Shedding My Skin

madrone 1
madrone 1

“An oak tree is an oak tree. That is all it has to do. If an oak tree is less than an oak tree, then we are all in trouble.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Who has met one
as fearless as a madrone tree?
Perhaps in this lifetime
one of us
will be so resilient
as to twist up
towards the sun,
bending around competing trees
which may block their view.
And to be capable
of shedding their bark
right around the summer solstice
the longest days of the year,
to get extra energy
of photosynthesis from their trunks.
Imagine having such a sense of safety
to become extra vulnerable as the outer layer of protection peels away.

As I continue on a mindful meditation retreat
this amazing tree has been a focus of my meditation.
At moments I can feel open,
almost open enough
to shed my skin.
But then hesitation
and doubt arises.
Why is it so difficult to open up?

Perhaps you are able to shed your skin
of protection, your bark, your armor
and reveal your true self to others,
even if just one other
in order to fulfil your potential
of true mutual understanding,
harmony & love.


29 Replies to “Shedding My Skin”

  1. It is truly very difficult to be open and vulnerable. Blogging is my way of learning to shed skin (I think it is so for many others too). Face to face still intimidates me. This is a wonderful poem…bringing much reflection.

  2. I love madrones – one of my favourite trees. i am very lucky to have Don: together we helped each other to shed our skin. it has been a liberation.
    Some exquisite photos, and a lovely skin-shedding post. ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Beautiful light in these photos. I have to keep walls up in my life otherwise I would be so frustrated and disappointed I would wither away and die like foliage on a tree.

  4. Thank you for introducing me to the madrone tree…..
    It is a wonderful metaphor for finding the courage to shed and be vulnerable in order to be who we truly are.
    For me …. I think of lobsters. They have to shed their skins in order to grow. Until they grow an other they are in a vulnerable soft state of being.
    Such is nature and life.

  5. I live in a forest with many madrones and manzanitas and right now they are all peeling and dropping leaves…your poem moved me. The first year I lived here I thought they were dying until I learned their pattern. Now I have been through their transformation 13 times and it is a natural and cyclical occurrence. Perhaps opening up, being vulnerable, is this way too. There is a time for it all. Beautiful photos too. 🙂

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