Why Deep Map with the trees in your square mile?
Updated: Jan 9
This is the first of a series of companion blogs to the ethos of 'The Soul-Shed' and to the book 'Take it to the trees' by Samantha Taroni (links at the bottom). It includes a link to a free chapter of the book.
As a human you are pretty complex and interesting, and have access to multiple capacities within you. For our purposes here, you might consider that you are a being capable of the instinctual responses of your gut, the emotional terrain of your heart, and the reflective thoughts and imagination of your head.
It is fair to say that often these three territories are largely uncharted. We tend to favor the immense skill-sets of the directed rational mind located within the pre-frontal cortex. Indeed, without this part of my intelligence, and the access it gives me to language and technologies, I would not be conveying this message to you today.
I want to bring Trees into this uncharted territory, as sharers of our external landscape, and as our companions that might help us to get to know it and ourselves better. This is because trees have the capacity to occupy space in our inner landscape too, if we choose to pay attention to them, to spend time with them, and form relationships with them. It is my belief that it is a very good idea to do so, and has considerable benefits for human well-being, and by extension, for the trees themselves: We do not harm what we come to care about.
Of course these relationships won’t be akin to the relationships we form with other humans, because Trees offer us something very different.
The way I imagine such a process of getting to know the trees in our home location is by creating a kind of an interior deep map, using the three centres I have mentioned. My book, ‘Take it to the trees’ is an invitation and handbook that might support such a journey in you.
For some of us it’s easiest to start in one particular centre when forming any relationship. You might need a strong feeling and be heart driven, or for something to make sense in your mind first, or for a strong gut feeling to give you the drive to take yourself into new territory. But usually, most of us need a bit of all of these to really feel compatible with something or someone. When I map a tree, it’s with attention to all of these points of connection. And there is creative space in the book for you to do this too.
There is much more to say about Deep-Mapping, but space is limited here. The cornerstone of what I am suggesting is that you will get a felt-sense of it as a way of approaching inner balance and well-being, if you approach the trees with your whole self engaged.
The gut centre and instinctual self.
This project isn’t about studying trees intellectually, (although you might wish to include this in your mapping) but about walking with trees, recognising that it is by being near trees that we can get to know them. So my intention in writing is to offer a supportive opening into spending more time with trees. The book has a Facebook community and private group attached, for those who would like to journey in the company of others. It's also worth noting that this is not intended as a social whirlwind kind of a group, more a gently supportive context to explore within. Details inside the book.
The heart centre and its emotional domain
Here we can turn to art, poetry, story and music. Our own, and the legacy of what has come before. Artists have long imagined trees as the archetypal presences they can be for us, recognising their capacity to tap into our deepest selves. When I emotionally connect with the beauty and character of a tree (for example the power and resources of a mighty mature Oak) I can feel deeply moved.
The imagination and reflective mind
From here, and often building on the experiences in the first two centres, I might have new ideas and thoughts come to me. I might reflect on that Oak and realise that it can help me access my own strength and courage, or I might see a leaf falling from a tree and recognise in it my own capacity to go with the flow of the currents of life around me, to practice more surrender. This wisdom when experienced within in real time, can be a deeply enriching experience, and far more so than any I can be taught from the outside.
Your Free Chapter
If you are interested in exploring this further, you may wish to access a free chapter of my book 'Take it to the trees'. In your free chapter you will see a grid which maps Oak in different ways, and visually reveals aspects of how humans have seen this tree, in both words and imagery. You will also see an invitation to approach an Oak tree with a very human question in mind. Thirdly you will see a blank grid, which is an invitation for you to fill it with content of your experience of Oak - your own imagery, artwork, words, of the Oak tree you spend time with. And fourthly, a page to journal on about what you witness, and how you feel witnessed, by The Oak.
These incredible beings offer us humans so much that is both inspiring and practically helpful on multiple levels of our being, that every day I am more and more in awe of them. It seems to me that if we allow ourselves to become re-sourced by these amazing beings that supply us with the oxygen we breathe, this relationship has the potential to become increasingly two-sided. They have been witnessing us for centuries. Let’s learn to give them witness.
©Samantha Taroni December 2021
I do hope you enjoy the free chapter of ‘Take it to the Trees’ and if you would like more, please find at Amazon UK and in many other countries worldwide, and on Kindle. And for more content to connect you with your creativity and intuitive wisdom please visit The Soul Shed For updates on 'Take it to the Trees' follow us on Facebook and for the closed Facebook journeying group for readers of the book, please see details inside the book.
I am indebted in this exploration to both the work of M.Pearson &M. Shanks on the concepts of 'your square mile' and 'the deep map' in their book Theatre/Archaeology. Routledge.London.2001, and to the work of Cicci Luckow-Backman on the 3 centres. you can learn more about her work at her website Exploring the Enneagram
Here is your link to the free chapter: