Waiting and Holding


I learned a lesson from the salvia plant in my garden. I was sitting on a stump with my granddaughter, beside this lovely bush with tiny purple flowers, watching a bee going from flower to flower.

It puzzled me because there is no obvious pollen. We watched for a while, and then I instinctively held together the tiny tongue of the flower. To my amazement, the covering of the flower opened like a curtain. I caught a glimpse of the pollen as it moved forward. Tiny flecks of pollen sprayed out like a golden yellow stream.  So this is how the bees would collect the pollen from each salvia flower!

What is this inner knowing that guides my fingers to the flower? A knowing that comes with joy as I sit quietly, holding a question, and waiting.

The flowers, the trees – Life itself, speaks in this other language so unfamiliar to us.

In the daytime shelter where we hold circles for women experiencing homelessness, I witness how this deeper knowing becomes conscious.

One day I asked the women to begin a writing exercise with the words, “Once there was a tree.”

A grandmother who had been sitting in our circle for three months, said she would read aloud what she wrote. “I’m not sure what it means. It sounds a little crazy but this is what came to me.”

Once there was a tree on the top of a mountain with a view of the ocean, and what seemed like the ends of the earth. Unlimited vision which allowed it to see all things as they really were and not how each object or person imagined itself to be. Because of this view it was able to love and envision all things separate, individual, and yet connected to each other.

The other women in the circle listened with wonder. She realized that she did have wisdom. And this wisdom was rooted in meaning. She explained, “I used to live in a house by the ocean. The house was built around a tree. I loved that tree. “

I was touched by the knowledge she had within her. And that she was able to bring it forward into consciousness. This inner knowing, like sitting with the salvia, comes through a woman’s connection to creation. I witnessed how this knowing touches ordinary life.

How do we honor this connection in the earth of our own life? I ask this question and wait for the answer.

After our circle that day, the grandmother’s life began to gradually shift. A few months later she was able to move into a house with her daughter.

Each of us carries a seed of knowing within that is connected with every other seed. Let us help each other remember.

Here is a prayer from the Ute people of North America: Earth Teach Me to Remember.

Earth teach me stillness

as the grasses are stilled with light.

Earth teach me suffering

as old stones suffer with memory.

Earth teach me humility

as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth teach me caring

as the mother who secures her young.

Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone….

Earth teach me regeneration

as the seed which rises in the spring.

Earth teach me to forget myself

as melted snow forgets its life.

Earth teach me to remember kindness

as dry fields weep with rain.

photo by Alicia Otis

Waiting and Holding
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9 years ago

Your writing is inspirational, Ann, so, I share my story:

9 years ago

So lovely, Anne. May your words and this lovely prayer give us all the courage that grows out of that connection with the earth and with each other.

9 years ago

Thank you dear Juliana. How moving to read your song.

9 years ago

seed of God, you are planted.

Jeanne Z
9 years ago

I can’t tell you how much I love your blog and how many times it has saved me from forgetting. It has given me strength against some very strong opposition, to remain the strong woman.