I distinctly remember the smell of pine needles and the crunching sound they created underneath my feet during summer outings at Mt. San Jacinto where my dad served as a California State Park Ranger. As a little girl the trees seemed to tower over me and provide a sense of protection and strength. Perhaps this was the beginning of my journey as a "tree person".
In her new book, "Like A Tree: How Trees, Women, and Tree People Can Save the Planet," Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen describes "tree people" as someone who has positive feelings for trees and an appreciation for them. She goes on to compare the likes of women to the wisdom and resilience of a tree. Trees have been torn down and sometimes underappreciated yet they are an essential part to the survival of our planet and the ecosystem. She stresses that we are on the edge of either evolution or extinction and it's up to us, as tree people and as women to be visionary activists and feminine feminists.
Jean Shinoda Bolen is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker who draws from spiritual, feminist, Jungian, medical and personal wellsprings of experience. She is a major advocate for a United Nations 5th World Conference on Women, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, and past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and the International Transpersonal Association.
Recently on International Women's Day I was invited to join Conversations host, Michael Stone for an interview with Jean Shinoda Bolen on KVMR. During the interview Dr. Bolen shared incredible stories of how everyday women are enriching communities through their activism around trees and how the uprising of women (especially western women) are essential to saving the planet. Our conversation heated up as we discussed the guys and where they stand amongst the women's movement. Bolen's message is directed towards both women and men and invites us to look around to see where we can make a difference.
Lastly, Dr. Bolen shared the three questions to consider in identifying your assignment, the issue that will ignite your passion. 1) Is this meaningful? 2) Will it be fun? 3) Is it motivated by love?
Following recent storms in the Sierra Mountains the trees carried the burden and weight of the heavy snow. Branches broke and in some cases temporarily removed our power. Some of the oldest trees in my neighborhood toppled and blocked roads. In some ways the aftermath of the storm and its effect on the trees reminds me of the journey women have endured. While women have suffered setbacks and at times the power of their voices have been marginalized, women persevere, they are an essential force, they are strong, they matter and like a tree while one woman can enrich a community it requires thousands of trees and women to sustain life on this planet.
What is your "tree story" and how will you activate your passion into action? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to listen to the interview with Jean Shindoa Bolen.