Intuition

By Cleo Buchanan

I was recently listening to a lecture about intuition. The lecturer described how accuracy could be developed. He suggested admitting failure was a vital component. He said he felt many intuitives had elaborate explanations for their inaccuracies, excuses for their intuitive hits being wrong.

I also teach intuitive development classes.

I’ve had students many times show up and have a natural source of information in their experience that I don’t have any experience with. Their entire practice is based on something I don’t understand and may have dismissed in myself as my imagination when it cropped up for me.

I assure them that their intuition is real, that their gifts are a very real path for them to follow and develop. And I try to open my tiny perspective again. I find it is so different for everyone.

My formative experience when I was a child, five years old, was seeing spirits, walking in my bedroom at night. My parents told me very angrily that this couldn’t be real. That I was wrong, making it up, it was just my imagination. 

So I lived in terror of those who had come to console and nurture me; the spirits I still see and now am able to accept.

In my younger years, I lived in a continual barrage of wild feelings that I couldn’t explain and often found baffling and inexplicable. When I was thirty I met my first energy worker. She taught me how to create energetic boundaries for myself. She explained that I had none, had been born without any. 

With this one change, I went from chaotic and confused to suddenly feeling separated from the endless noise for the first time. I felt safe. I felt silence. At the end of two weeks, I felt so much a stranger to myself, so suffocated, unable to sense anyone around, that I tore the boundaries down. I spent the next twenty years building them and removing them, adjusting, searching for the balance.

The lecturer, speaking of intuitive development, spoke extensively about intuition as being the sense of something right, the sense of something wrong, the urge to do something different than planned. The sense we have when we meet someone.

This is exactly what I gave up on, pulling information from my impression of a person’s energy . The entire practice the lecturer described, I gave up on years ago as meaningless noise for myself. For me to open the doors to such energies is overwhelming.

Yet once again I am asked to recognize someone else’s experience. Whether I understand it or not, I am asked to suspend my disbelief or confusion, and recognize their power. I salute their bravery to cultivate their gifts, whatever they are.

 Any hesitation might be natural, as I remember the old scars, of my parents angry disbelief in my childhood. It’s good to remember those scars, so I can avoid inflicting them on others with my crass disbelief, to prop up my own importance. It’s good to see how diverse we are as a community of intuitive, so similar and still so strange to each other. 

When I allow others intuitive arts are as substantial as my own, though I am mystified by their description, I am free to find those gifts as well.

Tree Healing

by Cleo Dunsmore Buchanan

Some faiths, I learned, have a tradition, called tree wounding. When a person is suffering from a great injury, like the death of their child, or some other catastrophic life event , they may be offered the idea of healing themselves with a tree wounding. So the individual goes and beats on a tree, hard as they can, with a knife, or hatchet. And the tree bleeds sap. 

The tree Suffers. 

Accepts. 

The person returns as often as they can to see this tree and to witness the process of what the tree experiences in healing. 

At first, it is a hacked fresh injury. Then as weeks pass, the wound dries. The wound doesn’t appear to change for a long time. Eventually the tree begins to create a lining around the injuries, where the bark is growing to encapsulate the injury. Each visit reaffirms, “I shouldn’t be done yet. My injury is this fresh. My tree is still alive, it is still there, it is still hurt and still growing. Just like me.”

When I prune my beautiful bonsai tree that has been my friend for thirty years, I am cutting it to pieces. I think reverently, I am pruning it. It will be better. I put it back in its pot with fresh soil and hope my friend will recover. I am loving. Like a friend who is telling you the painful truth. It hurts, but it is meant with loving kindness, to help us to be better.

Beautifully, the tree accepts these injuries. Magically, the tree survives. It does not die. It pauses for a week or two, just maintaining. Then slowly new sprouts appear. And I witness again the joy of its rebirth, and see myself in this mirror. I can lose a huge amount of stuff. It can feel brutal, to shed so many pieces of myself as if they were meaningless. It can seem impossible for me to change so much of who I thought I was. 

I was pruning bushes outside, and I uncovered a flowerbed that the bushes had covered with their lanky thick branches.

As I cut these away, I thought I was doing the work. This is what I am cleaning, I am cleaning this flowerbed, and neatening up these bushes.

Then I found all my pruning had uncovered masses of deadwood and tangled growth. I had uncovered far more old material that was asking for clearing. 

And as I cut out the wood, I prayed. Thank you god for this opportunity, for this healing. I prayed for myself, for the tree, for my friends, all of us in our transformation. 

I recognized the healing that I object to and fight and rebel against. The healing opportunity is there waiting for me, and I reject it.  I can’t have that cut out of me, I can’t disentangle this wood I grew thick so long ago! These scars and deadwood, from my most painful experiences, these are the foundation of my whole personhood. Then to have my dearest friend hack into this place and prune until light and air are in this place instead of my certainty of who I am, all my efforts, my life’s meaning – how dare anyone go there, and expect this of me?

And this noble towering shrub taught me with its humble acceptance, yes I can shed this living part of myself. Yes I can shed this old deadwood at my core of myself.

It showed me joy, it felt the air deep in its core and felt the space for new growth after so many years of suffocating and smothering the neighboring plants. 

Soon it will be bursting with buds and new growth. In its awkward shape, so empty and lacking, it will be pushing to fill those spaces with gratitude and enthusiasm. The bush welcomes the emptiness and recreates itself in peace and joy. 

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