Crown Shyness

River of Blue.jpg
Photo Dag Peak

Back in November, when my autoimmune disease – quiet for nearly twelve years – began to make itself known, I watched my life slowly go off the rails. The craniosacral practice I loved, the people I wanted to see, the public events that lifted my spirits, everything went silent as my disease became all encompassing. First housebound and then hospital-bound, I spent most of December, January and February recuperating. I joked with my sisters that I was earning a black belt in convalescence, a gold metal in lying around.

I never thought this would be useful.

Just at the moment I was ready to return to seeing clients, the world met the coronavirus. We’ve all now been blindsided by this confusing, upside down landscape: We need one another but have to be separated. We have time and space, but no assurance of income. We are all so alone, together.

But if being housebound taught me anything, it’s to look outside, to find solace in nature even if you aren’t actually able to go there. And so this morning, cycling through what my daughter calls “world cancellation,” I suddenly remembered trees.

We know that trees send messages underground to each other, that they pump nutrients to young sprouts, that they are in constant communication. But they also engage in a funny kind of dance called, of all things, crown shyness. Crown, or in Latin, as fate would have it, corona.

Perhaps you have seen these images before, of tree canopies that create elaborate green puzzles of almost-touching crowns. There are different theories about why they do so – to nourish the young plants below, to maximize resource sharing and reduce competition, to let the light through – but in any case, the limbs and branches maintain a safe distance for the benefit of the whole ecosystem, even as the roots embrace, invisibly, beneath the surface.

This rainforest canopy at the Forestry Research Institute Malaysia shows crown shyness in Kapur trees.
Photo: Mikenorton

I cannot wrap my head around this time, but my heart is on board for crown shyness. Here we are, creating space at the crown – our coronas, you might say – to keep our distance for the sake of the whole species. But that is only part of the picture.

Because even as our limbs sway separately, spaciously, allowing future growth, our roots aren’t shy at all but deep and intertwined – connecting invisibly below the surface, showing us that we are in this together.

New Offering

In the spirit of crown shyness, I’m offering 45-minute online sessions to support health and connection from afar. Depending on your needs, these sessions may provide some combination of active listening, energetic support, embodied writing prompts or movement and meditation guidance.

Please visit this link to schedule.