ just how lovely the world is….
There’s magic in that Debbie – your painting practice that both keeps you centered in the now AND produces lovely artwork as well.
In the I Ching, Wood is the same symbol as Wind. The reason for this is that both wood and wind weave through surfaces that are supposedly solid. Wood and wind both share the qualities of penetrating the impenetrable. In some books, they consider wind to represent the ancient ones, whispering wisdom in our ears. I love Fall because it combines both the element of Wood (trees) and wind into one of my favorite seasons.
I love this comparison Amy, and I love the image of the wind as ancient ones whispering wisdom in our ears. You’ve given me even more reason to love the wind, and I’ll never be able to stand in the wind and not think of that now. Hope you’re having a most fabulous autumn!
Someone shared with me recently (because she found out that I love hugging trees) that the fall is the best time to hug a tree because it has so much energy to give out as it prepares for it’s hibernation period. Sounds like I need to get out there soon…
What a beautiful thought Elda – I love that! And I do hope you get to hug a lot of trees before winter arrives.