Eva Belanger Somatic Experiencing Therapy

Circle of Trees

By Eva M. Belanger, MFT, SEP

As an avid camper and backpacker, I learned long ago how important it is to set up your tent in a location that is flat, free of rocks, anthills, running water or streams that can expand and bulge with the slightest midnight sprinkle. Scrambling in the dead of a frigid night to reset camp is an experience you only want to have once. But once that space is cleared and the tent is set up it’s time to settle in and relax.


2 Weeks Ago

I was in a class given by Warriors Live On, a non-profit in San Diego that helps combat Veterans heal from PTSD and trauma through Integrative Wellness therapies and training. The class was teaching on how to decrease activation in the nervous system during the day in order to sleep well in the evening. The topic of “Completion” was discussed in light of Fall being upon us. In Chinese medicine, we learn how the seasons influence our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits. The foundations of Chinese medicine are rooted in Nature and the wisdom it holds and shares with all that will look and pay attention. The topic of completion was taught to inspire reflection, and maybe even put together some pieces of the psyche that need to rest in order to sleep more deeply. The class offered some time to speak of completion in our lives. I was slightly perplexed because I did not feel that I had recently finished anything significant. I finished my day at work, and my lunch, but I knew that’s not what our esteemed teacher was referring to! I had the sense instead, upon first glance, that I was in a rut and practically living in a ground hogs day! As I sat there, numb and blank, several minutes passed and I suddenly felt the rush of awareness push through.

Much had been working to complete. Most significantly however was the loss of an unborn child that we had been pregnant with. In the heat of wanting to have a family, being excited and ready, waiting I had practically skipped over a very necessary process. This experience was not to be intertwined or confused with any other experience. It was also not meant to fuse into the work of trying to get pregnant again, the whole year rolling into one.. I wasn’t recognizing the completion of a phase of life that was needed. This moment and experience changed our lives forever, and was not meant to be missed by any means. The spirit of Nature, God, the Universe and all its mysterious ways would not allow us to forget or skip over this completion. It needed to be recognized on a deeper level.


1 Week Ago

I was sitting in the woods with my partner, our two dogs in tow. One a pit-weiner and the other a sheppard/labrador mix. We needed fresh air, space, and a moment to feel the breathe of life that comes through the trees and the mountains. We needed the pines, the fresh scents of Fall and to hear the wind whistle and whip through the needles of those pines. I needed to see the sun shines through those same needles at sunset, and how the trees casts a yellow-green haze as you look up towards the blue sky.

The sun set on us as we ate dinner. Little did we realized just where we set up camp. We looked for all the bad stuff, but had little awareness of the gift coming in regards to where we set up camp. Sometimes we are given gifts that we can only partially understand because they are so jam packed with meaning and significance. What we received this night was a huge gift of completion. Little did we know just how much we needed this moment to illustrate completion. In essence we were shown the path in how to move forward.

Allow me to explain. It became dark, and as we washed up after dinner we set our chairs up to stargaze. We simply looked up from our location and realized we had set up camp in the very center of a perfect circle of pine trees above us! I had noticed all that I was looking to avoid, but was not yet graced with what gift was awaiting as we looked up. Within that perfect circle of trees was a perfect patch of sky and stars; clear, bright, and infinite. We sat and observed and awareness, clarity, and ultimately peace came. Vivid clarity of completion through this circle of trees came. These trees that held each other’s branches in their own, that supported, touched and swayed with one another held us in their family of trees. They had grown up together, once branches not touching and disconnected, to a point when they finally mingled, interlaced and helped to complete each other.

With completion comes the thought or sensation of something ending and another thing beginning. This can be true and bring with it a series of different emotions. What also can be true is that one chapter is closing so another can be written. To open the space for what is to come. For the next step to come, the last step needs to be complete; the circle had to close.

I needed the trees to help me see this more clearly. It was within Nature that I was able to see with not just my eyes, but with my heart and soul. For once, I was able to rejoice in something closing, finishing and being done. I could sit in that moment and feel just that. The closing. Only through my understanding though was I able to appreciate the completion to the full degree. There was peace, humility and confidence that these things needed closing.

How nice is it to be finished? And not have to think about what we need to start next.
How satisfying to close a loop? And not immediately open a new one.
How healing to see closure in such a way that you know new life is on its way? And with little expectation.

All life is a sine wave, and hence a circle.

The sine wave is always moving, but are you with it and do you see it?
Can you feel the power of both the up and the down, the black and the white, the yin and yang?

Most of us miss the completion, thinking we are stuck, in a rut and unmoving. Or we miss it by simply always focusing in what is next!

Completion. This is the season. I needed trees in Nature to see it.
What do you need to see your completion?