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The Hardest Thing in the World

Someone asked me why I love the Tulip Poplar tree, and I struggled to answer. In the moment, all I could find to say was that each tree, like each person, has its own personality -- and I liked the personality of the Tulip Poplar tree. That’s it. That’s all I remember saying. I literally couldn’t find the words. How is that even possible? I have written, spoken, and sung about this tree so many times. But in that moment: I couldn’t find any words. I struggled to know even where to begin. How do I communicate the beauty and essence of this tree in a few, simple sentences? How do I describe her in such a way that is so real and true that they fall in love with her too? But even more: how do I share my heart? The Tulip Poplar tree is the Tree of My Heart. I feel her inside me. She is me. I am a Liriodendress. To talk about the Tulip Poplar tree is to talk about myself. Her Story is my story. The story is Ours. Before my recent loss for words, I hadn’t realized that when I speak about the Tulip Poplar tree I become vulnerable. My heart begins to open. It begins to speak. And as the words come, I can get intense. I often gush. And I almost always end by saying, “Well, that’s probably enough. I’ll stop there,” and then physically feel myself withdraw and contract -- become only human again. In certain settings, such a way of being works perfectly. It makes for a good class or a captivating podcast episode (I hope). And in those settings, I know a space has been created that can hold the flow of heart-words. But elsewhere I’m not so sure (apparently). . . I hold back. I don’t Turn On. That’s understandable, right? Imagine me gushing about Tulip Poplar, wide-eyed and animated, in Aisle 9 of the grocery store or waiting in line at the post office. Imagine me talking about Rainbow Dragons, Golden Keys, and Angel Wings while pumping gas. Imagine that. Imagine. Imagine a world where I don’t hold back. Imagine a world where I gush. Hmmm . . . That world wouldn’t be so bad, would it? I imagine it, and it feels good. I imagine it, and it feels nearly impossible. Here’s what I’m hearing: Open, Amanda. Open more. Soften. Soften more. Amanda, surrender. Surrender more. The hardest thing in the world is to open. The hardest thing in the world is to open again.

Oh my goodness. Here’s what I’m hearing: Amanda, slip me off. ** this is a tulip poplar message — but tulip poplar has her collaborators, and mullein is one of them. mullein medicine is so much about opening, intimacy, invitations, and patience. once, mullein gave me a song:


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