Learning From Good Timber

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I have written about my martial arts journey in an earlier post and the important role it has had in my life, especially while living in the Bronx. My martial arts still plays a pivotal role in my life today as a spiritual healer and teacher, particularly now during this period of uncertainty and great change.

I’d like to share a poem whose author is unknown, but I’ve always loved reading it during times of unease and fear. We have all experienced times of trouble and misfortune, but during those times, it’s vital that we remember who we truly are.

We are like Good Timber” resilient, strong and interconnected to Mother Earth and Father Sky in one way or another. The resilience comes from the strength of it’s a tree’s roots and that it can sway and adapt to the seasons, so whether the wind, snow or rain hits it or whether it’s the harsh sun, the tree continues to stand tall and is indeed, resilient.

This is not unlike the phrase I’ve heard in Asia: “Bend Not Break” and even became a book by Ping Fu, a Chinese woman who endured trauma and loss during the revolution and beyond. Her story is tragic, but bold and courageous.

The title is a reference in many ways to the strong bamboo found everywhere in Asia. As the book suggests:

“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times.”

Like the tree, I mention above. Like the timber.

So, be grounded firmly to Gaia and connect your roots to all those beautiful souls who are here to assist you. Stretch your branches high into the Light and remember your true essence and that you are Spirit first and foremost, here to shine.

I have altered some of the words so that it may resonate to a greater audience but the meaning and spiritual texture of the poem is the same. Enjoy my brothers and sisters.

Good Timber

The trees that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
That stood in the open plain,
And always got their share of rain,
Never became forest queens and kings,
But lived and died as simple things.

The woman and man who never had to toil,
Who never had to win their share,
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became woman and man,
But lived and died as they began.

Good timber does not grow in ease;
The stronger wind and the tougher trees;
The farther sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength;

By sun and cold, by rain and snows,
In woman-in man, good timber grows.
Where the thickest stands the forest growth,
We find patriarchs of both,
And they hold converse with the stars
Whose broken branches show their scars
Of many winds and much strife;
This is the common law of life.


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